years active: 2017 – present
Rockford began the summer of 2016 when Adam, Drew and Will decided they wanted to start a band despite the fact Drew could not play an instrument. So he began to learn how to play the bass. They started rehearsing in a tiny room in Adam’s basement and found a classmate to play the drums. Unfortunately, their classmate had a conflicting schedule and could no longer come to practices. Then in January, Drew found out that Ryan played the drums and invited him to come play. It turned out Ryan had not played the drums since fifth grade. When he was little, his church offered different activities for kids like cooking and drum lessons. Ryan preferred the cooking lessons. “I said I would come over and help you tune the drum kit even though I had no idea how to tune it,” said Ryan. But like Drew, he learned to play the drums, and the band had come together. They began learning original songs written by Drew and Will and now have eight finished songs that they perform at gigs. They don’t use sheet music and most of their songs just come from messing around with chord progressions at practice. Drew starts out with a bass line, then Ryan joins in on the drums. Will adds a few guitar riffs, and finally Adam joins in on lead guitar. The guys are self taught, for the most part. Will, the lead vocalist practices singing by turning down the volume of a song playing in his car to see if he is really on key. Drew watched YouTube videos and messed around with different chords until he learned the basics of bass. Ryan bought a drum kit to practice at home and “his bank account has been suffering ever since.” “If I had decided to take bass lessons early on, even with the band I would have quit,” Drew said. “Being told what to do kind of frustrates me.” Over the summer, they played at a private event called Barnaroo, an annual party hosted by the Sherrick family. Rockford opened for another local band and they didn’t play well. Since then, they learned more songs and realized the importance of stage presence. They recently competed in Black Sheep’s Battle of the Bands and won the popular vote. The prize they won for the popular vote was a spot in the Christmas show on Dec. 22. Even though it was a competition, the atmosphere among the bands was not one that was super competitive but one of camaraderie. “It is a very positive environment,” Drew said. “It’s like how girls are when they compliment each other. We were all like, ‘Bro, that set was so good, where’d you learn to play like that?’” Black Sheep reached out to Rockford to play a show in late November and another on Jan. 20. The band is just getting started with a growing fan base and a unique sound that is changing as they figure out who they are together. “Just hearing the applause after playing something that is completely yours, completely original, that’s when we first realized, ‘Maybe this whole band thing wasn’t a waste of time,’” Will said.