Matt Sertich and Kirk Janowiak have been playing together for more than 15 years so when the pair's latest band, The Generals, was suddenly whittled down from three to two, the old friends took it in stride and decided to remain a duo.
"The idea just seemed kind of fresh," says Sertich, who previously played with Janowiak in Pocket Change and Zero to Heaven.
"We just have a really good chemistry - we write really well together," Sertich says.
With a shared love of 80s rock and British pop, Sertich (guitar, keyboard, vocals) and Janowiak (drums, keyboards) started writing songs after Zero to Heaven disbanded in 2005. They played its first show, with bassist Blane Barker, in 2006.
Now, Sertich says, no bassist is no problem - even on stage.
"We just program the bass into an iPod - the strings and other stuff, too," he says.
"It's awesome and it doesn't take away from the spontaneity when we're playing live."
The Generals released its debut album "Save Me" earlier this year and plan to enter the studio this month to record another. In the meantime, check out "Trains" at www.sacbee.com/sacramentosingle
Style: Spacey, reflective rock
Behind the song: "I'd just made a lot of changes in my life at the point when I wrote this song," Sertich says. "I lived ... near the train tracks and every night I'd hear the train go by. It shook the house but it was really very comforting."
That song, he says, is about a past relationship and changes he's made in his life since it ended.
With a swooping melody, "Trains" hits its rhythmic stride mid-way through the song - just like a locomotive gaining speed..
"It starts off pretty soft but once that pre-chorus hits it sounds really big."
On the Web: myspace.com/thegeneralsmusic.
Listen to "Trains" here