Fairmont students pursue musical interests in garage bands


Photo: Alix Jordan

Fairmont Junior David French (left) and Sophomore Tylar Orlowski (right) and Fairmont grad Tonnie Roberts (back) rehearse as the band Thoughts of Tomorrow.

Music has always been a large part of the Fairmont community. While the first thing that comes to mind might be the Marching Band or Eleventh Hour, other Fairmont students have been pursuing their own musical careers, spending countless hours writing, learning and performing music in their own garage bands.

Thoughts of Tomorrow

Members of Thoughts of Tomorrow, an alternative rock band, work hard to write and produce the type of music they love. “My favorite thing about being in a band is being able to express myself through my music,” said guitarist David French, a Fairmont Junior.

With a garage band, members are free to choose the music they play and write and to set their own tone for their band. “Garage bands are much more spontaneous than stuff like Marching Band,” said bassist Tylar Orlowski, a Fairmont sophomore. “We put ourselves out there more because it’s our music.”

Thoughts of Tomorrow puts the time into writing their own songs. “I don’t like cover bands,” said French, who writes some of the band’s music. “I don’t want to pay someone to play a song I’ve already heard.” Writing songs, however, can be challenging. “If I’m writing with just one other person, then we get a lot done, but if it’s all of us together, we get nothing done.”

The band plans to head to a recording studio this spring to produce their first demo, but going to the studio won’t be the band’s first experience recording. They’ve recorded two singles: one called Thoughts and another through the school called Thunderstorms.

“I hate recording,” said French. “I’m happy once it’s done, but it’s a long, tedious process that costs a lot of money.”

A self-made band isn’t always the easiest thing to handle. It takes a lot of dedication and time. “The hardest thing is planning practices and getting everyone to show up,” said Orlowski.

Thoughts of Tomorrow hopes to pursue their musical careers as long as they can. All members have performed live and hope to perform as a band when the opportunity comes. “I love performing live,” said French. “It’s a rush. It’s awesome to see everyone in the stands getting hyped because of the music.”

The band’s drummer, Tonnie Roberts, is a Fairmont grad who has been in other garage bands and is impressed by his younger band mates’ skill and dedication. “David asked me to be in the band a lot, but I didn’t realize how serious about it he was,” said Roberts. “One day he came to me and he seemed so much more mature about it, so I joined.”

The band is optimistic about the future and, according to French, has been signed by Standby Records. “It’s cool to see all our hard work pay off,” said French. “It makes me really excited to see what will come next for us.”

Kill the Radio

Members of the pop-punk trio Kill the Radio share a passion for music and enjoy the freedom they get as a garage band. “I can do whatever I want to,” said drummer Clayton Piatt, a Fairmont sophomore. “I get to play what I like and hang out with my friends, too.”

The band has performed live and is still learning to get used to it. “I was nervous at first, but then I just spread my wings and soared,” said bassist and Fairmont sophomore Matt Berlon.

Piatt is more confident when it comes to performing live. “Performing live isn’t that bad,” he said. “It’s just like practicing but more thrilling. After you finish, you’re just like, ‘Wow, guys … we did it.’”

The band doesn’t know what comes next for them, but they plan to grow as a band and as musicians. They hope to continue to do what they enjoy. “My main goal is for the band to get out there more,” said Berlon. “I want people to like us and hate us. I want more than five people to come to our shows.”

Apollo Six

Meanwhile, members of Apollo Six have combined their musical skills to form a different type of garage band – a jazz sextuplet. “One day I had a song I wanted to be played and I wanted my friends to play it,” said group leader Josh Strange, a senior. “It went really well and it just turned into this.”

All the members play or have played in the musical program at Fairmont and have a love for playing music. “I do this to get better and make the music that I like, not what everyone else likes,” said member Ben Reineke, a sophomore.

While playing more serious jazz songs, Apollo Six also has covered songs ranging from Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen to Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes. “Being in a band opens a lot up,” said Strange. “We can play whatever we want and choose what we cover.”

Apollo Six has proven that a garage band can be of any genre. “I think jazz is one of the hardest genres to play,” said member Sophie Lockhart, a Fairmont senior. “We all love playing it and have a passion, even if it isn’t popular with our age.”

For all three bands, music will always be a passion and huge part of their lives, no matter where their bands’ careers go. Self-made music will always be important to them. “The best thing about garage bands is the shock factor,” said Roberts. “People think because they’ve never heard of the band, it won’t be good. But then they play and they sound better than professionals.”