Liberal Leave with Instructional Continuity
Four sophomores form an alternative-rock group
On snowy days, students across campus wait in anticipation for an email from University Registrar John Q. Pierce. Last winter’s particularly inclement weather led to three snow days and many emails from Pierce, notifying students about the status of their classes. Stephen Yaeger (SFS ’18), Lucas Chan (COL ’18), Patrick Soltis (COL ’18) and Brittany Donowho (COL ’18) particularly loved these emails — especially because they were working to find a name for their nascent band.
“We tend to keep an eye out for cool band names in everyday life. Last winter, a certain administrative policy was popping up in a lot of emails, and the name ‘Liberal Leave with Instructional Continuity’ was born,” Yaeger said.
Liberal Leave with Instructional Continuity, which recently played its first show at the Guild of Bands concert in Gonda Theater late November, got its beginnings in the hallways of the first floor of New South Hall last year, where its members lived.
Yaeger, the drummer, takes pride in the band’s modest origins, claiming its first impromptu live performance was “Lucas playing his acoustic in the common room to the beat of my tapping out rhythms on the table.”
Soltis, who plays bass, recalled broaching the subject before all the members joined the project.
“I like to imagine it comparable to a middle schooler asking another middle schooler on a date. I alluded to the idea a few times, then finally popped the big question when it was time for preregistration,” Soltis said.
A couple of weeks into the band’s first semester back on campus this year, Donowho joined the ranks of the group as the lead vocalist and keyboardist, the former she describes as a step out of her comfort zone.
“I like to sing around the house and used to sing while Lucas played guitar on NS1 but really, I’m not exactly a singer. I guess I am now though,” Donowho wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Rather than jostling for highbrow recognition in the college music sphere, the band members take a more lighthearted approach when describing their musical influences, which Yaeger lists as “anything from Guitar Hero 3, Television soundtracks including the music for the end theme for the Power Puff Girls and mid-2000s feel-good summer hits.”
Of their sound, Chan said their musical influences are far ranging.
“I think most of our songs sound very much like pop-y hard alternative songs like from the Joy Formidable but a lot less impressive,” Chan said.
Donowho described their style slightly differently.
“We rock hard. So… rock alternative, maybe?” Donowho wrote.
The group has been fleshing out their sound in preparation for its first Guild of Bands concert. Guild of Bands is a group of student bands organized by music professor Joe McCarthy, who gives feedback to Liberal Leave every week.
Looking forward, Liberal Leave is in the process of laying the groundwork for an effort at legitimizing itself as a band. In addition to booking gigs, the group is in the early stages of recording its material with professional equipment.
Last week, the band recorded its first original song, “Skeleton,” which will be released online soon.
It seems the members’ increasing success has yet to go to their heads, as Yaeger said of other markers of progress with trademark band member indifference.
“I also recently came into possession of a copy of ‘Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee’ for the Gamecube, and Lucas got a 90 on his oral exam. So that’s pretty cool too, I guess,” Yaeger said.
Seemingly lacking the tumult and drama that are par for the course in the origin story of any beloved musical group, the band is laying low in these early days and keeping focused on the music. In the aftermath of the first concert performance and official recording session, Yaeger said the group remains casual.
“We’re trying to write good songs and be able to play them well, but we’re not super ambitious to be really successful or anything. We’re just trying to have a good time,” Yaeger said.
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