MARQUETTE - The five guys in Everything Under The Sun all express delighted shock at all the good things that have happened in the band's short life.
The band is still in its infant stages, having formed earlier this year, but finds itself in the national spotlight as one of 11 finalists from across America with a chance to win an online contest that could be worth $25,000 to EUTS.
EUTS finished fourth of all the hundreds of entrants in the first round of the Charter Center Stage Battle of the Bands Contest and now looks for daily voting support to boost it to victory in the finals. Members of the band are Bret Hanson, vocals; Mike Krah, lead guitar; Johnny Kero, keyboard; Joe Bailo, drums; and Adam DeLoria, bass.
Everything Under the Sun, from left, Mike Krah, Joe Bailo, Adam Deloria, Bret Hanson and Johnny Kero, play a recent gig at Mattson Lower Harbor Park. (Journal photo by Matt Keiser)
"This is mind-blogging. It's really hard to fathom," Hanson said. "I went on the Charter (web)site and it was so final, so real to see us there as one of the top 11 bands in the country. I got butterflies.
"It's remarkable. We are so proud, so honored," Hanson said. "People came together to support us and we're truly honored they did."
Hanson, who grew up in Chicago, migrated to the Upper Peninsula in the 1990s.
Voting started Monday for the final round of the Charter Center Stage Battle of the Bands Contest and continues until Sept. 10.
For complete contest rules and details, go to connect.charter.com/centerstage.
Sept. 6, 6:30 p.m., Northern Michigan University's Don H. Bottum University Center, Music to Feed the Soul Concert: A Hunger Relief Fundraiser
Sept. 27, 5-7 p.m., Togos, Music on Third Street, Marquette
Sept. 29, 9 p.m.-2 a.m., Fat Boyz, Marquette
"I am more at home up here. In my heart, I feel like I belong here," he said. "The 906 in general to me has a special place in my heart."
Hanson said he has loved music as long as he can remember.
"My first memory of singing was when I was 3 years old," he said. "But i really just got into it a few years ago. But now music is the only thing that makes sense in the world to me. It feels so right."
While the concept for Everything Under The Sun has origins that reach back as far as 2005, the band's lineup coming together was "a matter of fate," Hanson said.
"Michael and I go back a ways," he said. "We were searching for the right people and were about ready to give up. Then we went out to eat one night and met the guys who ended up being the bassist and the keyboard player. The first time we jammed, we wrote the two songs that are most popular. It really has been something else."
Krah, born and raised in Marquette, is a student at Northern Michigan University, majoring in HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and has played music since he was 11 or 12, following the lead of his older brother, Brian.
"I've pretty much stayed with the guitar. I also had a drum set when I was like 16, but I played the guitar more and stuck with it," Krah said.
He, too, is still wrapping his head around the band's quick journey to success.
"We're only a few months old," he said of the band. "To be honest, it's not really hit my brain yet. But it's cool and awesome. It's a lot to take in all at once with school and work and all."
Drummer Bailo, a South Lyons native, has been attending NMU for three years and hooked up with the band after being introduced by his roommate to Hanson.
"I had absolutely no idea we'd have this kind of response so quickly," Bailo said. "We won the Blue Lounge Battle of the Bands after being together less than a month. It has been amazing."
A musician since sixth grade, Bailo is overwhelmed by the reaction EUTS has received.
'It's incredible how many people have shown support," he said. "We appreciate it so much."
Keyboard player Kero - also called Johnny 5 - was born in Negaunee, but spent several years in Green Bay, Wis. His musical start was an early one.
"When I was 4 years old, I was at my grandma's and my mother was watching 'St. Elsewhere' on TV. The theme song came on and I went over to the piano and played it for her," he said. "I never learned to read music. I play by ear. I listen to a song and can play it back to you."
His time with EUTS has been "amazing," Kero said.
"Each person in the band is his own soloist in his own right," he said. "We've all meshed together. ... We feel the music. No one is ever too greedy. We share the wealth when we play."
The Blue Lounge Battle of the Bands will always be a special memory for bassist Deloria, a native of Manistique.
"The first round (of the battle) was on my birthday," Deloria said. "It was the best birthday shindig ever."
All the accolades have been amazing to Deloria.
"Really, this has all completely blown my mind."
Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.