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BU Rocks: BU’s One-Man Band

Spitzer Space Telescope brings high-energy folk rock to BU Central and beyond

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BU and rock ‘n roll are in a long-term relationship — just ask the members of Aerosmith, who got their start playing parties in the dorms. Kenmore Square and the BU campus have changed since then, but the University’s musical tradition hasn’t gone away. This week, we highlight five BU bands to watch for.

Nannan ZhongSpitzer Space Telescope

Click on the audio player to hear Dan MacDonald (CFA’10), also known as Spitzer Space Telescope, fuse high-energy rock with folk traditions in his song "People of the Hills."

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For some of his songs, aspiring singer-songwriter Dan MacDonald (CFA’10) duct tapes a tambourine to his foot as an accompaniment on stage, but “most of the time," he says, "it breaks ’cause I stomp the s–t out of it.”

MacDonald, otherwise known as Spitzer Space Telescope, is a one-man band of sorts — guitarist, harmonica and tambourine player, and vocalist.

“There aren’t too many negatives about performing solo,” says MacDonald, who studies painting at the College of Fine Arts. “I simply can’t tap into the energy I could with a band. Everything is simplified. And my mistakes are completely exposed. I can’t hide them behind a wall of sound.”

The Michigan native launched SST in 2005 and describes his style as energetic folk rock that draws on traditional songwriting and the spirit of the ’60s, with a dab of “the potty mouth of a sailor.”

MacDonald performed on April 26 at BU Central for WTBU Day. On May 14, he took the stage at T.T. the Bear’s Place, 10 Brookline St., Cambridge. For much of June, SST toured the Midwest and the East Coast — from Grand Rapids, Mich., to Fort Wayne, Ind., to Philadelphia, Pa. Visit SST’s MySpace page to see the complete schedule, hear more songs, or purchase an EP.

Caleb Daniloff can be reached at cdanilof@bu.edu.

This story originally ran April 4, 2008.

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