By: Chris Zimmer – Staff Writer
I was dancing to the groove of student band Funny Business (at a house) on Irving when a student I’d just met asked, “What are you, the groupie?” I took a sip of my drink and replied, “Nah. I’m just buddies with one of the members of the band.” I resumed my dancing instead of attending the St. Patrick’s Day bar crawl that night. It was a good decision.
When members of Funny Business – all juniors at the University of Dayton – told me in October they were serious musicians who believe school and finding a job after graduating came second, I smiled and said, “That’s cool,” but I thought “Good luck making any money.” I took back that discouraging thought a few days later when I saw them play for the first time.
The band’s sound is created by keys/synth player Billy Carrick and lead vocals/guitarist Sean Cassamonto. Its vibrant fashion goes along with its creative riffs and solos. Bass player Yan Rodriquez’s fingers play on-beat with drummer Brian Kohnen.
Saxophone player Patrick Bradley and trumpet player Sean Soman make its sound unique. They’re in tune, smooth and have been described by listeners as reggae, funk and electronic.
Funny Business made a name for itself after coming in second place at the Campus Concert Committee’s Battle of the Bands last semester. It’s been a regular at weekend house parties since and doesn’t plan on stopping after graduating.
FROM THE RESIDENCE HALLS TO THE STAGE
Cassamonto, Carrick and Rodriquez began jamming together in Virginia Kettering Hall in early 2014. They recruited Joe Linsky to play the drums, and within a few text messages, Funny Business was formed.
Patrick Bradley lived down the hall from Carrick and Cassamonto in Stuart Hall their first year. They knew he grew up playing saxophone at his church, but they never knew how good he was until he brought it with him to one of their band practices.
Soman joined in June after months of nagging from his friends, and rediscovered his passion.
“Even though I was an accomplished musician in middle and high school, I thought I was going to be done once college started,” he said. “However, my friends kept bugging me to pick it up again, and found that passion to continue performing and improving.”
The band’s diverse sound comes from the players’ wide range of classic, modern and recent rock influence.
“Our sound stems from Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd,” Rodriquez said. “We try to incorporate today’s electronic and groove rock popularized by The Werks and Papadosio, too.”
Cassamonto says other influences come from listening to Blink 182, Senses Fail, Three Days Grace and Queens of the Stone Age. Now imagine all of these sounds with jazz.
“My influences mainly include Kenny Garret, John Coltrane and of course, Charlie Parker,” Bradley said. “I know Sean likes Miles Davis and Stevie Wonder too.”
“I don’t really know what to call our genre,” drummer Kohnen said. “We want to be set apart from everyone else.”
DON’T LET THE NAME FOOL YOU
Funny Business is no joke. These musicians have big hopes for 2015 after becoming a regular performing band on campus.
“We’re not taking any weekends off, and are practicing at the very least once a week” Carrick said. “I’d like us to be at that point where we have 30 or so original songs mastered so we can keep our sound fresh for our audience.”
All of the band members share a passion for music, and they always find the time to play either by themselves or with each other despite school, work and internships.
“Music is one of the most important things in life,” Carrick said. “It’s a source of meditation, really. It’s helped me personally deal with the life forces and academics and has opened up many relationships here at UD. We hope to attract more individuals like ourselves and be a part of a community known for the arts and music.”
The band truly wants to see all the artists on campus to come together and create a scene unlike any other at UD. So far the number of attendees at each gig has been growing, and they claim its evidence of the band’s improvement over the past year. They walk a fine line of breaking the occupancy limit and disturbing neighbors, but they pull it off.
As far as playing outside the UD community, the band hopes to play gigs in Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland, Ohio during the breaks, and dream of perform at music festivals someday.
For more information or to listen to Funny Business, please visit the band’s Facebook at https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=597071473735349.