College music brings life to the community

Truman students Alex Karst, Sam Cornelius, Lyrick Baker and Sam Weaver were in their combo class together when the band came to life. Their jam sessions that were once assignments turned into their band, Pilsbury N’ the Doughboys.

The band formed last year, but the four students had been in many projects together for various classes during their time in the music program.

The band’s name came after creating a few songs together. The titles of the songs were frequently food or bakery-inspired, so the name came naturally.

Starting the band came easily to the group after playing together in class so frequently and connecting as friends.

The group’s first gig as a band was at Aorta, a local music venue that came on the scene in early 2022. The group reached out to the venue to organize the event, and Karst said they have had a positive relationship since.

A particularly memorable show for the band was a gig they performed at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. The group performed a free acoustic concert and received an incredibly positive reception. 

“The whole community came out and they were so supportive and nice,” Karst said. “It was really great.”

To prepare for a performance, the group meets up often in the weeks leading up to the event. Karst said they play together and see where the time takes them. Most of their original songs are created from improvised jam sessions as a jazz rock group. By the time of the performance, they have a setlist and an idea of how they want the night to go.

Recently, the band played again at Aorta Sept. 2. alongside local bands The Egg Whites and Dirt on the Coroner.

“Everyone has some form of performance anxiety where they’re really anticipating it, or they’re slightly dreading it, but most of the time, once you actually get on stage and start playing it disappears,” Cornelius said.

When a gig goes well, the band enjoys staying at the venue and talking with the crowd, said Baker. They credit a crowd’s energy as a major reason why a gig can go well. 

“At the end of the day, we’re gonna play the way we’re gonna play[…] having an audience that’s into it kinda brings the performance to another level for the performers and also the audience,” Karst said.

The band mostly plays original songs but when they play covers, they like to make it their own. One song they have covered in the past is “Gangsta’s Paradise.” The members favorite songs to play are ‘Scramble’ and ‘Chronos’ because of the intricacies involved in playing. All the members participate in making the music. Karst said most of their music begins as jam sessions. When the members hear something they like, they workshop it until it becomes a song. 

Baker describes an average jam session for Pilsbury N’ the Doughboys like a conversation. One member puts a beat or rhythm out there and another member responds.

Baker is originally from Kirksville and said that the local Kirksville music scene is crucial to the community. He said he loves to see the diverse group of artists that Aorta brings to the table. Karst said he remembers that during COVID-19 there was a severe lack of live music and he is thankful for the opportunities that have opened in the last year. 

“I would love to see a younger audience come to Aorta, that would be amazing,” Karst said. “Because right now it’s a lot of the Kirksville people and Truman just hasn’t reached out.”

The hardest thing about being a band in college, Baker said, is balancing the two. He said it can be different to manage practicing for a big gig while having a heavy load of school work. 

The band currently does not have any music on streaming services because the process of recording is a challenge they haven’t tackled yet. Karst said they would love to record something in the future but his current goal is to just enjoy his time with the band as he finishes his senior year.  

“We’re just trying to make the most of it, right now, as best as we can and we will see how it goes after that,” Cornelius said.