Band Sanitizer has become an ever present force on M-A’ s campus, playing at Homecoming, the Welcome Back Dance, and various events on the Green. But before becoming the eight-person multi-genre band that they are today, Band Sanitizer was just a group of five friends: Alex King (guitar), Zoe Rosicki (guitar and vocals), Charlie Smith (bass), Thomas Sullivan (keyboard) and Zack Wilhite (drums) that wanted to perform at Battle of the Bands 2018. The band has since developed to include Neel Sinha (guitar), Cammy Kurtzman (vocals) and Jessica Baggott (vocals).
Band Sanitizer taking a photo break during a rehearsal
The band first got together over their shared love of music, and wanted to be able to have a fun time with friends. After their first performance the band spent a summer apart and shortly after school started were asked to perform at the Back to School Dance.
The Back to School Dance presented many different obstacles for the newly formed band. According to King, “We were asked to play a week and half before, we hadn’t played together since Battle of the Bands, and Zoe was about to move to Chicago.” Within this week and a half, the band pushed themselves to learn sixteen songs and spent around three hours each day practicing. This hard work paid off in a stellar performance, and King believes that night was what “inspired us to keep on practicing and playing more music.”
Regarding the infamous band name, Alex King stated, “We actually didn’t come up with it. When we first started practicing, we didn’t have a name, but Matthew Roisen told Zoe, Zack, and Charlie in jazz band that we should call the band Band Sanitizer. We thought it was perfect since we didn’t take ourselves seriously, but the name stuck.”
Band Sanitizer rehearses before an upcoming performance (Photo taken by Margaret Wilhite)
While the band’s most recent performances have consisted of song covers by Maroon 5, Stevie Wonder, Bruno Mars, and more, King explained that “The concept of creating something we all love and sharing it with our audience appeals to all of us and we can’t wait to start performing originals again. I have several songs that I wrote alone as well because I love songwriting. The cool thing about Band Sanitizer when it comes to songwriting is every one of us contributes something.” King explained the song writing process in the band: “We start with an idea: a concept, a musical phrase, a lyric, or a chord progression, and we keep running it by each other until we create something we all had a part in creating. I’m usually one of the members to workshop the song at home and piece it together before our next songwriting session but each of us has our strengths and our song writing allows us to use those strengths to create something we think is amazing."
Alex King jams out on the guitar at the Welcome Back Dance (Photo by Freddie Campbell)
One of Sinha’s favorite memories as a band is the time that “We were going through the song and it sounded pretty until Alex decided to come in with heavy rock distortion and so Zack switches to a rock/ funk groove, I flip on distortion, and Charlie spices his bass line to make it fit. It sounds incredible. It was a rock song now; just like that. Alex and I played the melody in harmony and took improvised solos. Everything in that moment just worked and so that’s how we play that song now. It showed me what a group of well versed musicians are capable of and showed how well we listen and follow one another as a band. All of us had huge smiles on our faces and we bounced around playing that song.”
Photo by Margaret Wilhite
According to Sinha, “The band is currently working on recording both original songs and covers. We’ve played a decent number of outside shows and we aim to continue performing in various places from the Menlo Park to San Francisco areas. We’re working on more original songs after our song When We Leave which we performed at Lytton Plaza in Palo Alto.”
Want to keep up with Band Sanitizer? Follow them on Instagram @bandsanitizerofficial