As May approaches, students prepare to leave university life behind. These Boone groups, however, plan to pursue their musical passions after leaving college.
Brendan Grove, senior digital marketer, plays guitar for psychedelic rock band RUGG. Grove and fellow RUGG guitarist Brandon Mangano met in high school and formed the band after moving to Boone. Drummer Carolyn Brecht joined later. Grove is the only App State student in the group.
Grove started playing guitar at the age of eight and said he has been passionate about music ever since.
“Being able to take my own music or, like, take someone else’s music and interpret it and use a language that I feel like everyone understands is incredibly rewarding, and I love it” , Grove said.
After graduating from Grove in May, RUGG set off on a five-day tour of North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee. They also plan to move to Asheville in July in search of opportunities for their band and job opportunities outside of the band.
“I want it to be about the music, not just the money,” Grove said.
Grove is pursuing a marketing career in the music industry. He said being at RUGG has helped him gain experience and find fun in managing social media, and he hopes this experience will allow him to do similar creative marketing projects.
As for their band, they are working on new music and Grove said they hope to continue playing together for as long as possible.
“We’ve got a lot of music in the bank, and we’re working on an album now, so we’re really excited about that, and hopefully we can start connecting with other bands that are kind of like — d’ spirit with us and start racing and making the most of it,” Grove said.
Carter Hodl, a senior publicity major, plays bass for the Jacoozy “jam band”. They started playing together last spring.
“I mean, we sort of centralize around the idea of jam,” Hodl said. “That’s what we really like to do, it’s just having a lot of long-form songs that come together. We like to give ourselves plenty of room to execute our creative ideas as we wish.
Hodl started playing bass in October 2020, but music has been part of his life since a young age. He started piano lessons when he was seven years old. In fourth grade, he started playing percussion and eventually joined his high school jazz band. He started playing guitar in his second year of high school and hasn’t stopped playing ever since.
Hodl said from now on, Jacoozy plans to play together for as long as possible. If opportunities arise, they will suspend job offers, but Hodl’s main goal is to seek jobs after college.
“I really want to focus on the music, but I also know that I need a contingency plan if that fails. I know how hard it is to get into that scene,” Hodl said. “Music will always be part of my life. It will always be part of what I do. No matter where I end up after school, I will definitely keep it.
If they don’t continue with the group, Hodl said he may continue to pursue his passion for music through a career in advertising.
Hodl said he eventually wants to work in creative direction. He plans to get into music advertising, designing promotional material like concert posters and album covers.
Naomi Poesel, the lead guitarist of Babe Haven, an all-female queer punk band, graduated from App State last spring with a major in exercise science and a minor in sociology. She works as a behavior technician to help children with autism while playing in the group.
The group formed last summer for the annual Boone in Blossom festival. Even though the event was canceled due to COVID-19, they continued to perform together after Poesel’s graduation.
Poesel said their songs focus on issues important to them, including topics such as their experience as an all-female band in a male-dominated industry. They also have songs about issues with how girls are raised in society and about mental health.
Poesel and another guitarist in the band, Ashley Yuan, are Asian Americans. They are writing a song about the experience of being Asian American growing up in the United States
“Especially since we’re, you know, completely underrepresented, especially as Asians, I really like to show my face and inspire people to do the same and not be afraid to talk about issues “Poesel said.
They plan to stay in Boone for another year to establish themselves with the connections they have here.
“It’s also a really cool thing to still be in college, like, we can collaborate with students who are trying to do things,” Poesel said. “We are collaborating with someone who is trying to make t-shirts for us. We collaborate with people who do, like posters, so we try to network.
After that, Babe Haven plans to move to Asheville in search of new opportunities for the band.