The Greeting Committee has youth on its side
There’s a quiet confidence on It’s Not All That Bad, the October-released debut EP from the Greeting Committee. It shines in the tender, polished confessions that guitarist and lead singer Addie Sartino lays down on each track. It’s palpable in the energetic drum work of Austin Fraser. As it turns out, It’s Not All That Bad isn’t bad at all.
Perhaps that’s the point the Greeting Committee wanted to make. The foursome — Sartino, Fraser, bassist Pierce Turcotte and guitarist Brandon Yangmi — formed the band during the summer of 2014, weeks before they returned to Blue Valley High School. All except Turcotte still attend; in May, Sartino will graduate. But it doesn’t take age to have poise, and the Greeting Committee seems to have it in spades.
I chatted with Sartino about songwriting and the advantages of youth ahead of the band’s show Saturday at the Tank Room.
The Pitch: Blue Valley High is pretty big — how did the four of you find each other and decide to start a band?
Sartino: I was writing songs and putting out music by myself before we started the band, and it wasn’t until I started performing by myself that I realized I was lonely. I called Brandon and just asked him what he thought about being in a band with me, and he said yes, and he recruited Pierce and Austin — him and Austin have been friends since they were five years old or something, and they’ve always played music together. And all the boys were in marching band.
How do you deal with people who might doubt you because of your youth?
This has always been what I’ve wanted to do, 100 percent. When you’re a little kid, people ask you what you want to be. In first grade, I wanted to be a musician, but I had never picked up an instrument and I’d never tried singing. As I kept getting older, that answer never changed. You face a lot of people who say things like, “That’s nice, but what’s your backup plan?” Even my parents, they have moments where they would want me to get realistic. I would say, “Dad, it’s going to happen. I know that it’s going to happen.”
And here I am. We’re on a label. We released an EP. We’re going on tour. We’ve accomplished more than we thought we would, more than was ever going to happen. We’re young, but I don’t see that as a bad thing.
Being in a band is hard work, and keeping it together can prove difficult — even for people well out of high school. Pierce has graduated and attends college; you’re graduating in May. How do you anticipate the transition out of high school affecting the band?
It’s funny, because I’m online applying for a job right now, and last semester, Pierce had a full course load, taking classes at Johnson County Community College. I was super busy, too, with my workload last semester. But this semester is different — my workload is actually really light, and Pierce is taking classes online. I feel like we have plenty of time for the band right now, and we always manage to make time. It’s not any more challenging than just being in a sport.
That being said, it’s going to get more difficult as we branch out into shows. Even though the tour [over Valentine’s Day weekend] is just four shows, we’re all missing two days of class time, and we can’t make that up. But I think that also shows how important this is to all of us.