ACM@UCO is not quite 2 years old, but it’s already paying dividends for its students. See The Rockettops, an indie-rock quartet taking what its players have learned and packaging it into a model for other students to follow.
Singer Jordan Smith, bassist Michael Bewley and guitarist Earl Moreno met at the school and formed the band last summer with drummer Mark Quenzer. Despite being together less than a year, The Rockettops are releasing their debut EP, the appropriately titled “Blast Off,” on Saturday at the school’s Performance Lab; each ticketholder gets the CD for free. Peg the quick progress to school spirit.
“We are there for music, and we all have this common focus,” Bewley said. “The idea that we all want to pursue music professionally has really bonded us together.”
For most in the game of rock, it’s all about coming across as doing as little as possible, whether they are working their asses of or not. But the guys of The Rockettops are up front — and proud — of all the work, time and money they’ve put in. They are quite conscious of the demands involved with being a successful band, and The Rockettops are very much interested in being successful.
“Really, bands are small businesses, and sometimes, you need to think of it that way,” Bewley said. “It’s marketing and getting yourself out there and finding a way to get a return on your investment.”
They’ve been conscious of marketing and branding every step of the way, reading up on the theory behind band names and double-checking to make sure URLs would be available for their choice. They’ve paid top dollar for photos, graphics, recording and design in the mind-set that a group should dress for the gig it wants, not the one it has.
“Everything we do, we make it look as though it’s professional,” Moreno said. “We are working toward the next step, and we don’t want to settle for anything less than what we can do, and that’s helped us a lot.”
Bewley added, “If people see us, go look at our website or photos, and it all looks the same caliber as Lady Gaga’s stuff, then we’ve done a good job,” Bewley said.
Really, bands are small businesses.
“I feel like we dress a little crazier, though,” Quenzer said.
The Rockettops play an unabashedly poppy and accessible brand of indie rock that recalls the radiofriendly bands they draw influences from, including Death Cab for Cutie, Coldplay and Muse. It’s passionate, uplifting and meant to evoke a feeling that all their work is done in good spirit and faith.
“The bigger we get, the more people we can reach,” Smith said. “We love music, we love making it and we all enjoy positively impacting people’s lives in whatever way. We just want to lift people up, whether it’s through a song’s message or watching us perform. That’s a common goal between all of us.”