Wicked Local Web Jams 4 Winners Pulse to Play Plymouth’s Guru Grille
September 25, 2010
by Alice Coyle
GateHouse News Service
Fate brought them together.
Fate and freshman year at Stonehill College.
Hingham brothers William and Paul Keough had been jamming together on guitar and bass for several years. But to build a rock band, they needed a drummer.
New York native and self-taught drummer Danny Padilla, it so happened, came to college looking for a band.
"Danny lived on the same (dormitory) floor," said William. The two freshmen became fast friends and began playing "casually" together around campus.
Paul, who had graduated Stonehill in 2009, returned to his alma mater to join William and Danny playing the school's coffeehouse circuit and it wasn't long before they were looking to start doing gigs beyond Stonehill.
In March, the Keough brothers and Padilla officially formed Pulse, an alternative rock group heavily influenced by bands like U2.
"We held our first rehearsals in my basement in Hingham," William said.
The group also put out a five-song EP this spring including the tune "Splintered Hearts", their winning entry in Wicked Local Web Jams 4 - GateHouse Media's online battle of the bands.
As for Pulse's particular sound, William describes the group as "harder than most alternative bands."
While Paul is a fan of the progressive rock music that bands like Yes and Rush made popular, and Danny digs punk and metal, alt rock is the common ground on which the three band mates meet.
All of Pulse's members got an early start in music. For Paul and William it was piano lessons and living room performances in front of relatives and friends in the beginning. William rebelled against piano and pushed to play the guitar as he was heading into high school. Luckily his mom supported his choice, got him lessons and a guitar and he played it "incessantly" for three years, he said.
Paul, who played keyboards in a band at Stonehill when he was a freshman, branched out and took up the bass, inspired by his friend, the bassist in the Johnny Scifo band.
"My brother was learning to play the guitar, and I decided to learn the bass," Paul said.
In New York, Danny began begging for a drum set in seventh-grade.
"It took me 2-1/2 years, but I taught myself." Danny's been playing drums for six years now and has played in a number of bands before becoming part of Pulse.
Since forming this spring, Pulse has played a few gigs off the Stonehill campus including a show at Worcester's Palladium and the "Stop, Drop, Hip Hop, and Rock" event at the Orpheum Theatre in Foxborough in August.
While they admit they could use some better equipment, Pulse members say they love rocking live.
"Every time we perform live, it's like living the dream," William said.
"Feeding off the crowd's energy makes our performance that much better," Paul adds. "We're able to take it to another level."
Playing gigs during the school year is tough for the student rockers, due to busy academic schedules.
While William - a double major in music and business management, and Danny - a psychology and Spanish major, are busy with their sophomore class load at Stonehill, Paul works in marketing at Safety First in Foxborough and is going to grad school at Boston University for a master's degree in advertising.
Paul is counting on his marketing background to help promote Pulse. The group is already making good use of social networking websites like Facebook to grow their fan base.
"It's (Facebook) completely changed how you can reach out to people," said Paul. "It's an amazingly powerful tool."
William credits their use of sites like Facebook and their band's web page in helping them win the Web Jams 4 title.
"We posted links to the Web Jams voting page on Facebook - our individual and band site. It really carried us through the semi-final and final rounds."
Graceful winners, the group gives props to the other Web Jams bands in the competition.
"We really appreciate all the other great musicians in Web Jams," William says. "They were all amazingly talented."
With their win, Pulse members are looking forward to making the most of their Web Jams prize - 10 free hours of recording time courtesy of MDI Productions in Plymouth, and a chance to perform live in the Wicked Local Web Jams 4 winners' show at the Guru Grille, also in Plymouth.
"It's tough to do shows during the school year," said Danny. "It'll be good to get in the studio," he said, adding the group has 10 original songs they're thinking about recording.
"There's about 35 songs we could record," William says, correcting Danny, "including an awesome version" of their winning tune "Splintered Hearts."
As Pulse members balance books and keep the beat, they remain focused on a goal of being a full-time touring rock band.
"Our dream is to make a living on music," says William.
"Nothing could be better than getting paid for what you love to do," adds Danny.
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