Duncan Banner: It turns out Punks are everywhere

Posted: June 3, 2011 in Uncategorized

Teenagers frantically maneuver their way to the edge of the stage.  Lights dim to a low level and a connection from a pick striking a guitar sends out deafening wails through speakers.  Smiles grace the audience while the band explodes into its first song of the night.

Welcome to a Brunzwick concert.  Hold on to your stereotypes and embrace the creativity and energy that four punk rock kids from the Duncan area are about to deliver.

Composed of two college freshmen and two high school seniors, Brunzwick is a band that has made its impression on the Duncan teenage landscape.  Self-described as punks, Brunzwick mixes powerful chords on the guitar and bass with the backdrop of drums.  Lyrics about growing up, stories of having fun and downfalls of life are poured out to an audience who is eating up every word.

Not your stereotypical Oklahoma band, but a part of the Duncan culture nonetheless.

Putting names to the band are college freshmen Andrew Smith and Derek Murphree, who graduated from Duncan High in 2005.  Murphree smashes the drums and is also a student at Cameron University.  Smith screams lyrics into the microphone and attends the University of Central Oklahoma.  Lead singer Blake Brown, who started the group with Smith, is a senior at Duncan High, and guitarist Cody McAlister is a senior at Velma-Alma.

For Brown, the music is the most important part of being in the band.  He readily admits that the girls aren’t a bad bonus tied to the band, but still emphasizes the importance of the songs.  As he completes his senior year at Duncan High, Brown said that he has a lot to credit the band for during his time at school.

“The best thing about being in a band while in high school would probably be the fact that being in Brunzwick has helped me gain a bunch more friends that I probably would have never met otherwise,” Brown said. “Having all of these friends and people in my life definitely makes high school a better experience.”

Brunzwick calls its music pop-punk, but isn’t willing to limit its capabilities with that label.  The term punk has a negative connotation for some, but has changed since the days of safety pins and anarchy.  Today’s punk is a wide-ranging form of expression.  It is a fast-paced style of music where the lyrics are about society, growing up and anything else that happens in life.

Ask someone where to find good punk rock, and the answer will probably not be Duncan, Oklahoma.  Ask members of Brunzwick, and they’ll tell you they don’t care.  They love the music and have found out that being in a non-punk community doesn’t mean they can’t be part of it.

Get past the messed up hair, funky clothes and the misconception of what punk is and you’ll understand that they are not that different from anybody else; just with a different taste in music and a unique way of expressing themselves.

The band formed nearly two years ago and has been playing shows around Duncan since its inception.  Wherever they can find a stage to jump around on they show up, along with around 200 adoring friends and fans.  The audience consists of junior high kids to adults, and the venues are usually elementary schools and recreation centers.  Not the glamorous locations you think of when picturing rock shows, but the band makes it work.

“It’s fun to go out to a place and play where anyone can watch,” Murphree said. “We just want to have fun. We don’t do it for the paycheck.  We do it for the fun factor.  It’s great to go out and play a show for the kids who want to come out and go crazy. It’s one of those things where we don’t know if it’s going to work out, but we’ve decided to step out there and try different things.”

Parental support has been an important part of the band’s success.  From moms collecting admissions, to dads videotaping shows, the members of Brunzwick are quick to point out that without their families the band wouldn’t be where it is.

“My mom is always behind me 100 percent of the time,” McAlister said. “It doesn’t matter what it is, she has always supported me in everything I have done.  She really likes good music and enjoys coming to our shows to listen to us.”

With the geographical distance between the band members right now, Brunzwick said that it is in a slow period right now in terms of band progress.  With Smith in Edmond, Murphree at Cameron and Brown in Duncan finishing his senior year, it has been a challenge to set schedules.  Add McAlister playing first base for the Velma-Alma baseball team, and time to practice their songs is a hard commodity.  Plans for the future look bright for the band, though.

Brown and McAlister plan to move to Edmond next fall, while Murphree is still undecided on his plans.  With connections to a Nashville recording studio, Brunzwick is expecting to produce its first CD this summer, but will continue to play shows when time allows.

For a group of punks, somehow it has still found ambition to work for goals.  Music is their outlet, having fun- the purpose and succeding in this world is the goal.

Maybe the kids are all right after all.

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