Hidden within Western’s diverse student body are three unique musicians who are students by day, and rockstars by night.
Gentry Cline, Tommy Marshall and Teriq Newton are students on campus who manage to find a balance between work, school and band practice.
Their lives are far from the typical student’s and exhausting at times, but their will power and love for music seems to push them further each day toward accomplishing their hopes of being a part of a successful band while also obtaining a degree.
Alternative bands Scruffy and the Janitors, Act Natrally and A Greater Tomorrow are well known in the St. Joseph music scene.
The bands can be seen performing at venues around St. Joseph on the weekends, but the Griffon musicians involved in the bands can be found on campus just about every day. Not perforimg of course, but attending class, studying in the library or participating in organizations on campus.
Each of the students agree that they would be interested in performing on campus if the opportunity ever arises, but in the meantime they have been featured on various media platforms such as the local radio stations, Northwest Missouri State University student media platforms and the well known music app, iTunes.
Griffon students and faculty aren’t completely aware of what goes on in students’ personal lives off campus, but these three musicians are prepared to give a little insight on what it is like to pursue their passion for music while graduation creeps closer with each passing semester.
Band: A Greater Tomorrow
Student: Gentry Cline
A Greater Tomorrow Bass player of A Greater Tomorrow, Gentry Cline, somehow manages to squeeze band practice into his busy schedule.
He is a sophomore at Western, and also works at Dick’s Sporting Goods. He doesn’t stop at school, work and band practice, He also volunteers at the St. Joseph Animal Shelter in his spare time.
“College is a lot more time consuming. I’m working, I have my band and plus school work … Thirty minutes after class I go to work all day, and then we [A Greater Tomorrow] try to schedule band practice,”Cline said.
The alternative band’s original members have been writing music since childhood, according to Cline, who joined the band while he was attending Lafayette High School.
They formed their band after the tragic death of a close friend who inspired one of their first songs. From that point on, they have written countless songs, covered popular hits and even recorded their album “Just In Time” at The Lava Room, a recording studio in Ohio.
“Before I joined, they won the KC Battle of the Bands, and from there went on to win The National battle of The Bands and then they were able to write a song with Linkin Park writer, Jeff Blue,” Cline said.
The band is currently working on a new album that sounds stylistically different than their first, which includes their new song entitled “Sleep”. Hopefully students at Western will get a chance to hear the new sound. Cline thinks a university showing of local bands would be great for campus and the St. Joseph band scene.
“I would love to play on campus. I’ve already played twice on Northwest Radio. College shows are really cool, because a lot of people are involved, and we can play shows for very little,” Cline said.
Band: Act Naturally
Student: Tommy Marshall
The guitarist and lead singer for Act Naturally, Tommy Marshall, is a senior Convergent Journalism major at Western. His main focus, other than obtaining his degree, is growing more as a guitarist and vocalist for his band.
His love for music began when he grew up listening to one of his dad’s favorite bands, The Beatles, in his home. His musical inspiration evolved into new bands like Blink-182 and Green Day.“My Dad always played his old Beatles records, so I listened to them a lot growing up. Eventually I sort of stole my brother’s guitar from him, and started tinkering around, and I liked it,” Marshall said.
However, the same band that began his love for music is also the inspiration for his band’s name, Act Naturally.
Although The Beatles wrote a song called “Act Naturally” it isn’t the only inspiration for the band’s namesake. “The name also came from the feeling you get when you are in those situations where you kinda’ just wanna’ lose your mind, but you also want to act naturally. Like when you’re freaking out about a girl or a new job,” Marshall said.
Acting naturally on stage seems to come easily for this alternative band, because they have been gigging regularly at St.joseph venues since they began last January.The band likes to let go, and have fun on stage and get the audience excited as they are for music.
“We want to be perceived as honest guys making music that we love. It should be a shared passion. They [audience] can see our passion and hopefully take something from that,” Marshall said.
The band members are also seeking new ways to become known in the Western and St. Joe community. They are planning on handing out free CDs on campus and at their shows to spread their music across a broader audience. Like A Greater Tomorrow, Act Naturally also played a few acoustic songs for Northwest Missouri’s weekly music sessions, so playing for Western students is a chance they wouldn’t miss.
“We would if we ever saw the opportunity, but I’ve never heard of Missouri Western allowing local bands to play around here. Then again, I’ve never tried, so that’s on me,” Marshall said.
Band: Scruffy and The Janitors
Student: Teriq Newton
Scruffy and The Janitors, Teriq Newton’s alternative rock band, has gained popularity in the Kansas City and St. Joseph areas over the last five years.
They have been featured by 96.5 The Buzz, a radio station based out of Kansas City, and they have sold over 600 albums.
Their music can also be found on itunes, Spotify and Youtube. Although Newton is a musician, he is majoring in economics and minoring in music, as he is striving to be a well-rounded person. He started out at Western as a music major upon graduating from Lafayette High School in 2011, but made the switch to economics after a few semesters.
“I learned a lot from this place [Western], and they gave me the tools I use in Scruffy. They taught me that you have to learn the rules before you break them,” Newton said.
Newton, like Cline and Marshall, has a busy schedule, which includes working, band practice, stand up comedy and school work. He was the President of Economics club, and participated in various clubs and organizations in the Music Department.
“I don’t even know how to have a normal life, and I don’t really want to. I enjoy being busy, but it takes a lot of scheduling. I’ve always managed to juggle it,” Newton said.
He believes that students can do anything they put their mind to, which how he sets his personal standards.
“I think people have a limit, you know, a ceiling that stops them from doing what they want to do. Just do it,” Newton said.
Newton refuses to limit his band perforamces to St. Joseph and Kansas City venues, so he is looking for ways to heighten his own ceiling. Possibly through bringing his music to the students and faculty.
“I would love to play a show on campus. I’ve always tried to crack Missouri Western, because it seems to be tucked away from the rest of the town in its own way. A lot of the students don’t even venture far off the belt.” Newton said.