Who’s on my bus? Anyone that has had the chance to hear this band has jumped on the patty-wagon before you can even ask the question. Back of the Bus is the name and bringing real music back to the industry is their game. With a distinct fusion of raw hip-hop from the legendary 90s era, mixed with the live and spontaneous sounds of traditional gospel, Back of the Bus has definitely defined themselves way outside the box of the mainstream hip-hop of today. How do they do it? By doing what they love, creating sounds and making music from the heart. The band itself started here at West Chester University playing for the gospel choir on campus, but the musicians themselves have been mastering their craft for years. The main band members include Jeremy ‘Wheat-Bread’ Boyd on drums, Dave Frasier and Jason Boyd on the keyboards, Zack Wallace on guitar and Andrew ‘Deuce’ Blasfingame as the main MC that brings a wicked flow and conscious lyrics riding perfectly over the band.
Watching this band perform live, one would think they were at a Roots concert. What makes Back of the Bus different from the rest is that all of their concepts are drawn from biblical facts and the Christian faith. They talk about spirituality, but they are not your typical “gospel” band. With catchy hooks and in-depth beats, these guys can get a person of any faith to bop his or her head to their music. Deuce brings that raw 90s hip-hop flow fused with conscious lyrics that are bound to make your face ball up and your stomach turn, but in a good way. For example, in a song called “Hot Like That,” Deuce says, “People are asking wondering if they doing right/ I just tell them what I’m doing is Christ/ Bible cookbook brewing the light/ serve it up to the people eat the newness of life.” He talks about Jesus Christ, but at the same time twists it up with metaphors that fit perfectly with the concept.
After establishing themselves as a known band, Back of the Bus started their own label, Studio 614. The name Studio 614 was inspired by WCU’s residental hall Tyson Hall, room 614, where Dave, Deuce and Jeremy not only lived, but spent most of their time. They started out with just a beat machine, Yamaha keyboard, lap top, microphone and a couple of computer speakers as a way to make some actual beats for their songs, beyond live instruments. Now they have their own studio with actual equipment: a MPC AKAI 2500, Roland VS 1880, iMAC computer equipped with pro-tools, Motif EX 6 keyboard, two full sets of drums, guitar, mixer, studio speakers and a microphone. Any “music-head” knows that this is a great way to make some good sounds.
It’s no doubt this is one band on the rise. With upcoming shows scheduled already for next year, they are definitely on their job. As for the label, it is on the up and coming.
They will soon be looking for a fellow artist to add to the label that doesn’t have to be “gospel,” but at least someone that has that true passion for music. These gentlemen are what you call real musicians, real artists, real people and exactly what the games have been missing. So tell me, are you on the bus?
Selina Carrera is a fourth-year student majoring in communications with minors in music and journalism. She can be reached at SC637309@wcupa.edu