The Sandy Pilgrims perform their original song “Bus Stops” for the Chameleon!
Video Produced By Sarah Murray
By Hannah Lutz
Blog and Social Media Director
Jake Stolz, Ryan Bedell, and Mikey Dienstbach met as freshman in Regis Hall last year. As they each had an urge to nurture their love of music, they frequently jammed together and became close friends. This year, the friends became roommates in Marquette, where they officially started their band: The Sandy Pilgrims.
I was lucky enough to get the chance to interview the sophomore trio, sans Ryan, who is studying at the Rome Center this semester. Ryan and Mikey have been playing together for years now. They first started with a band in St. Louis when they were in high school. When they met Jake, who is an Oak Park native, they couldn’t deny the musical chemistry.
The Sandy Pilgrims play mostly acoustic rock and acoustic folk, what Jake called “popacousticfolkrock,” along with the occasional blues piece. They typically cover bands like Guster, The Avett Brothers, The Fleet Foxes, and MGMT, but they like to mix up their playlist with a Green Day throwback or often “Hey Ya!” by OutKast.
As the band keeps practicing, their list of original songs keeps growing. Writing is a joint effort for them, Jake writing most of the music and Mikey and Ryan supplying the lyrics. Songwriting is a unique and relaxing process for The Sandy Pilgrims. They usually start with one person’s guitar riff, and the others fill their own parts.
“It’s really cool how we sit down together, and a song comes to life,” Mikey said.
“It’s really relaxed, too. We don’t really plan it out, but it just happens and comes together,” Jake added.
When I asked about the inspiration for their original music, Jake and Mikey said their inspiration comes not only from their musical influences, but also from personal city encounters.
Two of their songs, “Bus Stops” and “Innocent Man,” are about their new urban lifestyles. Mikey commented on the lack of public transportation in St. Louis and the experiences he’s had with people at “L” and bus stops here in Chicago.
“The people I’ve met are really down on their luck.” Mikey said he wrote “Bus Stops” to show his appreciation for the fortunate life he’s been given. Living the city lifestyle among those in poverty has allowed him to see things from a wider scope.
He goes on to describe the similar inspiration for “Innocent Man.”
“One of the lines is ‘I would take off my coat and give it away. I would cough all my cash, I just can’t today. And, I’m an innocent man,’ ” he said.
Mikey said he realizes that there are many people in Chicago who are less privileged. “And you know, you don’t help them right at that second, but just because you’re not helping them and not hurting them doesn’t mean that’s all you need to do. You need to be proactive… that’s what some of [those lyrics] are about.”
As they continue to write and play their music, The Sandy Pilgrims look to play more shows. Right now, The Sandy Pilgrims’ fan base consists of mostly friends and family, who they often entertain in Zip’s Lounge and the Loyola Farmers Market.
The three are staying in Chicago this summer, and they hope to book some shows around the city.
To hear their music and find out about shows, visit their Facebook page.
They are selling their new EP for $2.50 on Bandcamp.
Hannah Lutz is the blog and social media director. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sarah Murray is the multimedia editor. She can be reached at email@example.com.