Music for thought

For the band “We the Living,” playing in Wisconsin is like coming to the home base, according to singer/songwriter John Paul Roney, since this is where they got their start.

The Madison-based band will be performing Friday night at 7 p.m on the UW-Eau Claire campus between Schneider Hall and Zorn Area. The event, which is hosted by University Activities Commission Concerts Committee, is free.

In case of rain or cold weather, the event will be moved to the Council Fire Room in Davies Center, said senior Nicole Feldkamp, co-chair of the committee.

Feldkamp said they decided to bring the band to the university to open up the concert series because of the amount of student interest in the band. Feldkamp, who is also a fan, first heard the band at a national conference the UAC attends, and was impressed with their unique sound.

A Brief History Lesson

Roney said he met Ben Schaefer, “We the Living’s” drummer, while they were at school in Madison.

“Our home base was Wisconsin because you can only get so far in a weekend,” he said, adding that after college, they formed a new band.

The band played at Eau Claire a few years earlier under the name “The Profits,” Feldkamp said. Since then, she added, they’ve changed a few members and have a new name.

Roney said the band has had pretty good luck in the Eau Claire area, having performed at The Stone’s Throw, 304 Eau Claire St., in addition to performing at the university.

“It’s a beautiful city,” he said, adding that the people are laid back.

“We the Living” plays for a variety of age groups, primarily college and high school students. High school students are not afraid to scream and dance initially, he said, but college students are a little more reserved.

“They take more time to decide (about the music),” Roney said. If students like the music, they often bring along friends the next time the band is in town.


Local band “Meridene” and “Civalias,” a singer/songwriter out of California, will open for “We the Living.”

While UAC Concerts booked “Meridene,” “Civalias” is coming with “We the Living,” Feldkamp said. She added that the committee didn’t know much about him, but listened to his MySpace page and liked him.

“We were interested in his music and thought he meshed well with ‘We the Living’ as an opener,” she said.

“Civalias” is a really talented singer and songwriter, Roney said. The band will play as his back-up band for a few songs.

“We saw a really good opportunity for him to come with us,” he said about inviting “Civalias” to tour with them.

Musical and Intellectual Inspiration

Roney described the “We the Living’s” music as British rock music, saying that some of their influences include “The Beatles,” “Coldplay” and “U2.” He added that their music is intellectual rock.

“I write songs because I read literature, philosophy, see a painting and I’ll be really moved by it,” Roney said.

Feldkamp said she likes all of “We the Living’s” music and doesn’t have a specific favorite song.

Roney said the band is looking forward to a fun show.

“We’re out of our minds with excitement,” he added.

For him, this is more about the band and music. This is an opportunity to find lifelong friends, he said.

If he were a college student, Roney added, he would want to see the concert for two reasons. First of all, there’s going to be a lot of people and it will be the biggest thing going on in Eau Claire that night.

His second reason included the fans.

“As a band, our number one favorite thing to do is to interact with fans of our music.”