The Set List
By Brian Washburn
Little Rock pop-punk band School Boy Humor might not have the glitz, the glamour or the fame of the teeny-bop likes of Miley Cyrus or the Jonas Brothers. And while the Arkansas four-piece plays heavier power pop than the previous mentioned teen moguls, that doesn’t mean the band can’t get airplay on Radio Disney. But this is not what you would normally think of when you think Radio Disney. Though Radio Disney is infiltrated with the (disastrous) pop princes the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus, it also gives listeners a dose of pop-punk favorites We the Kings, Boys Like Girls and the Natural State’s very own School Boy Humor.
The band — vocalist/guitarist Anthony Evans, guitarist/vocalist Phil Evans, bassist Caleb Spillyards and drummer Greg Scherer — trekked out of the Arkansas music scene about two years ago when they decided to start taking the project seriously full-time. This proved a good move for the group, as constant touring and catchy hooks led to their signing to megapower independent record label Vagrant, which houses the likes of Thrice and Dashboard Confessional.
“We had a couple other offers from Drive-Thru and Tooth and Nail and a few majors that weren’t wanting to move as fast, but being a young band the holy grail is getting signed so we went with the best options on the table and that was Vagrant,” Spillyard said.
School Boy Humor released their self-titled Vagrant debut late last month. While first week sales were not up to par by the record industry’s standards (less than a thousand), Spillyard says they are happy to have a fan base that did buy the album in the first week.
“It’s cool we had a lot of people that were already waiting on it.
It’s one thing to sell records and it’s another to have a concentrated group of people waiting for the record and be the first to get it,” he said. “A lot of stores were having problems with inventory because it was our first release you never know how many to shelve because you don’t want to have a lot of them just chillin’ on the shelves, so there weren’t enough CDs in the stores and a lot of people said they couldn’t get it because it was sold out. That has changed because there’s been a demand, so we’re pretty happy with that and hope it keeps happening.”
But while the band’s debut continues to sell and their single (the ultra-catchy “Don’t Look Back”) is being played on Radio Disney, the band will hit the road for much of 2009, including an upcoming tour with Rookie of the Year and Jet Lag Gemini.
However, School Boy Humor is looking to set themselves apart from the typical, pop-punk scene predecessors. But they are not doing it through mixing of genres or by adding a unique element to their sound. No, they are doing it through their catchy, ultra-melodic rhythms and sing-along lyrics.
“There are so many bands doing the same type of thing that it is hard to differentiate as a whole,” Spillyard said. “We’re not completely different, but we focus on the melodies and choruses and have our songs really sing a long and easy to remember. Our job is done if kids go away humming our tune whether they like it or not it’s stuck in your head. That’s our deal.”
This deal School Boy Humor has cooked up just might be the thing to propel them to the national spotlight. Only time will tell if this four-piece group from Northwest Arkansas’ backyard will set themselves apart from the rest of the pack.