Being in a band not all glitz and glam


Courtesy of The Present Age

The Present Age, started by two brothers, plays a backyard show in Oshkosh.

Rachel Ryan, Reporter

From hardcore punk shows at Jambayla to roaring jazz orgies at Becket’s, Oshkosh has always had a booming local music scene, and a number of these bands develop close friendships or improve family ties that already exist.

One local band, Cricket, is a mid-’90s post-hardcore band that started in 2017 and features Tanner Kuehl, lead guitarist and singer, Jordan Brown, drummer and Josh Giesfeldt, bass guitarist.

Kuehl said it all started when he asked his friend Brown to play in a band. From there, Kuehl said he recruited his other friend, Giesfeldt, to play bass for them.

It can be hard to find time for practice due to everyone’s full-time work schedule, Kuehl said. Nevertheless, when they do practice, it can be quite fun. Giesfeldt said that sometimes the band goes to Taco Bell or McDonald’s after practice and these spontaneous adventures can be amusing.

Despite these late-night runs to Taco Bell and the silly banter during band practice, Brown said the commitment to a band is a serious one and it doesn’t come without its challenges.

“Being in a band is a relationship, and if you are a busy person, it’s hard to maintain relationships and it’s not really fair to enter a relationship if you’re not going to work hard to maintain it,” he said. “So I didn’t know if I was ready to have a couple boyfriends yet. But wouldn’t ya know it, here I am and I just can’t get ridda these guys.”
Brown said when they started playing live shows the pressure only increased because people expected more from the band.

In the local scene, the audience is mostly comprised of supportive friends, which Brown said can be problematic because it’s hard to get honest answers out of your friends.

“It’s easy to think that you’re really doing something cool, and you just don’t know, so you better like it yourself,” Brown said.

The Present Age is another local band that faces similar pressures and challenges. Their band started with two brothers who have been playing music together from a young age.

Logan Lamers is the lead singer/guitarist and Isaac Lamers plays drums. Their current lineup also includes Nigel Magana on bass and Brandon Resop on guitar.

Isaac said there’s a lot of work that’s done behind the scenes, and being in a band can be like a second job.
“I think playing music is the least amount of work you do,” he said. “There’s so much with booking shows, emailing people, trying to plan times and dates with venues and other bands.”

Logan said a huge part of booking shows is emailing local businesses, and that can be a challenge in itself.
“For every 100 emails you send, you might get 10 responses and one of those is a yes, but that still means you have to send all 100 emails,” he said.

Some of the other struggles they face include budgeting money, balancing life outside of the band and finding time to support other bands in the community.

Logan said by supporting other bands, their band gains more support. In other words, networking is key to a band’s success.

“The more friends you have, the more opportunities you’re gonna have,” he said.

Both The Present Age and Cricket deal with their fair share of difficulties, but that doesn’t stop them from playing and writing music. For Cricket, the band is something the members are passionate about. However, they aren’t seeking any sort of fame and the same is true for The Present Age.

It is certainly no easy task to be a local band. They face insecurities at their shows, financial hardship and time constraints. An endless list of obstacles try to knock them down, but despite all of it, there are still great rewarding moments that remind them of why they do what they do.

“Every once in a while when you play a show you get somebody who comes up and they’re like, ‘Hey, I really really love what you guys are doing. I get where you’re coming from musically. I appreciate what you have to say,’” Logan said.

Logan said making music provides them with the opportunity to create meaningful connections.

“It’s incredible how through playing music you can make somebody feel or think about the same thing that you were doing when you wrote the song and when you’re playing it,” he said. “And to have that kind of nonverbal connection, it’s incredibly powerful and really encouraging.