This is not your parents’ garage band.
Mr. Mayor, a rock band made up of four area high school students, has competed at the state Launchpad competition and will play at Summerfest in Milwaukee this summer.
The band is made up of Clintonville’s Emily Krueger (rhythm guitar, drums, backup vocals), Kimberly’s Alexander Sendelbach-Elizondo, a.k.a. Zondo (lead vocals, guitar), Kimberly’s Brett Forbes (drums, guitar) and Kimberly’s Leah Trempe (keys).
The group came together in September 2012, having connected through school projects and musical programs.
Zondo has been playing instruments his entire life, and has a deep passion for music. Brett has been playing drums since he was 6, and picked up guitar over the last year. Emily has been playing drums since she was 12 and guitar since she was 14. Leah has been playing keys for 11 years, and became a member of the band after going to Zondo’s house to study for an AP Biology test. The band’s manager walked in and asked if she could play keyboard, and then asked if she wanted to join a rock band. She said yes, and has been playing with Mr. Mayor ever since.
Zondo said the band’s name was inspired by a character in the movie “Holes”.
“There is a character in the movie called ‘Mr. Sir’,” said Zondo. “I guess I got the name idea from there, and Mr. Mayor came into existence.”
“We’re for real,” said Leah. “People think, ‘Oh, it’s just another teenage band’, but we’re legit.”
The band practices every weekend and practices usually turn into an all-day event. Spending hours together has helped each member determine their favorite things about being in the band.
“My favorite thing about the band is just playing music and being with all these cool people,” said Brett.
“I like to perform, and I like to hang out with the band. I like all of them – it’s a friendly environment,” said Leah.
“I enjoy the recognition we get as a band, and the accolades,” said Zondo. “But just being able to play is great, too.”
Zondo’s pink Ibanez 25th Anniversary guitar is a fan-favorite. “People automatically ask for a picture with the guitar. It’s more famous than I am!”
“I enjoy interacting with the crowd and having fun on stage,” said Emily. “It’s also fun to look at the video and pictures after one of our shows.”
“I really don’t enjoy setting up all my stuff at gigs, because it takes forever to put together a drum set,” stated Brett.
Each member also has some not-so-favorite things about the band.
“I don’t enjoy putting up all of my stuff,” said Brett. “It takes forever to set up a drum set.”
“I feel like I’m trapped behind the keyboard,” said Leah. “I can’t interact with the crowd as much as I’d like to.”
“I don’t like the hour car ride to practice,” said Emily.
“My least favorite thing is going to Chili’s after practices,” said Zondo. “Emily always asks if we can go there.”
Though they had only been together for a few months, the band decided to enter the statewide Launchpad competition. Launchpad is an alternative music competition for Wisconsin high school students who are in bands formed outside of the traditional music classroom ensembles. Launchpad and other Wisconsin School Music Association (WSMA) programs help young people discover and expand their full music potential.
“We did a last-minute audition for Launchpad,” said Zondo. “It’s basically a battle of the bands for high school bands. We were chosen as the best band from the Chilton regional. We went on to compete in Madison against 12 other bands at the SETT in UW-Madison’s Union South.”
Other state finalist bands included The Sleep Cyclists, The Daze, Autumn Underground, MU, Country Shine, Day 42, The Viewing Party, WithoutExcuse, Second Time Around, Thief & Rascal, Unidentified, and Relatively Blue.
Before the event, the band gave their predictions on how they would fare at the competition.
“We’ve heard of a couple of the other bands, but I know we will do well,” said Zondo. “We’re a force to be rockin-ed with!”
“We do things other bands don’t do,” added Leah. “We have some choreography, and our shows are very high-energy.”
“Everyone has music, but the next level is to get people to watch with their eyes, not just their ears,” added Zondo.
The band will play a three-song set, featuring covers of “Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC and a song from School of Rock, as well as “Apple Pie”, the band’s first original.
“I’m not sure what all the other bands will be like, but it will be interesting,” said Zondo. “We play third out of 13 bands.”
The 13 bands automatically qualified to participate in the Summerfest Launchpad Regional Showcases in Milwaukee.
The winning band will also receive the prestigious Les Paul Launchpad Award, an additional slot to perform at Summerfest, a professional recording session at Blast House Studios in Madison, and a Yamaha equipment package for their school.
Mr. Mayor received rave reviews at state, but the first place finish went to “Autumn Underground” from Middleton.
See Mr. Mayor live
Mr. Mayor will play several events this summer, including two shows at 9 p.m. at UW-Green Bay on June 16 and 19; Clintonville Fireworks, July 3 (5:30-6:30 p.m. and 10:45 p.m.-midnight); Summerfest, July 6, 12 noon; and Paperfest Battle of the Bands, July 20, 2 p.m.
Looking farther into the future, band member say they want to stick together and keep the band going as long as they can.
“We’re all involved in a lot of different things, but we always get along,” said Leah. “We work well together.”