Bands balance school, passion
Jen Rainey | Collegio Reporter
Many students spend their free time listening to music but some, like Kyle Brown, have taken to playing it outside of the classroom.
“Playing onstage is the most visceral feeling I’ve ever experienced,” said Brown, senior in communication. “When there are thousands of eyes watching your every movement, thousands of watts worth of lighting illuminating your face, in that moment, you feel like a true rock star.”
Brown is the rhythm guitarist for the southern-rock band, Burning Tide. There are three other Pittsburg State students in the band: Roxi Quinn (bass/vocals), junior in graphic design; Wayne King (drums), freshman in communication and Connor Askren (lead guitar), freshman in engineering. Though they consider themselves to be from Kansas City, they say they have temporarily relocated to Pittsburg.
“Fortunately the entire band moved to Pittsburg last semester to avoid the complication that created separation,” Brown said. “It’s still difficult to figure out logistics such as where the equipment will be stored, where we will practice, who is going to drive, etc.”
Brown says that Burning Tide plays shows nearly every weekend in Kansas City. However, the band has also played at Bubba’s 311 Club in Pittsburg and they spent Spring Break in Los Angeles, where they performed at the legendary “Whiskey A-Go-Go.” Brown says they are scheduled to play at “Rocklahoma,” the rock music festival that occurs every summer in Pryor, Okla., and features artists like Rob Zombie. Brown says he wants to focus on music and school, but juggling both can be difficult.
“In Kansas City, we sit on top of the music scene,” Brown said. “Everyone knows our names and wants to be around us, drink with us, get autographs from us, etc. One of the most frustrating feelings in the world is coming home to Pittsburg and realizing that few people even know my name, let alone my accomplishments. I simply try to do the best I can to put aside events of the previous weekend and continue learning.”
Sam Bruch, singer for R.O.R., also believes that it is difficult finding a balance between music and school.
“Time and getting everyone together to practice is the most difficult part about being in school and a band,” said Bruch, sophomore in creative writing. “Not to mention finding a place in town to practice without getting the cops called on us.”
Bruch says R.O.R. is a garage-punk band originally from La Cygne, and relocated to Pittsburg because most of the members are students at PSU. The band also features Chuck Breedlove (lead guitar), sophomore in electronics, John Anson (bass), undeclared freshman, Matt Olson (drums), freshman in chemistry, and Dalton Gainer (rhythm guitar), freshman in art. Bruch says the band members have played together since their freshman year of high school and write most of their own music.
“Our inspirations come from the teenage angst and girl problems any guy in their early-20s, with four basic chords, would draw their inspiration from,” Burch said.
Dead Eye, an all-female band that mixes rock, bluegrass and folk, formed after some students heard about the annual Pitt State’s Got Talent. The band features Megan McCoy (cello, lead vocals and bass), sophomore in music performance; Jenna McCarty (banjo and vocals), senior in nursing; Jennifer Murphy (saxophone), senior in music performance and Samantha Mahon (electric/acoustic guitar), junior in music education. Their music is mostly comprised of originals written by McCoy and McCarty. However, they do have a few covers thrown in. For most of the band members, music is a constant.
“For me and the girls (minus Jenna), music is school,” Rea said. “We keep our practices late at night and assign days in advance for when we want to practice. We’re very organized.”
The band plays Pittsburg frequently, often appearing at Fat Daddy’s open mic nights on Thursdays. They’ve also performed at Chatters, Student Activities Council gigs and have an upcoming performance at a fraternity house in Pittsburg. They’ve played in Kansas City at the Aftershock, as well.
“I love playing music and sharing it with people,” Mahon said. “I also love that a lot of my friends are either musicians, or big time into music. So, it’s always a good time.”