Leaving on a high note: Boone bands on graduation

Jaclyn Bartlett, Reporter

As May nears, students prepare to leave college life behind. These Boone bands, however, plan to pursue their musical passions after leaving the university.

Senior digital marketing major Brendan Grove plays guitar for the psychedelic rock band RUGG. Grove and another RUGG guitar player, Brandon Mangano, met in high school and formed the band after they moved to Boone. Drummer Carolyn Brecht joined later. Grove is the only App State student in the band.

Grove began playing guitar when he was eight and said he’s had a passion for music since. 

“Being able to take my own music or, like, take someone else’s music and perform that and use a language that I feel like everyone kind of understands is just insanely rewarding, and I just love that,” Grove said. 

After Grove graduates in May, RUGG is going on a five-day tour, in North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee. They also plan on moving to Asheville in July in search of opportunities for their band and job opportunities outside the band. 

“I want it to be about the music, not just about the money,” Grove said.

Grove is pursuing a career in marketing in the music industry. He said being in RUGG helped him gain experience and find enjoyment in social media management, and he hopes the experience will allow him to do similar creative marketing ventures.

As for their band, they are working on new music, and Grove said they hope to continue playing together for as long as they can. 

“We’ve got a lot of music in the bank, and we’re working on an album now, so we’re pretty excited about it, and hopefully, we can start kind of linking up with other groups that are kind of like-minded with us and start going on runs and make as much as we can out of it,” Grove said. 

Carter Hodl, a senior advertising major, plays bass for the ‘jam band’ Jacoozy. They started playing together last spring. 

“I mean, we kind of centralize around the jam idea,” Hodl said. “That’s what we really like to do is just kind of have a lot of long-form songs that run into each other. We like leaving a lot of space for ourselves to just execute our creative ideas the way that we want to.”

Hodl started playing bass in October 2020, but music has been a part of his life from an early age. He started piano lessons around age seven. In fourth grade, he began playing percussion and eventually joined his high school jazz band. He started playing guitar his sophomore year of high school and has stuck with it ever since. 

Hodl said as of right now, Jacoozy plans on playing together for as long as possible. If any opportunities arise, they will put a hold on job offers, but Hodl’s main focus is looking for jobs after college. 

“I really do want to focus on music, but I also know that I need a contingency plan if that fails. I know how hard it is to get into that scene,” Hodl said. “Music is always going to be in my life. It’s always going to be a part of what I do. No matter where I end up after school, I’m definitely gonna keep it around.”

If they do not continue with the band, Hodl said he may keep pursuing his passion for music through a career in advertising. 

Hodl said he wants to eventually work in creative directing. He plans to get into music advertising, designing promotional materials like concert posters and album covers.

Naomi Poesel, the lead guitarist for Babe Haven, an all-girl queer punk band, graduated from App State last spring with a major in exercise science and a minor in sociology. She works as a behavioral technician helping kids with autism while playing in the band. 

The band formed last summer for the annual Boone in Blossom festival. Even though the event was canceled due to COVID-19, they continued playing together after Poesel’s graduation.

Poesel said their songs focus on issues important to them, including topics like their experience as an all-female band in a male-dominated industry. They also have songs about the issues with how girls are raised in society and mental health. 

Poesel and another guitar player in the band, Ashley Yuan, are Asian American. They are writing a song about the experience of being Asian American growing up in the U.S. 

“Especially since we’re, you know, just completely underrepresented, especially being Asian, I really like to put my face out there and inspire people to do the same and just not be afraid to speak about issues,” Poesel said. 

They plan on staying in Boone for another year to establish themselves with the connections they have here. 

“That’s one thing too that’s really cool being in the university still, like, we get to collab with students who are trying to do stuff,” Poesel said. “We’re collabing with somebody trying to do T-shirts for us. We’re collabing with people who do, like, posters, so we’re trying to network.”

After that, Babe Haven plans to move to Asheville in search of new opportunities for the band.