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Thursday, Sept. 2, 2010 06:32 am

The Graduate goes to work


The Graduate CD Release Show happens on Saturday, Sept. 4, in Lanphier Ball Park with special guests What’s Fair, Transatlantic and Lazer Dudes. There’s a $5 cover and doors open at 7 p.m. with more information available at www.thegraduatemerch.com.

In these days of rampant ungainful employment, what a pleasant surprise to see someone get work, especially if they’ve strived long and hard for it and are well suited to the task. The recently rehired workers in our story happen to hail mostly from the Springfield area and belong to the band The Graduate.

When we last visited with the rock-pop quintet in late 2008, the situation was quite different. After a solid and steady rise in the ranks, including a nice ride on a decent record label (I-Con MES), a photo-op on a prestigious music magazine cover (College Music Journal) and regular touring with fine success (Warped Tour, Lollapalooza), bandmates Matt Kennedy (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Tim Moore (drums), Max Sauer (guitar, vocals), Corey Warning (vocals) and Jared Wuestenberg (bass) suddenly joined the lines of the unemployed.

The record label fizzled, the publicity machine went south and so did the chance to tour regularly with support. The group basically existed but without the purpose that drove them for years — the very real and close possibility of making it in the music business. Our good news is, The Graduate’s back heading down the glittering path to showbiz success with all the trimmings of a solvent record label and full-time touring.

During a recent afternoon visit at the SunsUp Koffee Kafe across the corner from the band house on First and Calhoun, the guys filled me in on the long and winding road of the last few years. While listening to the tale, I sensed that what makes these fellows different from other bands was simply an unshakable belief that The Graduate would succeed. They made many references to being fortunate in getting a second chance at what most bands never get a first shot at, but never to really doubting they would.

We joked about not finishing college or getting a real job, but all the members made serious choices to continue treading water in the world of career-choices-by-school-counselors to stay committed to the band’s future. By sharing songwriting credits, living spaces, traveling means and many other common bonds, a one-for-all sense of band unity developed supporting a strong belief in the dream of group success.

Granted, the ages of those participating are well below 30, with a life’s dream stage still intact and the fiscal roulette attached easily ignored, but through the ages many a young musician succumbed to the call of the steady dollar to make music a mere hobby rather than pursuing the passion. Let’s give The Graduate credit for hanging tough, keeping up the menial jobs to stay steady with the original music idea and seeing it through to another level.

In practical terms they continued writing songs and submitting product to record labels, while making enough cash doing whatever to stay afloat. Perseverance paid off in May of 2010 when Razor & Tie, a well-respected and well-connected label, signed the band to a sweet record deal. The guys reunited with Brian McTernan of Salad Days Studio in Baltimore, producer of Anhedonia, the 2007 disk that put them on the map, and made Only Every Time, the new Graduate CD slated for release Aug. 31, 2010.

With the support of an established label, touring possibilities came into play and Amadeus, the band’s well-traveled van, came out of the garage as the group hit the road again. With a good industry buzz all around, including quality radio airplay, involved Internet action and steady touring with opening slots behind better known bands in decent venues, the Graduate has a job to do.

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com

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