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SCHOOL’S OUT — FOR NOW

The Lonely H graduates to extensive touring

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Just like thousands of other high school seniors across America, Mark Fredson couldn’t wait to graduate in June.

He had big plans for the summer: touring the United States with some fellow graduates of Washington’s Port Angeles High School.

It’s the first extensive tour for The Lonely H, which played its first show in January 2003 when singer Fredson, guitarist Colin Field, guitarist Eric Whitman and drummer Ben Eyestone were in eighth grade. (At that time, bassist Johnny Whitman was a sophomore).

There is a story behind the band’s name.

“We were trying to enter a battle of the bands thrown by the Experience Music Project in Seattle,” recalls Fredson. “I think our name before that was Schnitzel, and we really wanted a more mature name so we wouldn’t be laughed at.

“We were sitting there frantically one night because we had to mail out the application the next day. And I think one of our friends said, ‘Too bad The Who is taken.’ Then we started thinking about the five W’s — who, what, where, when and why — and ‘how’ is definitely part of that group, but it’s not a W.

“So it is the lonely H,” he adds. “We’ve come up with more scholarly [explanations] after that, such as, ‘Hydrogen is the only element that has only one proton and one neutron.’ ”

High-school status didn’t prevent The Lonely H from playing gigs away from home on a regular basis. With help from its manager, the rock quintet often made the trek to the Seattle area — depending on ferry times, a two- or three-hour trip one way from Port Angeles, says Fredson — for weekend shows.

The band’s tour supporting Hair (The Control Group), the second Lonely H album, runs through the end of August. With all five members enrolled in Seattle-area colleges, Fredson says the band will take a “whatever happens, happens” approach in the near future.

“We’re going to college, and we’re going to get our degrees and have something to [fall back on],” he says. “Doing the band full-time — if we start making some profits, I can definitely take that option. But we’re not solely relying on the band as a career. We’re looking at it from a more practical point of view.”

— By Chris M. Junior

The Lonely H on tour (schedule subject to change):

* Aug. 17: Monte Vista Lounge — Flagstaff, Ariz.
* Aug. 18: Koo’s Art Center — Long Beach, Calif.
* Aug. 19: The Casbah — San Diego
* Aug. 20: Spaceland — Los Angeles
* Aug. 22: The Press Club — Sacramento
* Aug. 23: The Know — Portland, Ore.
* Aug. 24: The Retrodoxy — Mount Vernon, Wash.
* Aug. 25: Masonic Temple Port Angeles — Port Angeles, Wash.