In the Midwestern Musical Co, what used to be her father’s vintage guitar shop, sophomore Audrey Kesler made her first musical debut at age eight. She played to a live audience of three customers; her father on the guitar while she played the drums.
“Ever since I was born, my dad’s been in a ton of bands,” Audrey said, “and he’s just always been a musician.”
Her dad used to tell the neighborhood kids that he was going to be Elvis. Little did he know that he would soon became the bassist of a touring band called the Pedaljets and meet Prince. As the cost traveling on top of running his own business became impossible, it appeared that his life of performing live music would die down as well.
Until Audrey was born.
When Audrey was a baby, her father would take her to work and let her play with the basic stage set up he had on display. Sometimes the two of them would go down to the store even when it was closed, so they could jam out.
Audrey spent her childhood sitting behind the display drum kit in the shop and it soon became her specialty. While other kids were listening to Barney, she listened to a four-piece rock band called the Doo-Dads.
The Doo-Dads are a children’s rock band composed of dads, including Audrey’s own. It was formed when Audrey was two years old. The group began to practice regularly and perform at different events and children’s birthday parties.
Even sophomore Caroline Blubaugh admits to having been a little groupie of the band. She first saw the band perform at Papa Keno’s in Overland Park on a Friday night and it soon became a family tradition.
Audrey and the children of the other members constantly went to their dads’ shows and were featured in their songs. As she began to grow out of the Doo-Dads, she continued to be involved with music. She spent many First Fridays watching shows performed in her father’s shop and selling band merchandise with another Doo-Dad daughter.
Not only was the music she was listening to different than other kids her age, but the places she was going to were different as well. Often she would spend nights in small venues that she never realized that other people didn’t know about.
“Some of the places my dad plays my friends will be like, ‘Oh I’ve heard that’s sketch,’” Audrey said, “but it’s not that bad. I’ve been going there since I was five!”
Being in a musically driven household has changed the way Audrey has grown up. Realizing that she had been to way more concerts than her peers was strange for her. She had experienced a whole other world of music, where she had gotten the chance to go backstage and really talk to artists. With her father being good friends with the owner of the record bar she was able to go and met one of her favorite artists electronic musician Robert DeLong.
“Just last weekend I saw him perform at the midland so we went and met with him,” Audrey said, “I asked if he recognized my Instagram username and he was like ‘oh hell yeah.’”
It was such an amazing experience to not only met him and have him sign her Robert DeLong T-shirt but to have him recognize her as well. The two still direct message each other back and forth via Instagram. It’s moments like this that makes Audrey believe that through her father’s career she has been exposed more to the music world. From not only loving all genres, except country, but also having understanding on the process of putting together shows.
Audrey’s been surrounded by amplifiers and microphones since she was a baby and although she’s grown out of the Doo-Dads she’s still able to experience watching her father perform. On Saturday nights she can go down to the Jazz on 39th street and see the Midtown Quartet or have a night in listening to the Pedaljets on Spotify. No matter where she is she will always have access to the bond she has with her father, through music.
Playlist by Grace Apodaca.