Many popular bands start out as college friends, playing shows around campus and for talent shows. The members of MGMT met at Wesleyan Univeristy, and Coldplay formed at University College London. Elon soon may be touting its own famous performers, The Tipsy Bacchanals, as the musical men prepare to take on life, and the music industry, after college.
Seniors Patrick Sanderson (bass), Jeremy Walter (drums), Kevin Manship (vocals) and Andrew Pressley (guitar) all have a deep love and appreciation of music. Walter and Manship picked up their first instruments in elementary school, while Pressley and Sanderson discovered their passion for their instruments in their teens. All put a strong emphasis on their technical ability combined with the simple love of music.
“When you put together four guys who just flat out know their instruments, love what they do and work well together both onstage and off, something good will happen,” Pressley said.
The Tipsy Bacchanals have been a part of the Elon culture for a little more than a year. Manship gathered Sanderson and two others to perform cover songs for the Elon theater production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
The Bard himself inspired the name of the band.
“‘Tipsy Bacchanals’ is Shakespearean for ‘drunk, naked girls who rape and pillage,'” Manship said.
After the show, the Bacchanals gained permanent drummer Walter and decided to ramp up their intensity up by playing in a battle of the bands competition. While they didn’t win the battle, they won guitarist Pressley after seeing him perform in another band.
At a recent concert at the Lighthouse Tavern, Pressley provided a great Jimmy Hendrix impression, wailing on screeching solos. Manship sang as soulfully Zack de la Rocha of Rage Against the Machine and as raspily as Brian Johnson of AC/DC.
The Bacchanals are rising to prominence in the Elon community and now tour the surrounding area. They play some of their own songs, as well as covers of artists ranging from Jimi Hendrix to Gnarls Barkley.
“About eight out of 10 songs are covers,” Manship said. “We play some of our original songs, but not that many people know our songs, so we don’t want them to get bored.”
The Bacchanals play an average of 3-4 shows per month and have even visited James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va. They are planning to play in a Relay For Life event at Virginia Tech next semester.
As seniors, the Bacchanals have to balance schoolwork and their passion for music.
“Right now, schoolwork is the main priority in our lives,” Walter said. “It comes down to school versus rocking, because we all love to play and nobody likes doing homework.”
After graduation, the members of the Tipsy Bacchanals plan on pursuing music full-time.
They are currently scoping out cities to call “home base.” Portland, Ore., Austin, Texas, and West Chester, Pa., are all on the table for the band.