Topeka blues band gives tips on music scene

Deana Smith

Breaking into the music scene can be a daunting task for a musician or band.

But Josh Vowell and the Rumble, a local Topeka blues band, has made the leap. The band resides at the new Live Music Institute at 17th and Fairlawn.

The band consists of Vowell (vocals/guitar), Myrl Brown (bass) and Mike Lindsay (drums), and has been together for 10 months, but the members have known each other and been in the music scene with different bands for much longer. These three have made music their lives, but it isn’t all fun and games.

They were originally a cover band, but eventually decided to create their own brand of music. They expanded into writing their own songs and their shows are now a mixture of their covers and original music.

“Playing other people’s music is cool, but eventually you will want to create your own,” said Vowell.

Beginning to write and compose original music isn’t the only catch to trying to make it at the music game. A hidden side that many people may not think about is all the work that goes into getting a gig. Bands have to get ahold of elusive bar and venue owners, and it can be difficult to get the right person, especially if they don’t know who you are.

The band said that technology helps in this department greatly. Where you used to have to pay $80-$100 to put together a promotional packet, you can now simply use a Web site. Once you get a gig, you have to be able to get your gear, such as instruments and sound equipment, and the band to the venue.

“When we go to a gig, the playing is for fun,” said Lindsay. “The packing and unpacking is what they pay us for, in my opinion.”

The band also gave three good pieces of advice for those serious about trying to break into music: Firstly, You must be dedicated and have discipline. Secondly, there has to be some kind of chemistry in the band. Thirdly, be prepared to sacrifice, be it time, money or making a compromise. These things don’t happen all at once.

As for Josh Vowell and the Rumble, they won V100’s top cover band in 2008, have regular shows in the Topeka and surrounding area, and are looking forward to an original album that is in the works. Check them out at