They Will Rock You
With their band The Buzz, five alums have spent the last decade building a reputation across New England for performing classic rock that gets audiences of all generations on their feet and dancing to the beat.
“Initially, between 2012 and 2018, we caught the craft beer wave, playing breweries and beer gardens, but we have expanded to weddings, reunions, corporate events and private parties,” says vocalist and keyboardist Daniel Walker ’05, who performs with percussionist Ryan Horn ’06, bass guitarist Jeffrey Buzzotta ’08 and guitarists Devon McDonough ’08 and Michael Reid ’08.
The Buzz played at the dedication of Stonehill’s Leo J. Meehan School of Business in 2019 and at Reunion in June. On both occasions, the band delivered high-energy performances, covering songs by Elvis, the Beatles, Michael Jackson, Van Morrison, Green Day, Red Hot Chili Peppers and more.
While The Buzz’s trademark medleys are fan favorites, the band currently ends each show with a rollicking version of the country classic “Wagon Wheel,” featuring Walker on the harmonica.
Professional musicians and singers, the five also write their own rock material and have full-time day jobs. Walker works in higher education, Buzzotta—who puts the buzz in The Buzz—is in healthcare, McDonough in human services, Reid in supply chain management and Horn in social work. Juggling dual careers and family obligations is never easy. The alums point to the friendships they developed at Stonehill in classes and residence halls as well as through common interests—three of them sang in Stonehill’s a cappella group, The Chieftones—as keys to their success.
“Those bonds of friendship keep us levelheaded and on the same page. We avoid drama and focus on our music, helping each other out and tailoring our schedules to accommodate family and other priorities,” says Horn.
During the peak of Covid, The Buzz lost gigs, but they remained in constant touch, wrote music and collaborated from afar.
“Music was our lifeline, a stabilizer. We stayed connected and creative with each other through Zoom. We took strength from our friendship,” says Buzzotta.
That approach paid dividends when live gigs, especially outdoor ones, resumed. “We’re excited to be back, and business is good,” says McDonough, noting a new market niche—Friday night pre-wedding welcome parties.
“More couples want a blowout bash the night before their wedding. We feed off the energy of the crowd and tailor our performances to our client’s needs,” says Reid. “Recently, the groom was a guitarist, so we brought him up to play with us as a surprise for his wife. Everyone loved it.”