In the three years they've been together, The Opposables have gained more experience than most high school bands, even those that make it into the Battle of the Bands.
Like most young bands, they started out playing covers - their versions of songs by established artists. And playing covers got them work, and not just the parties that make up the bulk of exposure most high school bands get.
They've played clubs and bars, including both Nimbus locations, The Hut, Bedroxx and the Hideout, says bassist Collin D'Aloisio.
The nightclub experience, at least in part, was due to connections. Singer Josh Every's dad, David, and drummer Zach Briefer's dad, Andy, are members of a cover band, the Blue Rays, that frequently plays those clubs and sometimes shares the stage with the Opposables. Together with guitarist Derek Salois they got some experience playing before older audiences, in addition to the school friends most groups their age play to.
"It was a good opportunity to learn 40 or 50 songs, 10 of our own and 30 to 40 covers," says D'Aloisio.
It let them build up a repertoire of original material while continuing to play out and get tighter.
And last year they were finalists in the Arizona Daily Star's 2010 Battle of the Bands. They're the only returning band in this year's lineup.
Most musicians never get beyond playing other artists' music. Writing their own material takes time for most bands, if they ever get there. But the Battle of the Bands requires contestants to do original material.
D'Aloisio, who plays both electric and upright (double) bass, also got some outside experience playing with the Tucson Jazz Institute. And he said both he and Briefer also are members of the school choir.
Every said he and Briefer used to write lyrics individually and bring them to the band but that "now it's mostly collaborative."
Every says they consider themselves a rock band, but "we take a lot of stuff from the blues" in writing their own songs.
Sometimes the songs start with lyrics; other times it's the music. And sometimes, D'Aloisio says, they'll come back to a song and completely change the melody or arrangement.
By late 2009 they had enough of their own songs to record an album, which they released early last year.
But the writing may be on the wall for the band, as Briefer, a senior, is probably going to an out-of-state college.
The band is already backing off its schedule, Briefer says.
"Rehearse? In the past we probably did it twice every week. Now, it's probably once every month or so. I think we all know that I will be gone soon. We've kind of calmed everything down at this point," Briefer said.
The experience has been generally a friendly one, Every says. "It wavers, because it's like a marriage between four people." But he said only once has a dispute led to anyone stomping out of practice.