Vibrant Clarity & Tight Chemistry Equate with Visual Excitement from One of the Region’s Breakout All-Original Bands

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, Local Music,   From Issue 821   By: Matt deHeus

14th January, 2016     0

They say there is power in positive thinking.  It is the engine that drives dreamers in the direction of who they want to be.  Musically, if you are looking for proof of this theory, you might consider sitting down with ADABOY! - one of the Great Lakes Bay region’s breakout bands of 2015 that are charting a course for the high-ground as we embark upon these early days of 2016.

Armed with a broad range of musicality, collective commitment, strong songwriting skills, and a unified vision that was running on all gears at their recent gig as openers for Donny Brown, Andy Reed, and Chris Zehnder at their recent ‘Written in the Mitten’ performance at The State Theatre last month, according to front man Mike Richards, “We want to be one of the best Original Bands in the area.”

Quickly, this comment was followed by guitarist Josh Sampson, who deftly added: “And we want to be approachable. You know, nice people. Gentlemen.” And based upon what I have seen, the band is well on its way to accomplishing both, even if the latter goal comes with the requisite “LOL.”

ADABOY! is the brainchild of Richards, who doubles as the Music Director for the Vassar School System.    “I’d been around the scene in cover bands for about 12 years,” he explains, “and I started writing songs in 2007, inspired by friends like Andy Reed and Chris Zehnder.  The lyrics in a way are therapy for me. Things that happen.  They explain where my head is at.”

Mike normally composes his material on acoustic guitar.  And through this process, all the while he knew the songs that he was creating were destined for much bigger sounds and, hopefully, much bigger stages. As he put it: “I knew what kind of musicians I needed to find.”

Enter guitarist Sampson, who was initially looking to form an acoustic Delta blues combo.  “I started talking to Mike about it and he said, “I am not going to do that, but I have this other thing going on, which he explained to me, and out of that conversation came ADABOY!”

Eventually the pair recruited drummer Connor Peil and bassist Bill Killips; and with this alignment ADABOY! had a line up with the taste and talent to help realize Richards’ original vision; which brings up an interesting point: unlike Richards, who had come up through the traditional route of cover bands,

Sampson, Killips and Peli had all cut their teeth performing original music. As Peil said, “I have never

been in a cover band.” “We started as an instrumental trio, “adds Sampson, “though we moved on to other original bands after that.”

Having made a similar transition from a three-piece rock band to a group centered around strong lyrics and the dynamic voice of Richards presented a learning curve for the group. “I had to learn to lay back in a vocal-based band,” reflects drummer Peil.

Indeed, Peil is in a somewhat interesting position, as Richards has a degree in Music from Saginaw Valley State University, with drums his primary instrument.  As he put it, “If Mike wants to hear something different, he might go into teacher mode for a minute.”  In terms of taking the advice on board without any ego, Peil also offered, “It’s a trust thing.  You have to trust what’s good for the song.”

Recognizing that the songs in question are the original work of the band, Sampson added “You put yourself out there. I like to push the envelope.  And its fun.  I get enjoyment from it.”

There’s that positive attitude again.

When writing about any new Original Band, there is a point where you try to find references.  Depending on the moment, with ADABOY! you might find yourself dropping names like Foo Fighters or Sweet or The Tragically Hip or Genesis.  Indeed, this is a product of the diverse background of each respective band member.

As Sampson explained, “I think you inadvertently establish a sound depending upon the chemistry created through the interaction of each member.  We have diverse musical interests and you can hear that in the songs.”

It’s probably a good time to talk a bit about the songs, as ADABOY!’s self-titled EP consists of exceptionally good ones.  You can hear the authenticity of the band’s message from the opening moments of the first track, “Bones.” 

Based around a powerful Richards vocal and an arrangement by the band that gives a nod to classic arena rock, you quickly come to the conclusion that this guy is laying it all out there; baring his soul.  It makes you want to listen and draws you into the tunesmithing you find on the rest of the disk.

Be it the quirky, funky, hard rocking Sampson penned “Hard Rule” or the subtle, fingerpicked acoustic closer “Utterless,” the five song set shows the kind of chops, diversity and taste that should continue to make the band interesting.  It is clear that this is a group that is not going to simply write the same song again and again and put a different name on it.

It is also important to point out that ADABOY! is not just a studio creation.  As witnessed by those who attended the Made in the Mitten concert, the band is already one of the most dynamic performing acts circulating throughout the area.  Having seen them several times now, I always come away with the impression I just witnessed a mini- rock concert, be it in a club like Bemo’s or in a bigger venue like the State. 

Richards appreciated this observation.  “I love being on stage.  Performing.  I always think of both the aural and visual elements.”    I have to say I like when they are on stage, too. 

If you like musical groups that are vibrant, original and entertaining, ADABOY! is like a modern rock pep talk. 

It is not hard at all to support local music when the music is this good. 

You can follow ADABOY! on Facebook or find them on Bandcamp at





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