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The Graduate Tickets

The Graduate Tickets
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Formed in the demise of two popular Central-Illinois bands, The Graduate is a collaboration between long time friends Tim Moore, Corey Warning, Matt Kennedy, Max Sauer, and Jared Wuestenberg. After several years of heavy touring in their previous efforts, the band has been able to stir quite a buzz, and has amassed a formidable following that feels more like a family than a fan-base. This quintet has developed their own formula, inspired by such bands as U2, Third Eye Blind, Mute Math, Coldplay, and Death Cab for Cutie. In these troubled economic times it’s hard not to notice the subtle irony in the tale of a young band called the Graduate, who are unemployed, without a record label, and looking for work. But the indie-pop-rock quintet, based here in Springfield, isn’t standing in a line waiting for a bailout. These guys are busy working on new songs, shopping for a record label, and making plans for the future... The group came together in 2005 when two central Illinois bands, Best of Winter and J.A.C.K., dissolved into one and became the Graduate. (They) have been close friends as well as band mates from the beginning of the adventure. That’s a good thing since they spend an immense amount of time doing most everything as a unit, including riding thousands of miles in a van, rehearsing for hours on end in a practice studio, and being truly connected professionally, socially, and artistically. Immediately after getting together the guys started doing the time-honored, several-bands-on-a-bill, couch-surfing method of the traveling indie-emo-pop-punk bands, making fans and friends along the way while constantly working at crafting memorable songs and developing a killer live show. The hard work and persistent touring paid dividends for the Graduate quite quickly as compared to the usual slow steps required in climbing the music industry ladder. In April of 2006 they independently released an EP called Horror Show, and stepped up the touring. Soon they signed with Icon MES a small, but aggressive record label, that gave the extra push needed to help the Graduate to rise to the next level. By late 2006 the band saw their picture on the cover of the prestigious college music magazine, CMJ New Music Report, as the most added band on college radio in early December. The label then financed a studio effort with producer/engineer Brian McTernan that produced a full-length, radio-ready album, Anhedonia. After an April 2007 release the record received a fair amount of college radio airplay and the band become the buzz of the business. That summer they played the Warped Tour, Lollapalooza, and a major concert in Europe, then logged many miles across the USA, playing all kinds of venues in support of the record and seeing the accumulating sales results. 2008 seemed to be heading the same direction, with constant touring throughout the summer and label plans to release a deluxe edition of Anhedonia, including vinyl copies, set for early fall. Then rather suddenly on October 31, Icon MES folded and the Graduate was without a record label. The band members, all relatively young in their mid-twenties, took the loss in stride, holing up in the group’s practice spot on Springfield’s north side to write and develop another album’s worth of material and take a break from the hectic touring schedule. They take this business seriously while still having lots of fun with it. At the rehearsal house the practical tools of modern musicians---I-phones, Macbooks, and digital recording hardware---rest right along side acoustic instruments, wire cables, and music industry magazines. The band camaraderie is tight and after four years of successful togetherness the group exudes a confidence in the future and in the ability of the band to keep going and make a mark in the music business. ...If all goes well, and it seems to for this combo, they will be back in the studio by summer, on the road by fall, and supporting a new record by winter, putting the Graduate back on a path for career success. -Story by Tom Irwin of the Illinois Times-