Band Profile: My Name is Drew

December 8, 2009

An interview with Curtis Jackson and Ethan Freeman

My Name is Drew

L-R: Ethan Freeman, Rob Graves, Curtis Jackson, Zach Schroeder

I live to write down my life and act it out as I go, To feel everything, Put it on paper, And let it show.    from “Jeff’s Song”      -My Name is Drew 

If you haven’t heard of the band, My Name is Drew, you are likely to soon. The members of this peculiar band are all seniors in high school and are just waiting for the freedom to break out on the local music scene. The band consists of Ethan Freeman (lead vocals and guitar), Curtis Jackson (lead guitar and vocals), Zachary Schroeder (bass), and Rob Graves (percussion). They recently organized and headlined a benefit concert at Glasgow High School, where all of the band, except for Rob, attend. I had a chance to catch the show and I was duly impressed. Not only do these boys write good music and play it well, they put on a great show that is full of energy. Traditionally, bass players are subdued and fade into the background; however, Zach is never in one place at a time, dancing and running around the stage like a madman. Ethan and Curtis both are comfortable bantering with the audience while introducing songs, and Rob constantly keeps the beat that gets the audience out of their seats and dancing. I caught up with Ethan and Curtis, the principal songwriters, after a long day at school to talk about the band.

Ethan looks like your average, everyday, middle-class high school student. With hair a bit long, but combed and kempt, and the beginnings of scruffy beard, Ethan sports a green tee with a white bird decal under a red and black soccer jacket, and he seems encouraged and interested in the interview. He wouldn’t look a bit out place hanging out with the jocks. Curtis, on the other hand, is all rock-n-roll. Working on a Sudoku book throughout the entire interview, Curtis seems disinterested in talking about himself and looks like he might have dropped out of the 70s, minus the bell bottoms. Curtis wears tight jeans that look painful, topped off with a brown Reliant K t-shirt under a black oversized unzipped hoodie. His dress and his long, scraggly hair suggest an age old anti-establishment attitude, but a few minutes with him reveals his attitude is not of rebellion, but rather of choosing to exist above all the drama that life brings.

Curtis and Ethan have been neighbors and friends since they were young children, but they never really considered playing together in a band until My Name is Drew began to evolve. A few years ago, Zach and Rob played together in metal band that was not destined for stardom. After they broke up, Zach and Curtis began jamming together; eventually Zach brought in Rob, and Curtis brought in Ethan. Once they became an official band, they needed a name. It seems the question they get asked the most is where their name comes from; they actually argued about who had to tell the story. It turns out, one day at band practice, they were arguing about what the band’s name should be, until Curtis’ older brother, Drew, came in the room and exclaimed, “My name is Drew!” That’s what stuck.

The musical influences of the band mates are as varied their personalities; among the bands they listed are Oasis, Reliant K, Coldplay, The Foo Fighters, Mute Math, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pink Floyd and the Beatles. It is no surprise they have such diverse interests; when listening to their brand-new, self-titled release, it is hard to pin down what style of music they fit into. Almost all songs have an acoustic base, which make them simple and accessible to all types of music lovers, but these guys are no strangers to amplification; they are not afraid to make some noise. However, they don’t hide behind distortion as many bands do. They are all skilled and gifted musicians; Rob and Zach keep strong, yet intricate, beats that keep the audience’s feet moving, and Ethan and Curtis fill in the gaps with melodic guitars and harmonizing vocals. Additionally, guest musicians, who often join the band on stage, help add variety with instruments such as the flute, violin, and saxophone. My Name is Drew describes their sound as Pop-Punk-Alternative.

Describing his inspiration for writing music, Curtis rubs his hand over his face and sighs, “For me it’s just jamming and getting into a place where I feel like I’m in the music, no longer in the physical world. It’s spiritual.” Ethan confirms and mentions that when Curtis brings a new song to the band, he presents it as an expression of emotion and feeling, rather than just teaching them the song’s chords and melody. Ethan writes most of the lyrics for the band, and he says he is inspired by life in general: “Things you think about when you are alone when you have time to think, like when you‘re staring at the stars. My ignorance: I write about things I don’t know but want to find out, but I like to write about happy things.” Curtis affirms that Ethan’s into nature, and when asked about the other band members’ source of inspiration they laugh and agree that, “Rob would disagree about everything we just said!” After taking some time to reflect on his work, Ethan states, “I want people to look past the lyrics and see the meaning behind them.” The band’s songs are not overtly Christian; however, most of the lyrics will cause anyone who thinks deeply to contemplate about the concept of God and his relationship and relevance with today’s world. Ethan and Curtis state that everyone in the band is a Christian, and they consider their music God-inspired, but they are not a Christian band. Curtis explains, “The band is not the witness; the band can take me to new places and help me meet new people, but our focus is on living as an example and not being preachy.”

Both Ethan and Curtis state that fame is not important to them; they both would be happy just to be able to make a living off the band and not have to work a 9-to-5 job. Ethan, however, admits, “I do dream about waking up on a tour bus and heading out to play Wembley Stadium!” They have the talent and the skill to make that dream come true. If you want to find out for yourself, click on their link on the sidebar to hear some of their songs and look for a My Name is Drew gig near you.

Peter L Richardson

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