Creative writing professors jam in local band

Elisabeth Moore

Night of the Living Dead Poets Society is a three-person band featuring Rebecca Brown, a creative writing assistant professor and drummer/backup vocalist, Tom Hunley, a creative writing professor and the guitarist/lead vocalist, and Colton Turley, a music major and the bass player/manager.

“Rebecca and I began playing together in July 2015,” Hunley said. “We played four or five shows as Night of the Living Dead Poets Society with some other members. Colton came on board in March 2016.”

From their start, Night of the Living Dead Poets Society has created eight original songs, which they rotate around with various cover songs from Lou Reed, Fang and KISS, including “Heckler in the Cheap Seats” and “Something True,” all of which can be found on their YouTube channel.

The band chose their name due to there being two creative writing professors in the band. Mashups are fun, so this seemed appropriate, Hunley said.

Night of the Living Dead Poets Society has done various gigs since its formation, most recently at the Potter College Fall Festival. The group has also played at Cloud 9 Hookah, Tidball’s, the Harley Davidson Store, and TurnTable Bar and Grill. Hunley said they take gigs whenever they get the chance.

“For me, the best night was opening for Thee Japanese School Girls at TurnTable last March,” Hunley said. “Or maybe it was the PCL Fall Festival in October. We played really well that day, I thought.”

What initially started the band was the aspect of performing music live. Hunley and Brown both agreed that live music is one of the most rewarding aspects of the band. Hunley said he enjoys improving his singing and using his profession to create new songs while Brown said she enjoyed the collaborative aspect of the band, which is what she likes about playing music in general.

“I think a rewarding musical project is primarily about working together toward shared expression, and that often gets compromised when strong egos get in the way,” Brown said. “Thankfully, we all seem to be pretty much on the same page in Night of the Living Dead Poets Society.”

In the future, the band plans on performing more shows and creating more original songs. Brown said she enjoys the immediacy of live performances. As a poet and professor, Hunley said he looks forward to the songs because it allows him to find a new creative outlet and it allows him to better relate to students, who may be new to poetry.

“One of my favorite past musical projects was a band called The Pits,” Brown said. “Our first show was our last show, intentionally, and we improvised our whole set. We all were happy with our process culminating in that one fleeting moment. I like projects that emphasize the transient and chaotic nature of experience, I guess.”

As far as the band’s future plans, Hunley only had one thing to say: “to rule the planet!”

Reporter Elisabeth Moore can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @emoore938.