By Erin Crowell
Most rock music in Northern Michigan is heard in the soupy dark of local
bars, locked away like a misfit teenager. Its beer and smoke and
everything we shouldnt do. And we love it.
Local rock bands face the same plight as most of us nowadays. And, at the
end of a hard day, its all about letting loose.
The group 12 Year Reunion, hasnt even celebrated its first anniversary,
but they have already gained momentum working the local music scene
performing back-to-back weekends this past summer at venues across
Northern Michigan, from Frankfort and Traverse City, to Northport and
12 Year Reunion consists of Jesse Bishop with lead vocals, Charlie
Aldridge on drums, Brandon Deike on bass and Ben Taber with lead guitar.
The group comes from all corners of Norhern Michigan -- Aldridge and Deike
are originally from Fife Lake, while Bishop hails from Traverse City and
Taber is a native of Suttons Bay.
Like many bands, they pay the bills by performing cover songs, ballads and
anthems we remember from our high school days and beyond. They play, and
we pull out our lighters (or cell phones) and sway to the stuff that makes
us feel alive.
But, like some of the few bands, they have a little more to offer when the
crowd grows tired of Sweet Home Alabama. For example, the bands version
of Brown Eyed Girl: a punk version and faster tempo that is still poppy,
yet surprisingly rockin.
Lead vocalist Jesse Bishop can carry a tune, but sounds like hes just
crawled out of a whiskey bottle.
You know the kind: deep and rough around the edges.
A lot of cover songs sound weird when you switch identifiable elements,
such as the main vocals. Who thought Scott Strapp of Creed singing
Michael Jacksons Beat It could sound good? Or right?
Bishop can do it, along with the help of his band. But the band is also
working on their own original tunes.
We usually play four or five originals a night, says bassist Brandon
Deike, noting that the band plans on recording their first album by the
end of January.
You know, we really hit the cover path and nailed it. But we really want
to get an album out there by spring, Deike says.
Ultimately, wed like to just play our music the rest of our lives, but
the reality of the world is not necessarily in line with our dreams, says
ROOTS OF ROCK
Rocking with your old high school bandmate must be a good time: Deike and
Bishop had their own band back when they were in high school together.
That was 12 years ago sound familiar?
12 Year Reunion has been working hard all across the north, tapping into a
crowd that identifies good rock when they hear it. Part of that success is
Every place we play depends on the crowd and whats going on, says
Deike. We do classic rock from the 60s, 70s, 80s I say that lightly
and we play a lot of 90s rock and some modern and original rock. We
play for the older folks who come early and leave early and the
30-somethings that stay for the duration.
Perhaps the popularity of 12 Year Reunion comes with a struggling economy,
where people are in need more than ever to feel good.
People have their vices and they fill their needs. I wouldnt say the bar
scene is necessarily distraught. When peole feel bad, they wanna feel
Maybe some good rock is just the cure.
Check out 12 Year Reunion at Lumberjacks, located in Honor, January 22 &
23; and at Wilderness Crossing in Grawn, January 29. Get a preview at