Members of the local indie rock band Sun Bones are still deciding if their most recent national tour was something they’d be willing to do again.
The trek took the group through Texas, then diagonally toward Washington state and south down the Pacific Coast over a month and a half.
All of the shows had some level of attendance, even the gigs where the Bones had done little to no promotion ahead of time.
“We got lucky at most venues,” said bassist Bob Hanshaw. “I will always be astonished and grateful for that.”
It was the time spent and distance covered that wore down the musicians, all of whom have day jobs.
Three of the performers, Hanshaw, Sam Golden and Evan Casler are teachers.
“Evan had a very short summer because of his school’s schedule,” Hanshaw said. “He was teaching, then immediately touring, and five days after that back in school again.
“We knew it was big. We just didn’t realize that it was kind of too big.”
The group, which headlines the Rialto Saturday, plans on taking smaller steps in the future.
The band has been playing town as Sun Bones for a little under a year, but three of its members have been performing together since high school.
The group started as the folk ensemble Grandpa Moses.
Inspired by the lyrical prose of artists like Sufjan Stevens, they won the popular choice vote in the 2007 Arizona Daily Star Battle of the Bands.
The band eventually changed its name to Boreas, which stuck for five years, as the group built a reputation on the downtown-venue circuit, playing all the usual suspects, Plush, Hotel Congress, the Rialto Theatre.
The group changed its name to Sun Bones in an effort to distance itself from the growing number of death metal bands using the same moniker.
“Boreas is the Greek god of the north wind,” Hanshaw, 25, said. “That apparently holds a powerful attraction for metal groups.”
The band’s debut album as Sun Bones, called “Sentinel Peak,” was released in June and served as a musical barometer.
The album was stylistically diverse, moving from light and airy tracks to crushing guitars and soulful ballads.
“We are all curious people,” Hanshaw said. “We love listening to a wide variety of music. It was difficult to bring unity to that sound.”
Hanshaw said the newly created songs that they are bringing to the Rialto Saturday embrace the music from “Sentinel Peak” that they felt was best received by listeners.
“It is indie rock, without so much meandering songwriting,” he said. “Songs are more focused with simple structures. We are focusing on melody. They are not wild or as jazz-influenced as they have been.”
The group would someday like to take up music full time.
Hanshaw is inspired by his friends Matt and Bekah Rolland and their string band Run Boy Run. All of its members have left their day jobs to work on performing and recording.
He believes Sun Bones will get there. He just doesn’t want to burn out on lengthy tours in the meantime.
“It makes more sense to do it in smaller chunks at first,” Hanshaw said. “We can focus on certain areas to develop the band’s presence and expand out from there.”