Behind the Beat: Students of Rock

Joining a band while you’re in college is probably as commonplace as joining any other campus group. And the problems of attempting to play music in close proximity to thousands of others who are trying to sleep or study are just as common. Just ask Waking the Neighbors drummer and full-time Springfield College student Chris Jost.

“The name [Waking the Neighbors] represents all of the disruption we cause our neighbors while we practice,” he says. “The college has a very limited amount of funds invested in its music program, and has located its music department directly below the college townhouses. So every Friday or Saturday night or so, we literally wake up our neighbors above us due to the poor soundproofing of the practice space we’ve been provided.”

First forming Waking the Neighbors with fellow SC students Adam Sickler (lead guitar, vocals), Jillian Funk (rhythm guitar, vocals), Jeff Richard (bass), Andrew DeCusati (keyboard, trumpet), and contributing musicians Robert Kearney (guitar, vocals) and Nick Parr (guitar) in 2011, Jost cites years of music training and a variety of influences as the ingredients that make the group work.

He says, “Our sound varies greatly between songs due to having such a variety in musical backgrounds and influences. Adam’s songs have a very strong John Mayer sound to them, while Jill’s songs, due to her punk rock roots, have an All Time Low and Paramore type sound to them. But when Jeff, Andrew, and Chris jam without Adam or Jill, there is a very strong funk sound heard that could be compared to the Red Hot Chili Peppers.”

Perhaps as a result of this varied sound, Waking the Neighbors has already found great success performing gigs on campus as well as having the track “Same As You” picked up for airplay on the Homebrew program on 104.1 WMRQ in Connecticut.

The band also has plans to play shows in the Boston and Connecticut areas over the summer. After that, the group will enter a period of transition.

“Since Adam will be attending Berklee College of Music next year, there is a new project that is in the works called The Cover-up,” says Jost. “The band will feature the original members Jill, Jeff, Andrew, and Chris, but will also be adding Rob Kearney as lead vocalist and Nick Parr on lead guitar. The band plans to have a studio recording of their single “Sleep with the Moon,” originally written acoustically by Rob and Adam, out by summer. Although the band is currently putting together a very large list of cover songs to play, there are some original songs in the works that will hopefully be put together by the end of summer.”

Until then, it’s back to writing papers and preparing for finals. But Jost isn’t worried.

He says, “We as a group actually believe in musical creationalism.”

For more information on Waking the Neighbors please visit

Author: Michael Cimaomo

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