From Midland Park Basement Band to Overnight Success*
Honor Society — a band that got its start in a basement on Heights Road in Midland Park and went on to have a song debut in the Top 20 on the Billboard charts, sell out shows at major venues like Irving Plaza and Gramercy Theater in NYC, perform on nationally televised programs including the Jimmy Kimmel Show and the NFL Pro Bowl — is getting a little help from fans for its next big project through Kickstarter.
The band, featuring former Midland Park resident Alexander Noyes on drums, Andrew Lee on bass and Michael Bruno on lead vocals and guitar, is raising funds for their documentary film and original soundtrack project, "Overnight Success* (*10 years in the making)." The film will follow the band's rise from its roots in Midland Park through seven national tours and into the future.
"When I first joined Honor Society, we turned Midland Park into the band's headquarters," said Noyes, who called the borough home from 2005 to 2010. "Our first EP was written almost entirely in the basement of the Heights Road house. We recorded our debut EP 'A Tale of Risky Business' right down the street in Waldwick with our producer Chris Theis. We religiously frequented Matthew's diner in Waldwick. That was our stomping ground!"
Noyes, who attended Eastern Christian High School with Kevin Jonas and played drums for the Jonas Brothers before joining Honor Society, told Midland Park Press the documentary will include footage from Midland Park and the band hopes to return to the area this summer.
The premise of the film is that there is no such thing as an "overnight success" in the music business. The group has been together since 2006, with Noyes joining the band in 2007. They have reached a level of success that many musicians only dream of, but the band is still not a household name. The question the film explores is: Can this band breakthrough and become that household name?
Its fans certainly think so, with 450 backers pledging a combined total of more than $45,000 for the Kickstarter campaign.
"We got our start as most bands do, playing to no one. But we had a clear vision of what we wanted to do musically and we never doubted we would make our mark... and then we did... sort of," the Kickstarter page starts. "It couldn't have been written any better: we were discovered at one of our NYC club shows by who else, but the Jonas Brothers at the height of their world-wide success."
The band, which at that time also included keyboard player Jason Rosen, were quickly signed to Jonas Records, an affiliate of Hollywood Records, and groomed to be the next Jonas Brothers.
"The national spotlight wanted us to be Jonas 2.0, and the more we tried to fight it, the more that association stuck to us. And just like the seasons, things come and go...and as the curtain came down on the 'new car smell' of our band, we had to look at each other and decide if we had what it took to stand on our own. There was no doubt in our hearts, but circumstances, the rigors of the minute-to-minute changing music industry and lasting associations from our past were more challenging than we ever could have imagined," the band writes.
"We had to hold on for dear life, buckle down, check our egos and re-discover our identity from every angle. Even at the risk of losing the national fan base we had been exposed to. It even meant parting ways with one of the founding members of the band," the band continued.
"We spent two years of non-stop writing and touring to show people what we are really made of. It proved to be gut-checking, but rewarding to know we had what it took. But even with all the growth, development and successes along the way, we are still held back by parts of our past. Now in 2013, we continue to encounter people who pass judgement as though we are frozen in 2009. A Google search yields images of a brief moment in our distant past and undoes all of the hard work we've done over the past few years to grow beyond our former associations... which begs the questions: what will it really take to make our mark? Will we be able to succeed without a net? Can we continue to do this and make a living? Is a full reinvention what we need? A name-change?"
The fundraising campaign ends on Friday, May 17. To donate, visit the Overnight Success page on Kickstarter.