How often do you listen to music? If you are like me, an avid music fan, music is a big part of your life. Recently I had the chance to talk with members of .357, a local teen band. Here’s a backstage glimpse of the business end of being a band
.357--it’s more than just numbers. It is a band of brothers--Tate Sanders, Austin and Eric Ward. The idea took hold some 6 or 7 years ago while enjoying an evening in the pool. Their father asked what they wanted to be. All three boys declared, “Rock Stars!” With the help of a supportive father, the boys acquired some instruments and began jamming together.
Tate Sanders, 21, is the head singer for the group. Austin and Eric are 10th grade students at the Future School of Fort Smith. In most cases, teen bands have a difficult time getting bookings for public gigs. Not the case with these three. They admit that their secret has been in “who you know”--meaning knowing somebody in a position to give you a chance at a local event. This makes it much easier to get some traction.
Playing a mix of blues, funk and rock gives them a genre mix that also makes bookings easier. What is genre? Well, genre is the classification that identifies a band’s specific music style. Some musicians play mostly rock, rhythm and blues or heavy metal. With .357 it is a cool mix that offers variety to a wide range of audiences. And this means a larger audience will be attracted at the entertainment venue. After all, the bands “job” is to attract patrons for the event and the business.
Their genre mix is reflected in their personal music preferences. They are influenced by headers such as Jerry Garcia, ZZ Top and Led Zeppelin as well as Trey Anastasio and the Ripe band. That’s a pretty eclectic group of influencers. They try to stay open to new sounds and styles, and they like to add their own touches to old favorites.
Everyone knows that the music industry and rock n’ roll can be very hard to break into. Some people make it and others don’t. That said, you have to wonder if the band members have a back-up plan. Like something to bring the band back down to earth, as if they were asked if they had a backup plan. Absolutely! Sort of.
Austin sees his path as deeply rooted in music. Even if the brothers split up, he would want to continue writing and performing. Eric, on the other hand, enjoys L1 or LD which is “code” for stage lighting for music and other events. Tate’s choice is college bound to discover a field of major study.
If you ever hear that .357 is performing, go see them and lend your support. The boys love seeing new faces in the crowds. Follow them at Facebook.com/357headquarters where you will find pictures.
By Jarred Hurlocker