When it comes to Faust/Fulton Duo, the student has become … well, not the teacher, but arguably an equal.
New Jersey-based guitarists Robert Fulton and Sean Faust have been playing together since 2005 or so, but met a few years prior: When Fulton was in high school, Faust was his piano teacher at a local music store.
After graduating, Fulton got a job there as well.
“We ended up working together, and just jamming all the time,” he recalled.
It was only a matter of time, then, before the new dynamic formalized. The two began gigging together around 2006 in Faust’s band “Mostly Pink Floyd,” an almost-tribute band where Faust could sneak a few originals into sets that satisfied cover band crowds.
Since then, they’ve weaved in and out of projects together. This weekend, they’re playing a two-night stand of sorts in New Hope: On Friday, they’re part of the band The Adventure Soundtrack, and are back on Saturday as the Faust/Fulton Duo.
They’re setting up camp at John & Peter’s, a venue that’s become a home-away-from-home for the pair. Both hail from New Jersey; Fulton in Paramus and Faust in Passaic.
Fulton recalls their first duo gig at John & Peter’s about three years ago: “We didn’t know what to expect, but then there was a crowd of people we didn’t know there that were happy to pay five bucks to hear us,” he laughed. “We were surprised. It was fantastic.”
Both have since networked and collaborated through the venue and its regulars. They played a few shows with Guy Heller, frontman for the Moistboyz featuring Mike Melchiondo of Ween on guitar, and met new players through them.
The duo also opened a historic night at the John & Peter’s in 2014. After their set, a supergroup, led by Melchiondo and including Faust, played the entire Echoes suite by Pink Floyd. The performance was recorded and has since made its rounds on various jam band and music news websites.
Now, says Faust, “We have a good community of bands we tend to play with. It brings a sense of comfort.”
The two may have somewhat contrasting influences — Fulton leans more toward jam bands, while Faust is more into alternative and progressive rock — but that melts away, or perhaps more accurately meshes together, when they’re on stage.
“We’re into all of it,” said Faust. “It all kind of explodes.”
Fulton says he’s just as much a fan of prog as Faust, and vice versa.
“The common element is that there’s rock and roll involved,” he explained.
Together, and especially in just a duo setting, their years of experience together becomes apparent.
“He knows how I think, and I know how he thinks. Even when we’re in the other band, we’ll climb or descend together, or do something harmonic together,” said Faust. “It’s just happening.”
That rapport comes to the forefront when they’re playing as a duo: the interplay is front and center, as are musical conversations and in-jokes.
The two can weave in riffs from different songs, for instance, or melt seamlessly into another number as if they’d planned it that way.
Then there’s the Boba Fett theme: a ridiculous riff Faust made up years ago and sneaks into songs every so often.
“Freeing is a great word for it, when it’s just the two of us,” said Fulton. “There’s a lot of chemistry, and we’re great at following each other. We definitely take more risks.” ••
Robert Fulton and Sean Faust perform at John & Peter’s, 96 S. Main St. in New Hope, with The Adventure Soundtrack on Feb. 17 and as the Faust/Fulton Duo on Feb. 18. For information, visit reverbnation.com/faustfultonduo, seanfaustmusic.com or robertfultonmusic.com.