Jay Walker and the Misdemeanors
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Jay Walker and the Misdemeanors

Eagan, Minnesota, United States

Eagan, Minnesota, United States
Band Alternative Rock


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Jay Walker and the Misdemeanors @ Eagan Market Fest @ Cascade Bay

Eagan, Minnesota, USA

Eagan, Minnesota, USA

Jay Walker and the Misdemeanors @ 400 Bar

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Jay Walker and the Misdemeanors @ University of Minnesota Super Block

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



Though the band carries his name, Jay Walker wasn’t initially sure he wanted to be part of Jay Walker and the Misdemeanors. The band, then consisting of Michael Reynolds (guitar), Iaan Reynolds (bass), and Brendan Troy (drums), was looking for a singer and Jay was looking to do anything but sing. Still, Jay figured he’d give the group a try—and loved it.

JWatM has moved up from high school proms and graduation parties to performing at more popular venues including the Dinkytowner and the Varsity Theater. Part of their rise to success can be credited to *radio play by local DJ JP the Radioslave, but it largely rests in the band’s energy and passion for their music. Originally inspired largely by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the band now cites Kings of Leon as one of their major influences. They describe their own music as continually morphing, but mainly “alt-rock with a dash of soul.” Less precisely, it’s groovy rock—hard to dance to but good for grooving!

Fans aren’t the only ones grooving to the music. All four members of the band, now with Jeff Fitzpatrick as their new drummer, fly through practice sessions with uncontrollable smiles. The Reynolds brothers rock out as their fingers fly over the frets, Jay starts conducting with his hands throughout each song, and Jeff just looks giddy to be drumming in the band.

The practices are highly intense and chaotic. Self-described as having ADD, the band segues seamlessly from rehearsing songs, to jam sessions, to guitar and drum solos. “Here’s a snippet,” Jay says, leaning forward conspiratorially. He and Iaan are sitting patiently as Michael and Jeff play their hearts out. Before Jay can finish, Iaan jumps in. “Michael is always doing solos because he’s really good.”

“And Jeff’s like Michael,” Jay finishes. “Me and Iaan hold the fort down.” He gestures at the other two. “They have no idea what we’re talking about.” And they don’t—both are lost in their music. Eventually the four get back on track and begin to work on developing a melody for a new song, but the cohesion holds for mere moments. Instead of a new melody, Iaan starts creating a rap about Little Red Riding Hood and Michael breaks into another guitar solo.

“See, ADD.”

After waiting for Michael to stop playing, Jay throws a stress ball and hits the switch on Michael’s amp. Michael, who’s already holding his own stress ball, tries to grab the second but Jay beats him to it. “It’s like Lance Armstrong. You only need one,” Jay tells him. They decide to finish the song the next day.

The band proudly states that it doesn’t just have one voice but four. “Iaan and I have a definite voice in what we play,” Michael says. “The bass drives everything and the guitar makes it sound beautiful,” Iaan pipes in. Michael thanks him and it’s easy to see the deep connection that holds the band together though half are still back in high school.

If they hadn’t stayed together, all agree their lives would suffer. “We didn’t play near as many shows last year as we did the year before and it was depressing. The band is my outlet for my extroversion and my creativity and if it weren’t there I’d go crazy,” Jay says.

“If it weren’t there, I’d have no self-confidence. Being in a band, it doesn’t matter that I was never good at a sport in my life, because I’m in a band,” Iaan adds.

“Also, we’d have no women in our lives.” Michael grins as he says this. His words are hard to believe, as they come from a talented guitarist/lyricist, who is also pre-med at the U and works as a model.

The high-on-life sensation of performing is another perk. “It’s so fun! It’s electric and you can feel the energy—it’s like an electric storm.” Jay’s eyes come alive when he says this, giving a sense of the energy he speaks of.

For Iaan, the best is “the beginning of the show when I overexert myself. I just go nuts. Like after Serenade, I always think to myself that there’s no way I’m going to make it through the show playing like this. And then I do.” Serenade is “probably the song I like the most and everyone hates.”

“My sister likes it,” Jeff argues.

“Does your sister like Akon?” Jeff nods and the band cackles.

At the next practice session, the group makes progress on the melody of the new song. It’s not easy, as the practice runs in typical ADD format. Jay begins by announcing they are going to write a new melody. Instead, Iaan starts playing Islands in the Sun by Weezer.

“Can we please make a new melody?” Jay begs. Iaan argues that they need Michael first, but Jay insists. By the time Michael arrives, they have developed a wordless melody. Now complete with all four members, the band does the first raw version of the song.

“That’s tight,” Michael says when they finish. Though Michael was referring to the new piece, his words describe the band as a whole. Not only do their free flowing practice sessions churn out an incredible array of music, but they interact as a tightly knit group. Throughout the sessions they perpetually finish each others’ thoughts and break into harmony without any apparent cues. Though Jeff’s still learning both the songs and the history of the band, he’s an enthusiastic participant.

It’s 7:15 and Jeff is supposed to go celebrate his birthday. He tells everyone he’s leaving, but fifteen minutes later he’s still drumming as the band finishes another spontaneous jam session. “I’m glad I stayed for that,” he says as he really does head out the door. “I don’t want to leave.”

Eventually other things—food, debate, other friends—pull the four out of the little cave they practice in, but the band is always their waiting for them. The group is an unusual union of a varsity basketball player, high school philosopher, pre-med sophomore, and an enterprising business student, but their shared passion for music is beautiful.

*Correction: JWatM was not aired by JP the Radio Slave. He did, however, play a pivotal role as mentor to the group. - The Wake Magazine

Fans crowd the stage as Jay Walker and the Misdemeanors perform during a “Bring the Noise” event March 16 at Eagan’s Oasis Teen Center. Bassist Ian Reynolds (right) performs with his band, one of three performing groups at the event. - Scott Theisen

So, I hear you guys are high schoolers and early college folk. You sure don't sound like it. You sound more like seasoned vets. You make me wish I had tried to learn to play guitar much earlier in life rather than now, in the boring post-college afterlife. I don't see you guys staying undiscovered (in real life - not just on thesixtyone) for too much longer...

- Lankysob (Frequent Contributor to www.thesixtyone.com)

Just also wanted to let you guys know that you guys sound amazing...I listen to a lot of indie and alt-rock and you guys might be the best new thing I have heard in a while so I would love to do anything I could to get you guys out there so you guys get some exposure. - Maxwell Bowman

If you want a new band that has an amazing sound than look no further... The vocals and bass lines channel the RHCP, while I have to say I like these guys guitar better. I hope these guys put out a full sized album soon so I can hear what else these guys have. These will amazing to follow over their careers as they play more music.

The drums and guitar are defff on point and the sound is so catchy.

Great CD!! I love the music and the beats!! Great lyrics!! Awesome! - Random Fans that Purchased via iTunes


Petty Crimes and Funky Rhymes (2006)
Jay Walker and the Misdemeanors (2007)
-Featured on the Blissfully Ignorant Radio Podcast



The Mars Volta and The Meters had a secret lovechild… and its name is Jay Walker and the Misdemeanors. But the secret’s out.

An electrifying blend of soulful vocals, amped rock rhythms and classic funk influences is sure to take the listener for more than just a quick spin around the block. Each lyric tells a story, and every set has a life of its own; crashing from outer space into the deepest depths of the ocean and stopping everywhere in between.

Originally formed in 2006 by South African brothers Michael and Iaan Reynolds, (and later joined by schoolmates Jay Walker and Jeff Fitzpatrick), Jay Walker and the Misdemeanors debuted their unique sound in a fashion too cliché to be fabricated; their high school prom. Several months, and only a handful of shows after their opening performance, JWatM released their first recording, entitled “Petty Crimes and Funky Rhymes.” Despite the bootleg quality and generally low production value of the recording, the group sold over 300 copies within just a few weeks of its release. Their hometown of Eagan, Minnesota seemed to frenzy over the newly formed group, and the buzz made its way to Drive 105FM radio DJ JP the Radio Slave. Taking on the roll of a mentor, JP encouraged them to play anywhere and everywhere, (and to choreograph a dance routine for an encore, among other things.) Still paving their way through high school, the band managed maintaining good marks, staying competitive in their sport and competitive speaking captainships, and being heavily involved in other extra-curricular activities. All the while, they also made time for writing songs and performing live to feed the hunger of their faithful and ever growing following. After working intensively with Record Producer Nate Giller and his Fridley, MN based production company Nate Giller Productions, they have since released a professionally recorded, self-titled EP with matching merchandise, won more than their fair share of band battles, and electrified audiences from some of the area’s most notable stages. Jay Walker and the Misdemeanors have begun to make a footprint on the Twin Cities music scene. More is soon to come.