by ALICIA PADILLA
Wasteland Hop is a six-piece______ (musical genre) band from Fort Collins, Colorado. They like to do _______ (plural noun) in dumpsters, got picked up by a________(noun) while hitchhiking in Alaska, and spend all of their ______(noun) together.
If you answered “Folk-Rock-Hip-Hop,” “photo-shoots,” “soap-opera star,” and “time,” you should either call Ripley’s or fess up that you’ve gotten the chance to see this energetic up-and-coming Fort Collins band.
Wasteland Hop identifies themselves, specifically, as a Fort Collins band. During their rehearsal, while sitting on an ottoman and holding his electric guitar between his knees, Nick Scheidies said they identify as such because of the unequaled strength, support and love of which the large artist community here provides. Brian Weikel (bassist) added that the local scene is becoming cared for and pumped up by some outstandingly committed philanthropists in the area.
Their debut album, Morph, was released last summer and the rave reviews began pouring in from Amazon Music to an outpouring of fan-appreciation on their Facebook page and comments on their beautifully produced YouTube videos. The videos include “Modern Day Moth,” a bold, heart-wrenching illustrated spoken word about losing loved ones to heroin addiction.
The artist whom rendered their vision for the video, Ben Fry, is considered to be their seventh member, as Fry has been an integral part of presenting their material in an exceptional visual intensity.
Notice that the “lead” singers haven’t been mentioned, yet? The entire band truly considers each member an equal, each of them constantly refer to the torrent of respect they have for one another. They are all spotlighted. Even newcomer violinist, Liz Gaylor, was immediately accepted as a frontrunner. A committed viola player since age eight, she discontinued playing for over a decade. Wasteland Hop awoke her passion, and her classical training animates her violin, which seemingly lives the emotion of each song.
When asked who writes lyrics, Mickey Kenny (lead vocalist whom moved from Alaska to Fort Collins where he pursued his MFA in poetry at CSU) relates that he and Steph Jay (life-long performer who plays acoustic guitar and lead vocals), write most of the content, but that Scheidies is also a phenomenal writer, eventually the entire band ends up interjecting and suggesting, and they are left with a true collaboration.
It’s easy to see how deeply this amazing group cares for each other. They fondly refer to each other as the nicest people ever, and after viewing all the smiles and laughter during their nighttime photo shoot in 42 degree weather, it’s certifiable.
“We all really enjoy hanging out with one another. We’re always so willing to listen to each other, we immediately confront our problems and tackle them,” said drummer, Adam Fallik, softly relayed from behind his drum set as he adjusted his glasses. “Sometimes the world can feel overwhelming with decay, death and emptiness– like a wasteland, but there we are, sock-hopping in the midst of it!”
Their powerful messages of equality, peace, unity, environmental protection, and feminism, speak to the true maturity and empathy that each member exhibits.
Community funding for their album has given them so much opportunity in attaining their goals. The entire group is unabashedly grateful and agrees that they are some of the luckiest people in the world. They seem to have so much love to spread; their fan-base is thriving from the Rockies all the way to Alaska, where they are heading in February for the second time. Their previous tour of America’s northernmost state gave way to weeks of beauty, exploration and excitement. They rafted the Chitina River for five days, reveling in their chemistry. When their van broke down, hours north of their destination in southern coastal Valdez, they were rescued by a vacationing soap-opera star in a Winnebago and delivered, on time, to their gig, where they bestowed her with gifts of teeshirts and CD’s.
Wasteland Hop is undeniably ablaze with fresh, neoteric talent, and hearts that are as expansive as the mountains that cradle the town that they love.
Experience the brilliance of Wasteland Hop upon their return from Alaska, at Hodi’s Half Note in Old Town Fort Collins on Feb. 22. They will be playing with the Deadwood Saints and James and the Devil.