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The August Name: St. Pete Band Rocks National Stage

August Name. - James Branaman
August Name. - James Branaman
Inside the small office of an industrial warehouse space on the edge of the North Kenwood neighborhood in St. Petersburg, band members practice as they do every week. The only lights inside the place are covered with red cotton fabric, giving off a flaming glow that reflects the sweltering temperatures a mid-summer afternoon brings in Florida.

Littered with electrical wires, the floor is a maze of surging power waiting to be released through nimble hands and instruments. After amps are adjusted and mic checks are complete, a surge of sound propels forward led by the strum of guitar strings and the beating of drums that resonates off the concrete floors.

The August Name begins what will be hours of preparation for their performance at the Vans Warped Tour 2012 the following afternoon at Vinoy Park in downtown St. Petersburg.

The band that friends and fans know today is not the same group that started The August Name in February 2010. The music has stayed the same but the faces behind the instruments have changed.

Drummer Evander Lipps, 23, and singer Ryan McGibbeny, 22, are the only two original members who stayed throughout the last two years. A chance meeting between Lipps and McGibbeny at St. Petersburg College completed the band's need for a singer. Unfortunately, the original crew did not stay together long.

After months of auditions and turnover among the other musicians, guitarist J.J. Faustino, 24, and bass guitarist and singer, Michael Daniel, 24, joined the mix in October 2011. Finally, guitarist Evan Petelle, 21, was introduced to the group by Faustino earlier this year, satisfying the desire for a fifth member.

Making Music Together

The band's progressive rock style takes full advantage of the latest available technology in the music industry, a true millennial band for a tech-savvy generation.

"Right when we have an idea, we can record it and pick which parts we want and put them in the song accordingly,'' says McGibbeny.

The "seed'' that grows into a song, as Faustino puts it, is planted individually. Then, acting as each other's best critics, the guys collaborate and decide what to keep and what to toss. Layers of separate tracks and vocals are fused in home recording studios to create the perfect composition that highlights each member's best work.

"It's definitely something we all believe in,'' says Daniel. "When we have a song and it's a finished product, we listen to it and agree we're happy with it.''
 
When it comes to their audience, The August Name is certainly a crowd pleaser. Their Facebook page has more than 19,000 likes and @TheAugustName on Twitter has 16,400 followers. Their most recent two-week tour up the East Coast introduced them to fans in seven states, including Massachusetts and Maryland.

Band members traveled the tour in a 2000 white Chevy conversion van pulling a 5x8 trailer filled with equipment. Without extra money or room for a crew, the five guys worked on and off the stage during all their shows.

So the tour also provided practical business lessons about the struggles young bands with limited finances must face. Although The August Name has a small budget for recording and other expenses, all the members work additional part-time or fulltime jobs to fund their travel, shows and merchandise purchases.

Local Fans Turn Out For Band

Even though the band took their talent on the road, their biggest show was local. Radio station 97X sponsored a free concert, the Freebie Weebie at The Ritz Ybor in Tampa back in March of 2012. The August Name shared the stage with headliner Awolnation to a sold-out crowd.

"Before the show, people didn't know us and suddenly 2,000 people automatically knew who we were,'' says McGibbeny. The band sold all of its merchandise that night from T-shirts to sample CDs. Feedback on their music began to flow into the band's many social network pages and by then it was clear: The August Name was a local favorite.

Leaving their small practice space behind, the band moves their show to a roomier venue, The Ernie Ball Stage at The Warped Tour the following afternoon. Joining the ranks of bands that have played at the tour for more than a decade, The August Name shares the day's schedule with Taking Back Sunday, Yellowcard and New Found Glory.

"The fact that we get to play and be a part of someone's Warped Tour experience … we're proud of that,'' says Faustino.

With their first music video released in July on their YouTube Channel, the band is focused on finishing their first album while recording in Valdosta, GA. Their local performances start again in August.

For more information on shows dates and venues, visit The August Name Facebook page.

Christina Barron is studying journalism and mass communications at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. Comments? Contact 83 Degrees.
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