Sweat, Blood, and Rock & Roll
Anchors Away performs at tomorrow’s Sigma Alpha Mu Carnival
“There goes another one,” yells Josh Robison (SAR’13), guitarist of the punk band Anchors Away, holding up a broken drumstick and shouting over the music. Broken drumsticks, it turns out, are a regular byproduct of the band’s practices, along with broken strings and the occasional loss of blood. Performances are no less calamitous: at last year’s BU Battle of the Bands, Anchors Away was pulled off the stage after their second song for fear that someone would get hurt.
“The funny thing is that even though they cut us off early, all the people who ran it came up to us after and were like, ‘You have to play all of our shows—no one brings energy like that,’” says singer Evan White (CAS’13).
If tomorrow’s Sigma Alpha Mu Carnival is anything like the Battle of the Bands, there will be plenty of enthusiasm and plenty of volume. Anchors Away is slated to perform alongside indie bands No Soap Radio and Lando at the event, which also includes games, activities, prizes, and entertainment by the BU DJ Association and the Juggling Association.
“So many bands are too focused on being perfect and everyone ends up standing still,” says drummer John Leibold (COM’13). “I’d rather be slightly more sloppy, but be jumping around and having everyone go crazy.”
Though each member prefers a different style of music, from the upbeat pop-punk melodies of All Time Low to the heavier sounds of Defeater, the group—Robison, White, Leibold, bassist Max Cohen (SAR’13), and guitarist Aing Kruechalee (CAS’13)—finds a common ground with what seems to be a running theme: energy.
“If we had to describe our sound in one word, I would say energy, raw energy,” Kruechalee says.
“That’s two words,” Leibold jokingly corrects him.
Like most bands just starting out, when Anchors Away teamed up in 2009 as freshmen, they had limited resources, no crew, and no space to practice. So they decided to lug their 50-pound amps down Comm Ave and into the basement of Myles Standish Hall. When they weren’t kicked out for the excessive noise, says White, they picked up a few new fans.
“The dining hall workers started coming down to the basement and they would listen to our music,” White says. “Kenny, a worker who looks exactly like Lil Wayne, came down, and we played ‘Lollipop’ for him and he rapped to it.”
Another worker was so gripped by the sound that he threw his hands in the air, a move that ejected everything from his pockets. That kind of passion for the music, the band says, is what inspired their name: Anchors Away.
“Anchors is a metaphor for the weight we carry in our lives,” says Kruechalee. “When we play music it’s like throwing the anchors away and letting go of the stress.”
With help from the Music Business and Performance Club, of which Leibold is president and White is vice president, the band has negotiated a grant for a drum set, a space in the Student Activities Office to practice, and other details such as soundproofing. The only thing missing? Their loyal dining hall fans.
These days, the band’s song list includes songs by Senses Fail, Sum 41, and Katy Perry. Last April, they got the crowd at BU Central’s Underground Music Fest moving with their rendition of “Firework.” They also play original songs, with music written by Kruechalee, who says he likes to keep things interesting with unexpected notes, and of course, lots of energy. White writes the lyrics, drawing inspiration from events in his life—from breakups to friends who have passed away.
“I get to look at this chaos that’s been my life and then take it and give it a more coherent order,” he says. “It helps me to look back and understand what’s been going on.”
This week, White and Kruechalee recorded an acoustic track of “My Heroine,” the band’s first song. They are now looking at several different studios to record a demo or an EP in the near future.
Asked if they plan to pursue music after graduation, White immediately pipes up: “I’m planning on going into music. I’m going to be professionally homeless.”
Leibold hopes to work in concert production or artist management, Kruechalee is studying psychology, and Robison and Cohen are both in Sargent College’s athletic training program.
For now, Kruechalee says, it’s all about the music and it’s all about the fun.
Catch Anchors Away tomorrow, Saturday, October 1, at the Sigma Alpha Mu Carnival, which runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Marsh Plaza and the BU Beach (rain location: SAC Gym). Anchors Away will perform at 12:15 p.m.
Find out more about the band on Facebook.
Tom Vellner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Comments