Three Augustana professors are set to perform a 1980s tribute concert at the Bailey on Nov. 18.
Three Augustana professors are taking the stage at the Bailey to perform a tribute to the 1980s.
Alex Carpenter, Lars Hallstrom, and Jeremy Sylvestre, who together form the Men Who Fell to Earth, will be performing a show that draws on the soundtracks of the likes of Pretty in Pink and the Breakfast Club on Nov. 18 at 8 p.m.
Associate professor of music and lead singer of the band Alex Carpenter said films like are great because the soundtracks are “deeply imprinted in that time and you hear a song that’s associated with that movie and it’s 1985 again.”
“The 80s gig emerged out of the series of shows that we have done at the Bailey,” said Carpenter. A screening of John Hughes’ 1986 film Pretty in Pink will follow the performance.
The Bailey Theatre has a great stage and sound for musicians, according to Carpenter. “You feel close to the music and there is always good energy going back and forth between the audience and the stage.”
Carpenter, Hallstrom, and Sylvestre started working together through Faculty Follies. They discovered that they had all been in bands and had experience playing music. “We became the little core or the nucleus of Faculty Follies that got together every couple of years. We eventually thought about what it would be like if we actually played together,” said Carpenter.
The band’s name was inspired by David Bowie’s 1976 fantasy-drama film. “We needed a name for the band and at that point it was just for the night, but we were told that it stuck,” said Carpenter.
Carpenter describes their music as reflective, because each of the members has their own taste and suggests different songs. “More recently, we’ve sort of been doing these tribute things. But, before that it was a lot of what did you like, what we used to play in our old bands, and what hot new songs the kids will recognize.”
Carpenter said their ability to learn the music and play has come together quickly. “Fundamentally, we just communicate very well as musicians, which means the songs can be not fully learned.”
Sylvestre, an associate professor of mathematics and drummer, said that the band is “rock steady.” He also said that he enjoys working with Hallstrom and Carpenter. “They are both very easy to play with. The whole process is a joy but the songs come together for the most part very easy and quickly.”
Hallstrom, professor of political science and bassist, also commented on their group dynamic. “I’ve played in bands where it was hard work, but playing with these guys is not really work at all. None of us are doing it for the money or the fame, it is really just for the enjoyment,” said Hallstrom.
Hallstrom grew up listening to country, jazz and Elvis. “I discovered U2, Queen, and Adam Ant while living in England in the late 1970s and early 80s, and the Beatles. The second tape I ever owned was a bootlegged Beatles album.”
Hallstrom taught himself guitar when he was around 15 years old. “In high school, I started playing covers and trying to write songs with a friend, which led to a band, some shows, and a demo tape,” said Hallstrom.
Sylvestre started playing in bands when he was 15 years old. “I started with a reggae band that my brother-in-law put together, it was kind of like a party band. Some times we had 10-15 members so that was a lot of fun and after that it was just like friends from high school,” said Sylvestre.
Sylvestre’s favourite band is the jayhawks. “I don’t really try to copy anyone’s particular style. I like to try to
play whatever that song requires rather than put my own stamp. I’m not the drum magazine reading type, so I don’t really have any drum heroes.”
Carpenter began playing in bands when he was 15 years old. “I studied saxophone and piano when I was much younger. I played in jazz and concert bands, and sang in choirs,” said Carpenter. “Right now we are actually playing some of the songs that I played in bands when I was a young teenager. It’s kind of weird to revisit them, you know, 25 to 30 years later,” said Carpenter.
Carpenter grew up listening to Led Zeppelin. “I think aspirationally, something like Zeppelin, all of the music I like is music from the early 80s. It’s a funny mixture of classic rock and the sound of 80s music where the idea is to use the unique sounds instead of 20 minute solos,” said Carpenter.
The show is on Friday, Nov. 18 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students at the Bailey Box Office or online at tickets.baileytheatre.com.