Student band claims top spot back-to-back

by Kelsey Hagelberg

West of E Street has been performing on campus for a couple years now, and the practice and drive recently paid off with a first place finish in the Simpson Talent Show.

The band consists of sophomore Grant Rodgers on lead vocals, sophomore Kyle Einck on drums, sophomore Jesse Stewart and sophomore Jared Murphy on guitars with junior Devin Sietstra as the bass guitarist.

The band came together during the 2009 fall semester.

“Myself, Grant Rodgers, Kyle Einck, and Jared Murphy all joined SAE together, and we all were talking one night about how we are all musicians,” Stewart said.

The band started coming together soon after. The band’s name was not hard to create. They tried many times to come up with a different name, but West of E. Street stayed.

“SAE is west of E. Street, (and) since Grant loves Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, it was a play off of the band,” Murphy said.

Playing on campus at the talent show was an opportunity for the boys to show off their talent and love for music. The first year of the talent show the boys weren’t expecting the success that they achieved.

“Last year, no one knew us,” Einck said. “We were actually timid.”

The decision to play in this year’s talent show was a mutual agreement amongst all the band members.

“Since we ended up winning last year we decided that we probably should defend our title,” Stewart said.

The band was worried about other competitors and also the mere six hours they practiced prior to the performance. The decision of playing, “I Believe in a Thing called Love” by The Darkness was a song recommended by Rodgers.

“Grant came to us when we were thinking about the song for this year’s talent show and said he wanted to do it so we kind of just went with it because we were short on ideas,” Stewart said.

West of E Street has other things planned for their band.

“We want to play another gig in the BSC sometime in late March,” Einck said.

The band is mainly for fun, as none of the members would call themselves huge rock stars.

“We already have a devoted fan base on campus,” Stewart said. “To add more fans on campus would be that much better and allow us to have more fun when we play again.”