Behind the Beat: Greek Youth

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Thursday, June 07, 2012
Photo Courtesy Derrick Rego Photography
Arrows Over Athens

For the self-taught musicians of Westfield's Arrows Over Athens, choosing a band name that rolled off the tongue and symbolized the group's beliefs was an important task.

Fortunately, while running through a list of possibilities, members Randy Burlingame (vocals, guitar), Michelle Herrick (vocals, guitar), Preston Bailey (guitar) and Mike Gelinas (drums) found a moniker that not only sounded good, but also connected the rockers to the birthplace of democracy.

"We were trying to decide on a name, and Arrows Over Athens was the one that just stuck out to us out of all the candidates," says Burlingame. "We liked the way it sounded, and we knew there would be a lot of cool artwork that could go with the name. Classical Athens was a center for literature and the arts. To us, the name shows our love for our art. The 'arrows' represent everything that works against us doing what we love—work, school, bills, you name it—but still finding a way to make it happen."

Since March of 2010, the band has been "making it happen" throughout Western Massachusetts and the Northeast, with an appearance at the Van's Warped Tour stop in Hartford, Conn. last summer to show for its effort.

Burlingame says, "I was in disbelief about the whole thing. I've been hearing about and going to the tour for years, and having the chance to play was awesome. I think that was really the point we all saw—that maybe we do have something going on here, and it made us hungry for more."

The band made its appearance in that well-known festival setting with, of course, vocalist Herrick in tow. "People assume that just because we have a female vocalist, we must sound a certain way," says Burlingame. "The amount of airtime our two singers get is about the same. A lot of people don't get that one of our vocalists isn't really 'lead' until they hear that. It's [also] hard for dudes to sing along with Michelle's parts at shows. She hits some crazy high notes, and, let's face it—most guys just can't do that."

As for future plans, AOA hopes to earn another spot on the Warped Tour when it rolls through the area in the coming months. But the band will be busy touring on its own, and promises the possibility of new music to come in the near future.

Burlingame says, "We're doing a tour June 15-24 with Legend Has It. After that, we're doing a few other short weekend runs over the summer as well as following a few days of the Vans Warped Tour to help promote some of those shows. At the end of August we're back into Zing Studios to record our next EP."?


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