New student-led band finds its footing

Every band dreams of selling out Madison Square Garden and performing in front of thousands of fans  who are singing along to every word of their number one hit. But before any of that can happen, the band has to struggle through formation and finding their own style. This first step is exactly what the band Santomo is doing.

Santomo is a rock-and-roll based band composed of four Rockhurst juniors: David Blanck on the guitar, Sam Keefe on the drums, Gus Livers on the bass and Max Stevens as lead singer.

“David and I used to jam a lot, and we got some people together multiple times, but it never really worked out,” Keefe said. “We started to look for a bass player and a lead singer and found both with Gus and Max.”

Livers had not played bass until recently, but he has been quick to learn.

“We didn’t have a bass, so we got one free actually. It’s an old Fender Jazz bass guitar that’s left handed. But, I’m not left-handed so I have to play it upside down,” Livers said.

Stevens was the final piece to the band. He was the lead vocalist they were searching for, now that they had a bass player.

“I had been playing guitar on and off for about seven years and I got my singing experience from my three years in the Rockhurst choir,” Stevens said.

Even though the group has settled into their new roles as bandmates, they have plenty work to do.

“We practice in my basement like all good rockstars. We play a few times a week together, but we are still trying to figure out who we are as a band,” Keefe said.

The group finds inspiration in a wide variety of artists and genres. From Led Zeppelin, The Strokes, The Beatles, Weezer, The Black Keys, The Killers, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Arctic Monkeys to Cage the Elephant, they play it all. In addition, they have covered The Killers’ “When You Were Young” and Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So.”

With the inspiration and practice in check, the band has started to play small gigs at parties.

“Even though we have started to get the hang of everything, we don’t want to rush into things. We are still trying to figure ourselves out a bit,” Blanck said.

The band looks forward to the revived Rockhurst Battle of the Bands on April 16 and plans to have things ready by then.

“Our goal as a band is really just about making music. This is what we all love to do and anything else that results from it is an added bonus,” Stevens said.


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