A local classic rock band of high-schoolers is racking up gigs around the Twin Cities and preparing to play into the foreseeable future, its members and coach said.
The group Volm, comprising three Prior Lake High School seniors and a Burnsville High School sophomore, performed in recent weeks at St. Paul’s Can Can Wonderland and Minnesota Music Cafe and is set to play at both again in May.
The group also just started writing their own material and getting some money for performances. Considering the group used to play just one gig a year, the band is definitely coming into its own, lead guitarist Dan Faragher said.
“It’s really a blast,” he said March 31, shortly before Volm performed at Can Can. He and other band members are more introverted in person, he added, so playing Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin gives “an opportunity to be really animated and have fun and make other people have a good time.”
The band took that opportunity on Can Can’s stage: Faragher shredded on guitar while his long straight hair, ideal for head-banging, whipped around his head. Singer and guitarist Nick DeSimone in the center pushed his voice to the limit for such classics as “Radar Love” and “White Room.”
Carter Blake, meanwhile, hammed it up on bass while keeping a cool, “Baby Driver” vibe complete with sunglasses. And Burnsville sophomore Aidan Suarez provided vocals and skilled solos and beats from behind the drums.
Grandparents tapped their toes and beaming parents recorded on cell phones as a larger audience cycled in and out of the facility’s dining area.
“If you didn’t know they were students, you’d think they were a pro band on tour,” said Mike Menard, a St. Paul music teacher and band coach who runs the Menard School of Music.
The four said they’ve been practicing together and friends for several years; the name is in honor of a Prior Lake teacher. But they wanted more independence than their previous coach provided.
Menard, a former professor at the now-closed McNally Smith College of Music, said he connected with Volm last year after his sister took a fortuitous trip to Vancouver and met Faragher’s mother there.
At their first rehearsal with Menard, he said, they played the famously difficult “YYZ” by Rush, a complex and high-tempo 1981 piece.
“And it was rough, but they did it,” Menard said. “They really like to push their limits.”
The four said they plan to keep writing new rock songs with an occasional modern or funk twist from Suarez — a lot of ideas are cooking, Faragher said. They also want to keep playing past graduation, though they might not all stay in the area.
“My goal is to keep performing for the rest of my life,” Suarez said.