By DEREK BEAVEN – NEWS EDITOR
On Sat. Oct. 26, a band largely made up of Centre faculty and staff took the stage at Wayne and Jane’s Wine and Whiskey Bar at V the Market here in Danville. Dressed in various costumes and, in the case of guitarist and Stodghill Professor of Biology Mike Barton, “the wildest tie-dye shirt I could find,” Dump Truck on the Run played a variety of songs to entertain the crowd.
“We’re a dance band, so people are ready to dance and have a good time when they come to see us,” Barton said. “Dressing up in costumes only adds to the festive nature of the place, as it tends to make folks less inhibited [to dance].”
Most of the members of Dump Truck on the Run have been playing together since the fall of 2009, when Assistant Professor of Biology Brian Storz arrived on campus. Storz, who played in a few bands as a graduate student at Florida State University, organized a small get together for those interested in playing. After a few jam sessions, the band played their first show at the former Fourth Street Deli and Tap.
“The band members are diverse, all bringing their individual strengths together for a unique blend of music and fun. [Our] high energy performances attract people who like to dance, laugh, and generally have fun,” keyboardist and Centre Web Specialist John Rusnak said. “[Our] shows frequently involve costumes and such things as Mardi Gras beads, bubble machines, and other humorous stuff.”
Dump Truck on the Run draws their curious name partly from former band member National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Associate Professor of Music Nathan Link. When the band booked their first gig, Link suggested the name of “Dump Truck” due to happy memories of playing with toys as a child. Storz added the “on the run” for length, and the name stuck.
The band plays solely for fun and does not accept payment for their performances, though they have started to request a small fee to cover certain expenses.
“[We] decided early on against accepting payment for gigs since [we] didn’t want money issues to interfere with fun,” Rusnak said. “Over the past two years, [we] started requesting a small fee to hire a sound engineer for gigs. Sometimes the fee is used to repair the band’s sound equipment, but the band members do not get paid for performing.”
Though the lineup has changed due to the departures of Link and Associate Professor of Psychology Brian Cusato, the core of Storz and Barton has stayed the same since the band’s foundation. Storz plays bass, harmonica, and takes up a bit of the singing duties, while Barton plays rhythm and lead guitar. Assistant Women’s Soccer Coach Jessica Chisley plays saxophone as well as busting out some incredible vocals.
“[Chisley] actually started out as a biology major here at Centre… until she decided that music was her future and graduated as a music major. She has really gotten into coaching, but if you hear her sing, you could easily see her being diverted into a full-time music career,” Barton said.
The rest of the band is made up of Bonner Director of Community Service and the Bonner Program and Professor of Biology and Enivronmental Science Matthew Klooster, who plays bass and percussion. Storz recruited his neighbor Aaron “AJ” Jones to play rhythm and lead guitar, as well as Drew Meadows to take over drumming duties after the departure of Cusato. The band has played in several venues in the surrounding area including former establishment like 303 West and Club Carbon, and even Eddie Montgomery’s Steakhouse in Harrodsburg. Dump Truck on the Run played at V the Market the same weekend as Centre Family Weekend and, after a successful event, were asked back for the Halloween party.
“People had a fun time; they sold lots of drinks, so they asked us back for their Halloween party,” Barton said.
The band took the stage in costume and played songs from all sorts of genres and styles. The set list included such classics as “Hey Ya,” “California Gurls,” “Poker Face,” “Back in Black,” and “867-5309/Jenny.”
“My costume was inspired by the 70’s disco era,” Chisley said. “I actually got the idea from a video showcasing Soul Train dancers and tried to replicate it as closely as possible. Unfortunately, it’s a bit difficult to explain, but it hopefully made sense to those who saw it.”
People were so impressed with the band’s costumes that Rusnak was awarded the prize for the best costume, a 70’s disco version of the Mad Hatter, decorated with lights. The rest of the band continued the 70’s theme as Storz and Chisley covered themselves in glitter and wigs. Klooster donned drag for the event, while AJ dressed as a zombie and Meadows dressed as a punk.
Playing for a group of costumed people was a new experience, but one that proved to be beneficial.
“Honestly, it was a blast,” Chisley said. “Playing for people in their everyday street clothes can be fun, but I think there’s always a little apprehension that still exists. However, when the costumes were on, people were definitely a lot more relaxed and care free… I think we could have kept playing and no one would have cared, except maybe the Danville Police.”