It’s not surprising just how many local bands have a connection to UM’s Frost School of Music. Even if not every musician is a current UM student, it seems like Frost is the epicenter of musical talent in Miami. It harbors musicians and in turn, helps to refine the bands they’re associated with.
“No one babies you at Frost,” said Chad Bernstein, a jazz performance graduate student and trombonist for the SpamAllstars. “It is a very realistic situation to how play¬ing in Miami is. It is difficult, but if you are creative, then you can succeed.”
It is this creativity that has produced a myriad of bands in a variety of genres, attracting fans of all musical tastes. While some bands fall into a reggae or funk category, such as well-known groups Jahfé and the Spam Allstars, others have identified more closely with the rock scene, such as Beckham County Trainwreck and Bodhi. Van*gloria, on the other hand, combines a little bit of both funk and rock and distinguishes itself as a disco house band.
Beckham County Trainwreck
This five-piece formed in 2008, boasting a lineup full of UM connections. With Led Zeppelin and The Allman Brothers Band as some of its influences, the band performs a mix of jazz, alternative and metal. A September show at Patio Jams featured music from the band’s Particles EP as well as covers of The Beatles, Pink Floyd and the Foo Fighters, all featuring personal flare from guitarists Nick Albury, a former UM student, and Ethan Cohen, a senior majoring in business law. Bougainvillea’s is a favorite venue for the band; check the venue for live performances or stream their music at www.myspace.com/bctrainwreck.
Band Members Nick Albury, Rob Faulstich, Karl Fagerstrom, Ethan Cohen, Kyle Crossland
Zach Morillo, Hunter Parmentier, and Will Mills met in Frost and make up the rhythm section of this 11-piece reggae group. Formed five years ago by co-founders Esther Fortune and Sasha Sanon, Jahfé holds strong to its Haitian Roots, naming Bob Marley, Midnite, and King Tubby as influences. The result is a roots-reggae sound infused with rock and elements of soul and hip hop. “Through learning about and listening to music at Frost we were able to bring about the conscious movement of music we are a part of today,” explained Parmentier. The band released their LP The Solution in July and play Jazid every other Sunday for Reggae Night. More at www.jahfe.com.
Band Members Sasha Sanon, Esther Fortune, Will Mills, Zach Morillo, Hunter Parmentier
The Spam Allstars
Chad Bernstein, Steve Welsh and Adam Zimmon are all UM graduates discovered by frontman Andrew Yeomanson at different times throughout the band’s 15-year existence. Yeomanson (aka DJ Le Spam) has created what Bernstein calls a “Cuban jam session,” which has a big band sound infused with funk, Latin, and electronic elements. The band heavily tours the Miami area, playing at least two shows per week and they call and Hoy Como Ayer “home base.” Electrodomesticos is the most recent album and another is in the works. All six albums are available for purchase on iTunes. Find out more at www.spamallstars.com.
Band Members AJ Hill, Adam Zimmon, Mercedes Abal, DJ Le Spam, Chad Bernstein, Tomas Diaz
This five-piece is also a Frost powerhouse, with all its members graduating between 2006 and 2008. Lead guitarist/vocalist Nick Kruge, bassist Paul Bender, keyboardist/drummer Luke Moellman and guitarist Matt Gajewski released their debut album in 2005. Their follow-up, Bluebird came out in late 2008. Last summer, van*gloria embarked on a 27-show tour with a new band member, percussionist Andrew Maguire. Since, members have scattered from Australia to California, though Gajewski and Moellman remain in Miami. They hope to continue making music and eventually tour the West Coast. Purchase van*gloria’s music on iTunes and hear part of Bluebird on www.vangloria.net.
Band Members Luke Moellman, Paul Bender, Andrew Maguire, Matt Gajewski, Nick Kruge