Bringing the garage band back

Rose on the Avenue unites students through rock’n’roll


Alyssa Martin

Rose on the Avenue performs “Flight to L.A.” at Three Feather Records.

The lead singer checks the setlist down at his feet. He looks back up, turns away from the crowd below him, and faces the three other performers. After nods of recognition, the singer turns back to the mic, the second guitarist finishes his sip of water, and the drummer taps his drumsticks together to mark the tempo of the new song.

Rose on the Avenue is a young rock band of high school seniors, Jake Murrel (singer/first guitarist), Wyatt Ford (drummer), DJ Webb (second guitarist), and Todd Davis (bassist), and every new gig is a significant opportunity to show off their hard work from jam sessions and practices.

On Saturday, March 19, Three Feather Records hosted Rose on the Avenue from 7 pm to 9 pm with free admission. This was the band’s fourth performance and first performance held at a legitimate venue, the previous three held at neighborhood clubhouses or friends’ houses. One of the owners of the store, Mitch Deprato, remembered the day Murrel first walked into the store.

“He just kind of came in one day, bought a couple [of] records and he was like, ‘bands play here, right?’ and we’re like, ‘yeah,’ and he’s like, ‘would it be cool if mine played?’” Deprato said. “And we got Rose on the Avenue on our schedule. I’m excited for that. They’re a punk band, I’ve heard.”

A band that defines their genre as simply “rock’n’roll,” Rose on the Avenue doesn’t have any officially released music, instead, they thrive off live concerts. By focusing on performances, the band sparked a new scene of teenagers of all different friend groups and backgrounds coming together to have a good time.

“I think Rose on the Avenue has definitely impacted Kings. When the guys are doing a show, everyone knows about it through their social media and it brings us all together outside of just school,” senior Brayden Perazzo said.

According to close friends and fans, or “groupies,” as they call themselves jokingly, seniors Tabby Lawson and Chloe Sheldon noticed that Rose on the Avenue changed the energy of the bandmates too.

“It’s kind of pulled them out of this clique-y bubble that the senior class has had for years. And all of them are a lot more confident now, I’ve seen them talk to a lot more people,” Sheldon said. “I never talked to most of them until they were in the band.”

The sound the band evokes has a ‘90s rock feel, but also has twists of the ‘60s with cover performances of The Beatles’ “Day Tripper” and “Twist and Shout.” Their last performance in October represented music from those Beatles hits to ‘80s classics like “Sweet Dreams” by Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart, as well as originals.

“The Beatles, for sure, are a heavy [influence.] Green Day is a really good one, Blink-182 is a good one,” Webb said. “I’ve told Jake this multiple times, [Rose on the Avenue is] like if Johnny Thunders and Kings of Leon were to have a baby.”

For this March concert, more originals filled up spots on the setlist, including recurring hits like “Flight to L.A.” and the self-titled “Rose on the Avenue.”

“It starts off with Jake’s song, ‘Flight to L.A.,’ and then we go to ‘Holiday’ by Green Day,” Webb said. “And then we move to ‘Chinese Rocks’ by Johnny Thunder, and then another original called ‘Devil Said.’”

Rose on the Avenue seems to represent a dying breed, being one of the only known garage bands in the school. Since the boom of alternative rock and pop-punk bands in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, the traditional trend of band growth is far and few between as the internet makes it easier for any group to be digital stars rather than tangible self-starters. For local teens and young adults, Rose on the Avenue brings underground concerts back to life.

“In more ways than people care to notice, there’s no high school ‘garage’ bands anymore, having concerts that anyone can come and enjoy isn’t something you see nowadays,” band manager Michael Sarchet said.

Their Halloween show on Oct. 30 had one of the biggest turnouts, the crowd full of costumed teenagers. Webb, who’s typically nervous for every performance, found this show overwhelming. The scene of multiple eyes staring up at him, chatter, laughter, and phones up to take pictures was “intense.”

“Thankfully, we had this spotlight aimed at us, and it was supposed to just [be there] so they could see us—we couldn’t see anything out in the crowd,” Webb said. “So that kind of helped with the nervousness because you couldn’t see people’s faces. But once you’re up there, you start playing, it’s just second nature.”

The concerts are open to any and everyone, the open inclusivity being one of Sheldon’s favorite parts of Rose on the Avenue nights. The experience thrives on the energy of the crowd. Sarchet described thei shows as, “the most fun place on earth if you let yourself have fun.“

“I actually did manage to take the zombie head that was on the stage for the Halloween show. And it has all these [student] signatures on it and nail polish,” Lawson said.

In the future, Rose on the Avenue plans to release their original songs. “Infamy” will be the first single out in the upcoming months, which already started production with Jake’s friend and coworker, Nova Martin. They set up recording with multiple microphones around the drums and amps.

“Actually, the way Nova wanted to do it was record it and then layer everything. But we changed our minds; if we’re gonna do it, we’re gonna live record,” Webb said. “So instead of layering everything we’re just gonna play and then live record it because we sound better when we’re playing together all at once.”

As Webb mentioned, the traditional way to record music is to record each instrument individually and then add each recording together through music software. By recording together, the band will sound spontaneous; as if they played another concert.

In the meantime, fans can expect more shows like the small set at Three Feather Records. While watching the small crowd dancing along to an on-the-spot cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana or calmly nodding their heads to an improvised jam section, senior Noah Bowman saw a bright future for Rose on the Avenue.

“It’s amazing to see talent right in our backyard. Those boys are gonna go far, I can feel it.” Bowman said.