Three musicians from Bellevue University aim to have fun and use music as their creative outlet.
Western Electric, an Americana and roots rock band, has been together since 2005 with on and off breaks and a few lineup changes.
John Stevens, who works in the Registrar’s Office, and Scott Roth, an adjunct faculty member, started the group in 2005 when they both found themselves jumping from band to band.
“Scott and I have played in bands for 20-plus years,” Stevens said.
“Our bands would overlap (at gigs). It seemed like, I would get into a new band, he would get into a new band, and we became friends.
“One time, we saw each other at a party in-between bands and he said, ‘Let’s write some songs.’ Maybe not (John) Lennon or (Paul) McCartney, but it was a partnership right off the bat.”
Stevens plays guitar, Roth sings and plays guitar and Stevens’ brother, Jerry, plays drums.
After a few lineup changes, the band found Ryan Schmitt, a Registrar Office employee who’s been playing bass for the band for a few months.
“The members of the band are great guys and I like the music,” Schmitt said.
“I had a bass in the basement I hadn’t played in a couple years, and I thought I could get going on this.”
The band’s first show with Schmitt is July 12 at the Barley Street Tavern in Omaha’s Benson neighborhood at 9 p.m.
“I’ve always wanted to be in a band, but I hadn’t really acted on it,” Schmitt said.
With Barley Street Tavern being the band’s most frequent venue, the band has played at many bars and venues around the Omaha area, as well as in Kearney, Lincoln and Hastings in Nebraska, along with Kansas City and Neola, Iowa.
Roth said something he looks for in a band is every member liking the music they write and play.
“When we got together, it was real smooth,” he said. “Putting a band together, a lot of times, people think it’s just a couple people who play instruments, but you have to want to make the same type of music and get along.”
Stevens said the band to him is something to express his creativity.
“When you get to play in front of people and play your songs in front of people and they like it, it’s fun,” he said.
With Stevens and Roth serving as the main songwriters, the band has released two records, and are working on their third.
“Last summer we got back into writing songs and playing gigs,” Stevens said.
“The new record is 60 percent written and we’re recording late summer. “
Stevens said the future of the band is playing gigs, writing and creating more music.
“The reason we do this is because it’s our creative outlet and our recreational and leisure outlet,” Stevens said. “We have fun, we entertain people.”
Roth said he’s excited to keep playing as Western Electric.
“It’s cathartic,” he said. “You play every show like it’s your last, and it could be. We play all out and give it all we have.”