Banding together in entertainment


In one of their latest shows, Baal’s Collective members, including Mack (bottom right), drenched themselves in fake blood and staged a zombie attack on the Wonder-Nerds: Hunt (top left), Bond (top right) and Ritter (not pictured).

Let’s just say that the entertainment industry is a form of government — an oligarchy, to be exact. Everyone who wishes to have any sort of involvement in this business falls under the indisputable pecking order. Underground, however, a power slowly rises to change this.

Senior Charlie Bond had an idea. He wanted to create an organization between musicians so they could work together. “The better we can all work together, the better the shows will be. The more people that come to the shows, the more money we can collect,” Bond said. “The idea is to turn it into a positive feedback loop where we’re all putting stuff in so that we can all get more out than we originally put into it.”

Unfortunately, “a lot of people have the idea that to be a musician, you either have to be indie and unheard of and never play for a real crowd or be a corporate sellout,” Bond said.

Bond believes that there’s room for a “gray zone” between individuals and corporations. Musicians can work together for “mutual gain.”

The organization began because Bond’s band, The Wonder-Nerds, and other Decatur bands were frequently ripped off at gigs run by larger businesses.“We were tired of playing bad shows with bad people,” senior Roger Hunt, Bond’s bandmate, said.

In 2011, on Hunt’s birthday, the Wonder-Nerds played a show at the Masquerade.They were promised a percentage of their ticket sales but never received any of it. “We would get invited by these like battle-of-the-bands-type companies, and I don’t know what the deal was, but they sucked,” Hunt said.

A change was needed.

The Wonder-Nerds, The Taft, Exiled and Cast Out were sick and tired of mistreatment and got to talking. A vague idea began to grow and take shape – they began working together, “because everybody’s in everybody else’s band anyway,” Hunt said.

“It’s almost like working as a super band,” Connor Mack, a Cast Out member, said.

This new “super band” needed a name they could collectively call themselves.

For more than a week the group remained nameless. “We were on a really bad streak,” Hunt said.

They began listing off some of the worst names they’d come up with. “One of them was the Kool Kids’ Klub,” Bond said.

Finally, they had a name that no one would refute – Baal’s Collective.

Created in early October of 2012, “aspects of the group are still under

Mack, Bond and Hunt prefer to write music first, then come up with lyrics.
Mack, Bond and Hunt prefer to write music first, then come up with lyrics.

development,” Bond said. “We’re getting shows lined up right now and then we’re gonna start trying out all the crazy ideas people have been
coming up with.”

The organization is still trying to gain its footing. “[Baal’s Collective is] just trying to see what works and what doesn’t work, you know? We’re going to get feedback from people and just play it out; have fun with it,” Mack said.

Some of the Collective’s ideas are still a little foggy, but they’ve got big ideas for creating the ideal music culture.

Baal’s Collective is a network for artists of all trades, not just musicians. They want anything that could possibly improve their shows.

“One of the things we want to do to help create an atmosphere, where it’s more like you’re there as part of an event,” Bond said. “You’re there, seeing a real performance.”

As the idea strengthens,so do the bands’ aspirations. “What we want to do is just keep it together and eventually spread it out so that it’s in different areas in [the country],” Mack said.

Bond knows that Baal’s Collective members will eventually have to branch off after high school. “My idea in setting it up was that as we spread out, we take Baal’s Collective with us, or some iteration of it,” he said. “It doesn’t have to keep functioning exactly the same for it to work, as long as everyone’s carrying it with them and staying in contact.”

Despite being in its early stages,there’s no doubt Baal’s Collective members plan on expanding. “I have aspirations that are going to go further than just the school,” Mack said.

Hunt agreed, “as far as humanly possible.”