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Francis grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia where he was exposed to a lot of bluegrass and country music growing up. He began playing guitar and writing songs at age 14. Upon graduating high school, he moved to Southern California and played in a number of blues, rock, and reggae bands. It wasn't until he moved to San Francisco that he began performing all of his original material as a solo artist in various clubs, bars and cafes around the city. This was the first incarnation of Dark Oz, but he was quickly joined onstage by Lady Layne who played keys, mandolin, and percussion and occasionally another guy also named Layne who played drums. This second incarnation of Dark Oz played for a span of about three years in San Francisco after which time Francis took a break from Dark Oz to join One Pound Giant, a collaborative four-piece in which he played lead guitar. The third and present incarnation of Dark Oz began a few years after Francis moved to Portland, Or and met Styx.
Styx grew up in a small suburb of Toledo, OH. She was heavily influenced by her father's blues bands and started playing drums when she was eight. She was in band in high school and, since then, has been in many different bands with various styles of music including jazz, rock, punk, and other melodic, alternative genres. A few of the bands Styx has played in include Jill in the Box, Ragazza Gorilla, and In Vivo. Both Styx and Francis feel that good writing and original material are an essential factor ina good, working band.