It was a sun-bright January afternoon in South Florida – breezy and 79 degrees. Four of the five members of Rocket to Anywhere sat relaxing, laughing in Palm Beach Atlantic University’s mini-amphitheater known as the Rinker Pit. It came as no surprise that drummer Luke Helvey was running late. It’s just part of the band’s rhythm and flow.
Before Rocket to Anywhere formed in January 2016, PBA students Ben Crane, Andrew Conrady, Joel Henson, Julian Montes and Luke Helvey were just five guys performing separately for something to do in between classes and a way to earn money. Crane, a senior popular music major from Boca Raton, Florida, was performing small gigs as a soloist until he began receiving requests for a full band. Crane, now the band’s lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist, recruited Conrady first.
“I wanted to play with ‘the’ Ben Crane,” said Conrady, the synths player, who remembered how excited he was since he was only a freshman at the time Crane asked. Henson and Helvey were the next to join, and finally Montes more or less stumbled into the group. The background vocalist and bass guitarist followed the band to a rehearsal just to hear them play, and next thing he knew, he was filling in for a band member who couldn’t make it.
“I never stopped filling in,” Montes said.
Since Rocket to Anywhere formed, they have performed on the same internet show as Mumford and Sons and Ed Sheeran, and were the first band to perform at the “Southern White House,” President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago mansion and club. They also have recorded and EP – “Coast” – which is scheduled for release in the spring. The band will perform at the Delray Beach Open tennis tournament for the second year in a row starting Friday and continuing through the 26th.
The band will also perform in Battle of the Bands on March 9 at Bowery Palm Beach at CityPlace. The winner will receive a spot in the 2017 SunFest Lineup.
While the experiences are both impressive and memorable, all band members noted it wouldn’t be the same if not for the close relationships that have developed among them.
“These are some of my best friends … we’ve had some really great experiences and it’s amazing to do that with your best friends,” said Conrady, a junior communications major.
Henson, the lead guitarist and a junior popular music major, had no hesitation about his favorite aspect of being in a band. “I’m never happier then when I’m on stage playing music so it gives me a great outlet to continually do that with guys I really enjoy playing with,” he said.
“I like the whole brotherhood of it,” said Helvey, the sophomore drummer. “We’re all pretty close… we practice late into the night and when our creative juices are flowing, it just brings us closer together as a band.”
Rocket to Anywhere mainly performs original material, covering just a couple popular songs in a 10-song set. Crane drafts and writes the music before taking it to Montes to gauge the adaptability for the band. The piece then gets brought to the group as a whole for arrangement and practice before finally making it into the set list.
Crane appreciates that with the band, they can create something bigger than themselves – something with which others can immediately connect.
“A piece of art, or a speech, or a song, or a lyric, something so small can affect so many people or even affect one person in such a big way. To be a part of that is really a privilege,” he said. “That’s why I do it.”
Can’t wait for the EP? Listen to Rocket to Anywhere here.