Anyone who doesn’t believe that there is great musical talent at USF need only have attended the Red Vic’s Open Mic Night last Friday to be shown the error of their ways. Travis Hayes and the Nice Young Boys performed an hour-long set clumped together on the Red Victorian’s small stage in a symphony of guitars, proving that our student body has some fine musicians.
The audience was predominantly USF students who most likely own the Travis Hayes record, “It Ends With Us” which was released last March. Junior Travis Hayes said, “I have been writing, recording and producing for five years now.”
Travis has stuck mostly to solo work, but Sept. 12 marked the first time that Travis Hayes and The Nice Young Boys Band played together live. The Nice Young Boys Band is composed of three USF musicians. First there is Hank Richardson who comes from Portland. His career as a musician started out at a young age when he played cello. He soon switched to electric bass guitar, which is what he plays now in the Nice Young Boys Band.
Kevin Na is the self-confessed compulsive liar of the group. He said he was from South Korea, but Travis later informed me that he is actually from Los Angeles. “I lie when I’m nervous,” Kevin said. Kevin had piano lessons when he was a young boy, but said, “I would just sit there and refuse to play.”
Many who were there may recall the third member of The Nice Young Boys Band, Andrew Barnett, who performed last spring in USF Idol. Kevin said, “It was one of the most memorable performances held in [Presentation] theatre.”
The three make up what they call “the premiere backing band in San Francisco.” They say they will back up any singer, and we may see “Michael Jackson and The Nice Young Boys” in the future. But for now they are backing up Travis Hayes who has already gained a significant fan base in the USF community.
“Right now, it’s school full time, and music is my hobby.” Travis said. “But honestly what it comes down to is I love playing live.” It may come as a surprise that Travis has had no prior professional training. Travis said, “I started playing guitar the summer before high school, but I’ve never taken a formal lesson. I’ve just started vocal lessons, though, through USF.”
The show was a hit, with fans, friends and family all present in the audience enjoying the poetic lyrics and multitude of guitar sounds. Travis said that prior to a performance, “I put on a suit, I do some aerobics, I do some stretches.”
Kevin said that when performing “I try to emulate Alanis Morissette. I just admire the way she moves,” and spoke for Hank, saying, “Hank worries a little,” prior to performing. Andrew has a performance technique of his own, and kept his back to the audience throughout the performance. Crowd member Evan MC yelled out “I must say I don’t mind the view.”
Travis and the The Nice Young Boys Band are talented, but they also possess a great sense of style. Travis wore red pants with a centered pleat, a black vest with a button up shirt and a purple tie. When one looks at Travis, it appears he is wearing mascara, but no, his long eyelashes are 100% natural. “I get weak knees when I look at Travis. He has naturally striking features,” said Kevin
The band has an eclectic mix of musical interests. Hank said one of the best musicians is Johann Sebastian Bach. Kevin agreed saying, “His music was sent from God.” When asked what bands or musicians they detest Andrew said, “The Beatles. What did The Beatles ever do for music? Hank says he usually can find the good qualities in any type of music, but not Skrewdriver. He said, “It’s just spewing bigotry into a microphone.”
Despite the few musicians they can’t stand, they are a music-loving bunch. To listen to the poetic, somewhat depressing, yet love-filled lyrics and music of Travis Hayes visit www.myspace.com/iamtravishayes.