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The North Wind

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Harry Stine
Harry Stine
Opinion Editor

In 2021, after one year of college and a semester of studying as a Public Relations major, I realized I wanted to be a journalist and not much else. After eagerly applying to be a Copy Editor, without...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Campus Cinema hosts Barbenheimer double feature
Campus Cinema hosts 'Barbenheimer' double feature
Abigail FaixDecember 3, 2023

Becoming Shipwreck Kelly

Photo by Rachel Haggerty CROWD PLEASER (left)—Shipwreck Kelly performs their song “Alone “Together” with bassist Wyatt Furois (left), drummer Billy Scott and front man Sam Miess. The trio debuted their first album at the Ore Dock Brewing Co. on March 15.

The crowd waits patiently,
murmurs echo on the top floor of the Ore Dock Brewing Co. The lead singer approaches the mic in jean cutoffs, a cardigan and a bucket hat, flaunting a string of pearls around his neck. People cheer as he announces Shipwreck Kelly’s EP release. Lights flash. The drummer finds a beat and the guitars start to sing. 

Shipwreck Kelly, a rock band, was formed in the Van Antwerp basement of NMU in 2017. The members consist of lead singer Sam Meiss, junior ecology major; drummer Billy Scott, junior finance and risk management major and bass guitarist Wyatt Furois, junior human-centered design major. The trio launched their first album on March 15 at the Ore Dock Brewing Co. Their single “Sex While High” will be available on streaming services Friday, March 19, accompanying their two demos “Life Sucks, Do Drugs” and “Blue Bic Lighter,” which are available now. 

The three band members were randomly placed in a suite dorm room freshman and sophomore year. Scott was looking for a roommate on the last day of selection when he came across Meiss. 

“I just saw that he played guitar and liked ‘The Office’ and that was enough for me,” Scott said.

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Brought together by their musical backgrounds, their chemistry was instant. There’s a visible connection between them that can be seen on and off the stage, through their
harmonies and collaborative senses of humor. 

The name Shipwreck Kelly comes from historical figure Alvin “Shipwreck” Kelly who achieved fame by sitting on poles and elevated perches for days at a time in the 1920s and ‘30s and is also believed to have survived many shipwrecks and various accidents in his life. 

After joking about how their sound resembles something of a 17th century symphony, the group agreed that the band has established their own, new genre. 

Lead singer, Miess, writes the lyrics and melodies for the band’s songs and then brings the members together to work through it and decide what tempo they want to play the music. 

From the Van Antwerp basement freshman year to their own house this year together, the group said they’ve gotten a lot tighter in their sound and are writing better music. 

“The first songs I was just writing for satire, like I’m just going to write the most obscenely sexual and drug induced songs I can because it’s funny. And then people really liked them so I was like, I can probably keep doing that,” Meiss said. 

Meiss finds a lot of inspiration when composing from what he’s
currently listening to at the time. One band that specifically inspires him is the Violent Femmes, an ‘80s
rock band. 

The band’s music has a certain allure for college-age students. When they play at people’s houses, coffee houses and on campus they draw a crowd. The members of the band
offer an intense energy to their viewers when performing. 

“I hope everyone feels something different that they didn’t know they needed to feel until they heard the music,” Scott said. 

Many of the lyrics are centered in young adult angst and intense emotions—some satire and some serious. 

Nearly a year and a half into working together and getting their sound down the group played its first show to an audience at popular DIY venue Mildred House in Marquette on
Feb. 2, 2019. 

“So in the grand scheme of freshman year, it did take a while. But we didn’t really start playing the same songs the same way together until a few months before that. Before that we were just playing in the basement,” Scott said. 

Ever since, they’ve been doing their best to book shows locally and outside of Marquette. Their next performance at the Way Up Festival in Marquette Lakeview Arena has been postponed due to current public health conditions. 

“We were playing almost once a month. It’s hard, we’ve been trying to get shows that aren’t in Marquette because you can only play so many times in a town of like 20,000 people before people are just sick of you,” Meiss said. “And we’re kind of getting to that critical point right now.” 

Information about future shows can be found on their Instagram
@shipwreckkellyband. CD copies of their new EP and other band
merchandise can be found on their social media. 

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About the Contributor
Maggie Duly, Social Media Editor
Hi! I'm Maggie Duly the Social Media Editor. This is my fourth year at NMU, I graduate in December with a degree in Social Media Design Management. My goal for the North Wind is to make our content more accessible to the community and gain readership.