The KWUR stack session experience: Cool American

Merry May Ma | Contributing Writer

I barely stopped my bike when I saw Cool American coming inside a side door of the Danforth University Center. And the moment I saw the bass, the electric guitar and the drum kit, I nearly fell off. A glow of excitement rolled inside of me.

When I walked inside the KWUR studio, I saw a small group of students and Cool American, the band performing for KWUR’s stack session Tuesday night.

The KWUR station was a festive place, decorated with the enthusiasm of music lovers, glowing brightly when the performance began.

At first, I was confused when I saw that someone brought ear plugs with them, but the moment I heard Ethan Conroy hit the drums, Andy Rusinek and Nathan Tucker play electric guitar and Jeremy Murphy play the bass, I understood—the room resonated sound so intensely that it was a bit too loud without ear plugs.

Conroy played the drum like a warrior on the battlefield passionately and triumphantly.

I asked them, “When you hit the drum, do you feel inner power coming in? ”

“Yeah! It contains a lot of emotional release” Conroy said.

“It’s like working out,” Tucker added.

“Oh yeah, it helps me get work out too!” Conroy said. “I am sweating.”

Their opening music and first song, “Maui,” sounded so energetic and youthful that it reminded me of melodies used in television cartoons.

What followed was another song called “Seventeen.”

“This song was written at a confusing moment,” Tucker said.

While it may have been a complicated time, the final product is a vivid representation of the complicated feelings of being 17 years old. Back to 17, we were free and furious, curious and confused, enthusiastic and emotional in the best way. Tucker said the song had been in his head for a long time until one day he wrote it down.

“I was house-sitting at a house I used to live in and I was feeling that I had no progress in my life…I was thinking back that I still felt the same way about things I did wrong when I was a teenager,” Tucker said.

Normally, it takes Tucker about six months to write a song.

“I want my songs to be narrative so I come up with a basic idea and finish them later,” he said.

According to Tucker, Cool American was founded by “accident” three years ago by Tucker and Rusinek, with Murphy and Conroy joining last year.

“My old band went on a tour with Cool American two years ago, and then when their drummer quit, they hit me up to do the thing. It has been awesome,” Conroy said.

Tucker, Rusinek, Murphy and Conroy have been on the road together since the beginning of October and will be heading to perform in their hometown of Portland, Ore. next. They also have a plan to finish another record sometime next year.

You can listen to Cool American’s KWUR stack session recording on KWUR’s Bandcamp page. KWUR hosts stack sessions throughout the semester, so watch their Facebook page for upcoming intimate performances.

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