Broken Sunday
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Broken Sunday


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The best kept secret in music


"Today - Music"

The members of Broken Sunday played in several different bands before they found each other in 2002 and formed the present fivepiece group. With one solid CD behind them, “Programmed Numb,” the band has opened for many national acts, including heavier groups such as Boy Sets Fire. Adam Beadle, the band’s manager, said the band crosses musical boundaries and therefore has been able to play with both softer rock bands and the more aggressive strands of music. He described the band as a mix between Incubus and Tool, “as if Brandon and Maynard had a baby.” The group’s love for Tool is no secret. One of the songs on their debut album is titled “Maynard,” the first name of Tool’s singer.

Soon they will be traveling to Detroit to record a five-song EP. Beadle said the music is getting progressively heavier but that the band is still retaining its melodic touch. Beadle had some strong words about the current state of pop music: “A lot of bands on the radio and MTV don’t have very good song writers,” he said. “When one thing works, the industry will throw it at you again and again, just with different names and faces.”
- The Today Magazine

"Local Band to play in New York"

Local band to play in New York
Eric Gallippo and Luke Marsy
Grand Valley Lanthorn

In the end it all came down to the crowd.

Six bands competed at the Intersection last Thursday for a chance to go to New York City. Grand Valley State University’s Broken Sunday rocked their way to the top and walked out victorious.
“We were confident, but we were expecting anyone other than us,” said Brad Hariss, the group’s drummer. “The crowd was especially responsive. I thought that it pushed us to play a lot better.”

Bassist Steffan Copenhaver said that the band had worked very hard in preparation for the show, “this is the deal”, he said.
Hariss, along with band-mates Copenhaver, Awstyn Powell on guitar and vocalist Joe Cislar, are understandably pleased with the prize they will receive for winning the WGRD Rock Star Contest: An all-expense paid gig at the legendary club CBGB’s in NYC.

“We’re really excited for the New York thing,” Hariss said. “It’s really awesome that anybody gets to do this.”

“All of the energy [within the band] has been shifted to this,” Cislar said, who jokingly mentioned that, had they won, he was going to get a mohawk for his free hair cut included in the grand prize. Copenhaver said afterwards that the singer probably won’t be getting a the wacky hair-do after all.

“All of the bands had a great show,” Hariss said. “It really could have been anybody.”

But it wasn’t just anybody. Broken Sunday have been together for nearly two years now. The band has a full-length album to its credit along with a new two-song demo and has played several shows in the Grand Rapids area, many at the Intersection, playing headlining gigs as well as opening for national acts like Boy Sets Fire, The Exies and 30 Seconds to Mars.

The members of Broken Sunday have recently begun practicing three times a week because of their own realization that they would like to make a career out this band. They are currently in the process of lining up shows outside of West Michigan. The band’s manager has even contacted people at MCA about signing them. As Powell put it, the band’s goals are to “tour the world and be loved.”

Broken Sunday’s debut album, “Programmed Numb,” was released last November, and Hariss says that they have sold about 600 of them now, at shows or through their Web site. The skinsman called the band’s music progressive rock and most of the heavier sounding tunes on the album definitely could fit into this category, mostly consisting of riff-based rock in odd time-signatures that the band says even their fans find confusing at times. Copenhaver cited the band Tool, as a major influence on their sound and said that they have gotten comparisons to that band before.

However, unlike Tool, Broken Sunday have a softer side, and the album is split between hard-rocking, distorted math equations and some old-fashioned ballads. Cislar’s vocals are strong and melodic and range from a metallic tinged bellow to emotive crooning. Overall, Broken Sunday’s sound comes off like modern rock bands Incubus, Hoobastank or Fuel, with the technicality of Tool. The lyrics, the band says, are often written to someone, often to themselves.
“We write to people we are friends with, people who we respect, or sometimes don’t, what we’d say to them,” Copenhaver said. Lately their songs have been about, “finding your own passion instead of playing anyone else’s game.”

Broken Sunday have also developed a dedicated following, most of which consists of GVSU students, said Harris, where he, Cislar and Copenhaver attend school.

The New York City concert does not have a exact date yet, but Hariss said that the group will be given at least two-weeks notice before they go play. He also said that it will happen in the next six months.
As for now, Broken Sunday will be playing an acoustic set, as the second opener for Days of the New front-man Travis Meeks, at the Intersection on Sept. 26. For information on that or other concerts, visit For information on the Intersection, visit or call (616) 451-8232.

- The Grand Valley Lanthorn

"Untamed Local Talent Unleashed in Annual Rock Search"

By John Serba


The Band: Broken Sunday
Line Up: Awstyn Poel (guitar), Brad Harris (drums), Steffan Copenhaver (bass), Joe Cisler (vocals)
Sounds Like: A mixture of muscular rock (sometimes with odd time signatures) and slow-building, Bic-flicking “power” ballads show the influence of Tool, Pearl Jam and Weezer – but it’s hard to pin this ambitious band down.
In a Live Setting: … this young band plays like it has something to prove. Stellar guitar work and Cisler’s phenomenal pipes fuel high-energy state show, thus feeding a vocal(read: loud!) and devoted fanbase.

- Grand Rapids Press

"Broken Sunday's Breakin' Out"

By Tricia Woolfenden
October 23, 2003

They’re getting hipster haircuts. They’re getting stylish new boots. They’ve even landed a coveted gig at a legendary New York nightclub.

More important to Broken Sunday though – after winning the top honors at last month’s WGRD Rock Star Contest – is the fledgling band is gaining the kind of recognition that unsigned rock bands truly coveted.

The Rock Star Contest included a series of battle-of-the-bands nights held all summer at The Intersection, downtown. To their shock and delight, Broken Sunday triumphed over five other local bands – stiff competition, the guys said – at the finals.

“We were very surprised to win,” said lead vocalist Joe Cisler, 21. “You feel confident when you get off stage. Then you hear the other bands.”

Broken Sunday’s roster also includes Awstyn Poel, 20, guitar; Brad Harris, 21, drums; and Steffan Copenhaver, 21, bass. As part of their prize package, the guys won free haircuts, a new pair of boots for each member and $500 in spending cash. The crowning glory is an all expense paid trip to CBGB’s.

The date of the show remains open. The guys of Broken Sunday do donw the gig will happen within six months from the date they won, and they’ll have three weeks notice. Still … they hope it will happen soon, they said (“I can’t wait to go to New York,” Poel said).

Last November, Broken Sun day relaseed its first CD, “Programmed Numb,” which is available at Aris’ Disc Shop or online at
The debut is a solid collection of progressive rock tunes that balance unconventional song structures with a listener-friendly catchiness”.

In fact, a six-song EP already in the works, and recently the group has been giving serious consideration to its future as a band. After some doubts about the bands direction earlier this summer, the band decided to stick it out. “Over the past few months, we’ve stepped it up,” Cisler said. “We’ve made that commitment.”

And, as Coppenhaver says with pride, “We have parents come to the shows and not wear earplugs.”

- Grand Rapids Press

"Broken Sunday"

Broken Sunday spent three times as much money on the six-song EP Identity as they did on their debut release, and it's clear where the money went - Identity sounds very professional, very will mixed, and very ready for radio play. Three of the songs are equal to the task: "See This Through," "Until I Break" and "Revelation" blend melodic guitar lines, skillful rhythms and a perfect mix of vocals. The last minute of "Until I Break" is itself worth the sticker price ... - Recoil Magazine, December 2004

"Broken Sunday"

Winning Aris' 2004 Hometown Rock Music Search may seem like it would be the highlight of any local band's year, but for Broken Sunday it's just the next step.

The four friends from Walker have done well in the contest before; in 2002 they finished in the top five. That finish coincided with the release of the band's first studio album, Programmed Numb, which sold over 2,500 copies. Two years later they again have a new album on deck near rock search o'clock, but did the band's in-studio skills improve along with their Rock Search results?

First travel back to Billy's Lounge in Grand Rapids for the band's first show together three and a half years ago. Lead singer Joe Cisler remembers being very afraid for two reasons: one, it was his first time ever performing at a bar, and two, he was with three guys who had been together for awhile. A videotape of the night would perhaps show the real Cisler, a quiet, timid, stay-out-of-the-way-type of guy just trying to remember the words and not knowing a thing about stage presence – a far cry from the man who worked the stage, crowd and judges to win the Rock Search last month.

"My goal is to unleash that a little bit more," Cisler told Recoil. "Not display so much of the timidness, just go up there and go balls to the wall, you know."

The rest of the band – Awstyn Poel on guitar, Brad Harris on drums and Steffan Copenhaver on bass – seem pretty "balls to the wall" already, but Cisler said the audience and the band feeds off of the energy he's able to conjure on stage. However, it took a lot of work and soul searching to get to the point where he could unleash this energy. Mostly it's just a confidence issue, cured by a loyal fan base.

"As you build up the fan base, and people come and see your shows – I mean, you don't even know them, but they heard you somewhere."

As his confidence grew, the band got better and better on their instruments and at songwriting. After their successful debut album, Cisler admitted it took a lot of patience not to rush into a regional or nationwide tour, or to not try and sell themselves to a record label. The four friends manage to keep each other in check, knowing it's a slow process and that half the battle is just staying together. Finishing well at the Rock Search and winning other radio station-sponsored band contests leans on that patience.

"We've been doing it for like three and a half years now, and just sitting there like, 'Let's go break out and start doing the regional thing' – we've been saying that for a year and a half," Cisler said.

The band is scheduled to start making that goal a reality in January or February, Cisler said, beginning by playing shows with some of the bands they met while recording their new EP, Identity. Grant Mohrman of The Method House Studio produced the album, and the band became friends with some of his other projects like Detroit rockers Arizing and Jetta Red. Look for some sort of collaboration in 2005.

As for the music on Identity, expect five new songs and one remix from their current set list. "A lot of the emphasis while recording was: if we can't do it live, don't do it on the recording," Cisler said. He added that the band spent about three times as much money on Identity as on Programmed Numb. The result is an album that sounds like a professionally produced disc, not something created in the guitarist's living room. It's clear the foursome has learned a thing or two about songwriting in the two years since Programmed Numb.
- Recoil Magazine, December 2004


Identity - Release on December 3, 2004
Programmed Numb - 2002

Current Single receiving airplay - "Until I Break"


Feeling a bit camera shy


Broken Sunday is a four-piece modern rock group born in Grand Rapids, MI. Blending smooth melodies with driving, rhythmic instrumentation, Broken Sunday has become the premier band of West Michigan. Selling out the legendary Intersection night club in Grand Rapids with a draw of 835 dedicated fans, the band released their sophomore CD, Identity, on December 3, 2004. The first single from this disc, Until I Break, has gotten strong radio play and Recoil Magazine says "The last minute of Until I Break is itself worth the sticker price." Also in 2004 alone, Broken Sunday was the support act for bands like Collective Soul, Breaking Benjamin, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Tantric, and a list of others.