When Heyrocco arrived on the indie scene a few years ago, they used several slogans to promote themselves. They profess to be South Carolina’s “first rock ‘n roll band”, which might be the case to the state that has brought us Hootie & The Blowfish. Their debut LP, Teenage Movie Soundtrack (Old Flame Records), was described as “Disney Grunge”, as their songs focused on the plight and (mis)adventures of today’s youth told to a mix of ’90s alt-rock and post-punk. The album, though, was much more than a collection of events. It also offered a soundtrack for a new generation by highlighting the frustrations of today’s young people with the establishment. Call it the Ferris Bueller of albums.
A few months after released Teenage Movie Soundtrack, Heyrocco signed with Dine Alone Records. This past May, the band released a six-track EP, Waiting on Cool, which revealed that the trio of Nathan Merli (vocals/guitar), Christopher Cool (bass), and Tanner Cooper (drums) had grown up. Well, sort of. The band’s sound is crisper and cleaner, the instrumentation is sharper, but the melodies remain catchy and border on rambunctious. The songs, meanwhile, still reveal that the three twenty-somethings have plenty of “did-that-really-happen” stories to share.
To demonstrate all of this – the band’s maturation as musicians yet their youthful exuberance – have recorded live sessions of each of the six songs on Waiting on Cool, which we have the extreme privilege and honor to share over the next 6 to 8 weeks. Today, the first of the HeyRocco Live Sessions is “Yeah”, the opening song on Waiting on Cool.
The video was recorded in the “chill area” of the Royal American bar in Charleston. Despite the tight confines, the band’s sound is clean and could fill a medium-sized venue with ease. It is unusual to see the band restrained since their live shows are frenetic and high-energy. Then again, there is not a lot of space to work with, but you can see the band itching to let loose (and you just might too). This and subsequent videos reveal just how far along this band has come. They are no longer merely three young guys making infectious noise; they just might be South Carolina’s best rock ‘n roll band.
Regarding the song itself, Nathan shares the backstory to “Yeah”, which shows that the band is still learning new lessons (or repeating past mistakes depending on your perspective):
Here’s my story of writing “Yeah!” Two summers ago, after opening for Grouplove at the House of Blues in Myrtle Beach, someone handed me “a couple Vyvanse”. I took them right then and there not sweating a thing because I learned from the best that’s what you do in those situations. However, my only other experience with Vyvanse before this was sixth months prior on New Year’s Eve – which ended terribly. I woke up in shambles to an early morning “Do you remember throwing up on that kid’s guitar last night?” text. I felt ashamed. Still do, but it’s fine. I hope the kid moved on. Anyway, back to the song. So, here we are driving home to Charleston on a real high from this Grouplove show, and I remember being pissed I had to either go home to my parents’ house, which I never prefer doing, or going to this one girl’s house, whom I knew at the time but also wasn’t real crazy about. As I recall, the rents were out of town, strange as that is, I opted to go home. There, I couldn’t sleep or stop playing guitar on this Vyvanse. “Vyvanse. Vyvanse. Vyvanse.” It was all my mind could think about. I started making up a song about it. “Yeah”, I called it. I played it so fast, singing the verse over and over again. Finally, abandoning sleep altogether, I took what lyrics I had with me, got in my dad’s station wagon, and ended up going downtown to see the girl. Ergo the song, you see?
Heyrocco will commence a three-week tour beginning Tuesday, July 26th in Millvale, Pennsylvania. They will then make stops in select cities along the East Coast and the Midwest, including New York City, their hometown Charleston, New Orleans, and Nashville . Tour dates can be found on their website.
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