The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

20-year-old music major finds camaraderie in rock band

Lance Meliota, 18, drummer (left), John Barry, 18, guitarist and singer, and Ben Tyrrell, 20, guitarist and singer from the band Alinea rehearses for their performance at Beachlife Festival. Photo credit: David Rondthaler

After rehearsing a song, John Barry, an 18-year-old guitarist and singer, checks off a song from a list.

Barry quickly turns around with a puzzled look and poses a question to his bandmates.

“How long did that song take?” Barry asks.

“Oh, I forgot to record the song,” Ben Tyrrell, 20-year-old guitarist and singer who was supposed to keep track of each song’s length says.

Tyrrell takes out his phone and opens up a recording app and then places it on a counter next to where they were playing.

“I think it was about three minutes and 10 seconds,” Lance Meliota, 18, drummer, says.

“Let’s just re-do it,” Barry says.

Shannon Ennis, 20, bassist, didn’t seem to care and neither did Meliota.

“Make sure you are recording this time,” Barry says.

Tyrrell is a music major at El Camino College and is also part of the band Alinea. He hopes to one day to make it as a musician.

At an early age, Tyrrell was exposed to music from his parents.

“On my way to my first day of kindergarten my dad played ‘Man on the Moon’ by R.E.M., I loved listening to it to even though I didn’t know what they were saying,” Tyrrell said.

As a child, Tyrrell said he remembers playing the piano, clarinet, and alto sax but didn’t keep playing the piano and the clarinet. Tyrrell kept playing the alto sax as he grew up.

During middle school, he started to really get into music and was listening to bands like Weezer, Blink 182, and Bayside.

John Barry, 18-year-old guitarist and singer for the band Alinea rehearses in preparation for the band's performance at Beachlife Festival. Photo credit: David Rondthaler

In high school “I took classes like jazz band and concert band but nothing about music and the history of it,” he said.

The last two years of high school Tyrrell went on to become a drum major. The drum major is someone who conducts the marching band.

“This was something that fell in my lap, I didn’t try to become drum major but I’m happy I got the opportunity,” Tyrrell said.

During the summer before his senior year, Tyrrell took guitar lessons and his teacher told him about a band that was looking for a bassist.

He jumped on the opportunity but he hesitated when he met the band members Barry and Meliota.

“I wasn’t too sure that I would fit in with the band,” Tyrrell said.

Barry remembers Tyrrell being shy and couldn’t even tell them that he sang.

“The first time we met him he was really quiet and timid. His mom told me he sang, which was weird but seemed like he was scared to overstep his boundaries,” Barry said.

Tyrrell was moved to guitar when their bassist came back from vacation, and also sang with Barry.

After getting accustomed to both Barry and Meliota, Tyrrell started to be more comfortable with the band.

“I really felt at home with this guys and knew that we had something special,” Tyrrell said.

Their first performance together was “crazy” said Tyrrell, he hadn’t felt anything like it.

Following the performance, the whole band “couldn’t stop talking about how much fun it was” Tyrrell said. “It was insane, fun, and felt like so many people were there watching.”

Shannon Ennis, 20-year-old, bassist, rehearses with her band Alinea. They are practicing for their set at Beachlife Festival, at Redondo Beach. Photo credit: David Rondthaler

Months after Tyrrell joined the band, Ennis, a childhood friend of Tyrrell’s, joined the band after their old bassist left.

“You realize how much you don’t know someone,” said Ennis about being in a band with Tyrrell, “He was very shy and different at school. Ben is very fun to play with and he is very creative in ways we can change things in songs.”

On top of meeting up with an old friend, there was no family or friends against him joining the band said Tyrrell. “If anything they were supportive and wanted me to do what I love,” he added.

With that though, it is very hard to balance school, friends, and family, and the band he said.

“It’s tough, especially with other music studies but when we get together to perform or practice, it’s my favorite part of the week,” Tyrrell said.

Tyrrell is not only in Alinea but he is also a part of the jazz concert band at EC and has had a great time being a part of it.

“It has given me the opportunity to play some new and interesting tunes as well as performing alongside other musicians. All of whom I have plenty to learn from,” Tyrrell said.

The band has really bonded together, with Ennis and Tyrrell knowing each other for years and Barry and Meliota have been friends since elementary school.

“It feels like we are a family with us knowing each other for a long time and how similar we are in personality,” said Barry.

Barry explains that the band is united by how much they love music and their want to play professionally.

“We play as a team, we don’t compete against one another. We are just competing with other bands, not with each other,” Barry said.

The band produced a song and released a song on December 18, 2018, it was titled “She Doesn’t Get It.”

Over the course of six months on Spotify, the song has about 240,000 plays/listens. Tyrrell thought the process would be different.

“I thought it would be this long process to get to that many people to listen to our song. I still wonder why people even listen to it,” Tyrrell said.

The band performed their newest song on the Torrance Parade Float in the Rose Day Parade.

Tyrrell said playing on the float was different compared to their other gigs.

“It was nice to perform in front of a lot of people, it was different to look out and see soo many people,” Tyrrell said.

Meliota was taken back when the parade first started but soon after was comfortable.

“It was shocking to see so many people watching you perform but after a while, you settle in and just play,” Meliota said.

Barry is confident the band can start producing it’s own music.

“I see us releasing our own music and much faster also even producing our stuff,” Barry said.

Tyrrell agrees with Barry that the band is destined for success.

“If we continue on our path, I know we will make it pretty big and I’m not worried about it,” Tyrrell said.

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