KU News Release
Feb. 14, 2011
Contact: Mary Jane Dunlap, University Relations, 785-864-8853
KU’s Louisiana Street Band wins national battle of the bands competition
LAWRENCE — A band formed at the University of Kansas is the national champion of U Rock! Battle for the Best Band, an amateur band contest sponsored by General Mills.
The six-man band includes four KU students: Evan Epperson, John-Marc Skoch, Bradley Feagan and Austin Quick and two Baker University students: Scott Marks and Nate Deel.
Three of the KU students were residents of Grace Pearson Scholarship Hall, located on Louisiana Street — hence the idea for the band’s name. The band, formed in 2009, plays blues, rock, jazz and funk. Members describe their sound as “Boots in a subway station. Howling at the moon. The rage of a thousand fiery hell-beasts. Wagon wheels crossing dew-laden grass ...”
The victory has strengthened the band’s passion for music and performing — and given national exposure to their music.
“The best part about this win is definitely the instant credibility that it gives to the band,” said Skoch, a junior from Hastings, Neb. “I think this win has definitely helped each of us realize that music is our absolute passion. We all started to realize that as we slowly eased back into the life of a student and understood how much music really meant to us.
The winner was named last month in Los Angeles. The grand prize included 19 hours of professional studio time at Firehouse Studios in Los Angeles.
Since returning to Lawrence, the Louisiana Street Band has posted the EP of songs recorded in Los Angeles on their website, has scheduled local performances and is working on plans for a summer tour. They are scheduled to perform for Delta Gamma sorority’s Delta Jamma charity concert on Wednesday, Feb. 16, at the Kansas Union ballroom and on Thursday, March 31, for Student Union Activities’ Big Event, also in the ballroom.
To hear the EP and see the schedule, go to www.myspace.com/louisianastreetvoodoo.
The road to the championship began with winning a Sept. 25 campus battle of the bands sponsored by the Department of Student Housing, KU Dining Services and General Mills. Amateur bands battled in local contests at colleges and universities across the country for the opportunity to advance to online competition. Fans voted online Oct. 29 to Nov. 25 to select the top three finalists. The Louisiana Street Band from KU, the Jerry Olea Trio from California State University-San Marcos and the Acree Brothers from Longwood University in Virginia were flown to Los Angeles for the final battle. Music industry panelists judged live performances evaluating each band’s stage presence, interaction with and reaction from the crowd, originality, overall entertainment value and their live performance of original musical work.
“I think the win has motivated us to press even harder to get our music out,” said Feagan, a sophomore from Oswego. “Making it as far as we did drives us to keep going out and playing because we realized how much we love it. I personally just want to play all the time.”
Winning also bolstered dreams of playing professionally.
“For me, it was seeing four years of dreaming about playing professionally come to fruition before my eyes,” said Epperson, a senior from Wichita. “I couldn't stop thinking, ‘We did it.’ ”
Epperson and Quick, a senior from Shawnee, will graduate in May and Skoch plans to graduate in December. All three are now focused on careers as musicians.
Epperson said that he and Quick “had both initially planned to go to grad school in our respective majors, but no longer want to. We will still be living here, but we will instead be working and playing music with the band. This decision did not come without stress, but, ultimately, the dream was too much to give up.”
Skoch agreed, “We are all pretty adamant about continuing with music so once graduation occurs, we plan to do more shows and branch out to larger cities around the Midwest and probably to the coasts as soon as we can.
“Music has always been a constant in my life, but this trip and contest has helped me to see that music really is my passion and I want to continue as long as I can and as long as there are still listeners.”
The KU members of the band are listed below by hometown, year in school, major, parents’ names, high school and band role.
From Shawnee 66217
Austin Thomas Quick, senior in atmospheric science; Tom and Michon Quick; St. Thomas Aquinas High School; keyboards/ vocals.
From Oswego 67356
Bradley Joe Feagan, sophomore in music education; Joe and Teri Feagan; Oswego High School; bass guitar/vocals.
From Wichita 67208
Evan William Epperson, senior in history; John and Sharon Epperson; Wichita High School East; lead guitar/vocals.
From Hastings 68901
John-Marc J. Skoch, senior in applied behavioral science; Michael and Virginia Skoch; St. Cecilia High School; lead vocals.
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