by Susanne Siebel
Austin and the Apostles is an local band composed of RFH students Austin Ryan (lead vocals), Lucas Popielski (lead guitar), Amanda Webster (bass), Steve Hessinger (drums) and Mike Nociolo (keyboard). Comprised of dawgs who know how to rock, the band recreates some of the greatest rock classics in their own way.
The current members of Austin and the Apostles have been playing together since last year’s spring talent show. But before they played together, the individual members had their own musical talents.
Webster started playing drums in fifth grade but took up the bass two and a half years ago. She was a natural, and is now in a national touring music program that performs mostly rock. She is also in the RFH jazz band.
Ryan began singing The Phantom of the Opera when he was six years old. Since then, he started singing in musicals and has brought this theatrical element to the band.
Nociolo began to play piano at the age of eight. He played in a band called “Exit 109” from fifth to eight grade, and is a member in the Knollwood and RFH jazz bands.
Popielski’s father encouraged his interest in the guitar. This supportive parent has also helped the band book shows.
Hessinger started playing drums a few years ago when a friend suggested it. After taking lessons for three months, he started to teach himself. Now he is a drumming machine. All of the members of the band plan to continue playing music.
The Apostles all began as two friends jamming on their instruments together, and evolved into a legitimate band.
“Steve had been jamming with Luke since elementary school. He heard that Amanda was good on the bass so he got us together.-the original bassist was Pat McAlonie but he left after the talent show” Ryan explained. “Luke and I met in gym freshman year and a mutual friend told him I could sing. Luke called me up one day and asked if I wanted to jam.”
The newest addition to the band is sophomore Mike Nociolo. Nociolo met Popielski in jazz band in the spring of last year. Popielski invited him to jam with the Apostles, and he has been with them ever since.
The Apostles consider themselves a cover band, although they have three original songs including “Hey Man” written by Popielski and Hessinger.
“Usually Luke comes up with a riff or chord progression. Than Mike, Amanda and I do our thing (jam off of it) and finally I’ll go write some lyrics. Luke has also written lyrics,” Hessinger says.
They cover classic rock bands such as The Doors, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Santana, and The Beatles. Their most popular song is “Roadhouse Blues” by The Doors. The band’s music is chosen simply: someone wants to play it. One person teaches it to the rest of the group, and turns it into another track for them to play.
The name “Austin and the Apostles” came into play when Popielski decided he wanted Ryan’s first name in the title. Because of Ryan’s background in his strong religious views, the “Apostles” part seemed to flow for the rest of the members.
The Apostles have played four shows as a band, including one at the famous Stone Pony in Asbury Park.
“The dates we play are usually not doable; like the one on father’s day, but our turnout is usually descent” says Ryan. Even if they do not get people to see them, they always seem to put on a great show for anyone who is there.
To read more about Austin and the Apostles, or to hear their latest covers, visit http://www.myspace.com/austinandtheapostles.