After their first meeting as two awkward kids in freshman P.E., the duo decided to form their still-standing band, Kept Mess. Joe Newman and Brian Rodgers have been rapidly progressing as musicians ever since their days in black shorts and white shirts. With the addition of bassist Connor Creighton in their junior year, they created an ideal mix for their unique, free form sound.
“We’ve been playing for so long now that we can just look and listen to each other and completely change a song,” Rodgers said. “The way we play songs live is basically different every time.”
After they graduate from East, the three now plan to continue making music together as students at the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, Oklahoma. Creighton is awaiting word from the school about his admission, but Newman and Rodgers have been accepted.
The school is currently in its first year as one level of a building in urban Oklahoma City, but it will expand each year. As students, they will take classes for their core instrument, as well as for supplemental courses like voice and production. They will also be paired up with other students and asked to perform for professors. According to Creighton, the quality of their music as a group can only improve at the school.
“Our influences are just going to build up when we’re down there, and we’ll just get more inspiration,” Creighton said.
Since the school is in such an urban environment, they will have ample opportunities to perform in the surrounding area. Rodgers said that the ACM puts an emphasis on “breaking out” and gaining as much musical experience as possible.
“The school and the town have a partnership where bars will contact the school for bands to gig,” Rodgers said. “But if we have to do the networking ourselves that’s fine too.”
Even though they plan on dropping the name Kept Mess, the three will continue to rock out as college students in hopes of making music into their careers. Newman said that none of them could imagine their lives any other way.
“Throughout my high school career I was dreading thinking about college and what I’m going to do with my life after high school,” Newman said. “When I found out about this school is basically when I decided ‘I can’t see myself doing math or English for the rest of my life.’ ”