Bringing the Short Bus to Marquette

jackie.stark

With hundreds of undiscovered bands around the country waiting to be brought to the forefront of the American music scene, up-and-coming bands try plenty of things to stand above the crowd. Some look for a unique sound that’s also appealing, some put on an energetic live show and some give themselves a name that’s hard to forget.

The UpFront will play host to one band that employs all three of these techniques: The Mighty Short Bus (MSB).

“We’ve been around for a long time,” said Frank Busch, front man for the five-piece band. “The name . could not get shed. We tried, but people kept calling us that. We even for a short stint were known as ‘The Mighty Sherpa,’ but nobody knows what a Sherpa is.”

It all started as the band was on its way to play a gig during college. They didn’t have a name yet, and were trying to come up with one on the way there.

“On the way to the show, I saw a short bus,” Busch said. “I said (we’re) ‘The Mighty Short Bus’ on the mic, much to my bandmates’ dismay, and it stuck, so we embraced it. Nobody really ever forgets the name.”

MSB has been playing with its current five members for the last six years, with Ben Stitgen on drums, Rob Junceau on bass, Josh Smith on keys, as well as vocals and harmonica and Nic Adamany on guitar and vocals.

With a sound that’s a little Midwest rock ‘n’ roll, and sometimes has a southern rock feel, Busch said the band is influenced by all sorts of different musical styles.

“There are certain bands we still cover,” he said. “The Black Crows, Tom Petty, we’re a big fan of R&B, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gay. All across the board.”

Though the band does play some covers, they aren’t explicitly a cover band. MSB also has two of their own original albums out on the shelves, “When the Time Comes” (2005) and “Rogue Nation” (2006) and are currently working on recording a third.

“This one, it’s been two years in the making,” Busch said. “We’re going to do a double album to cover all the material we’ve written . We want to showcase everything we’ve got.”

Busch said all the band members have a say on each original song they write.

“There’s no formula, whatever comes out comes out, you just let the song write itself,” Busch said. “There are several different writers in the band. I write lyrics for a lot of them, but not all. We collaborate as a group.

“We always respect the lyrics,” he added. “It has to have a point and flow with the song, even tell some storytelling kind of tunes.”

As far as coming up with lyrics to fit with their musical style, Busch said it’s no great mystery.

“I’d like to say they’re about politics and world affairs, (but) most of the time it just comes out about girls,” he said. “Simple things in life, just the things you run into everyday.”

MSB will perform at the UpFront on Jan. 30-31 at 10 p.m.