RoseMary III
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RoseMary III

Band Alternative Acoustic


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"RoseMary III at Dillenbecks, May 10, 2008"

RoseMary III is a group of über-talented teenagers from Ada, MI. I walked into Dillenbeck's just after they went on and the place was packed with energetic high school kids, parents snapping pictures and a few wiggly siblings. I squeezed my way into a seat fairly close to the front and was blown away by these talented musicians.

RoseMary III is led by the short but charismatic Wilson Cusack, age 14. Cusack's song writing skills are really damn impressive for a kid so young. I remember the crappy poetry I wrote at that age. Cusack's lyrics are deep and heartfelt. His vocals are emotive, but at times a bit flat. Cusack played guitar and organ during the show. He has some mad skills on the piano. This kid has got a future.

What most impresses me about Cusack is his comfort performing in front of such a large group of people. For being such a small guy, he has a great stage presence and was able to crack jokes and keep thing running smoothly.

One of the best parts of the show was when Cusack wished his mom a happy Mother's Day and made up a song on the spot for her. It went something like "Tomorrow is Mother's Day. Thanks for driving me to band practice and gigs." Haha.

Nick Rolls is the violinist and the violin is what really sets this group apart from other bands. He plays that fiddle hard. He shredded his bow by the end of the show.

Drake plays the drums and he really had some interesting rhythms that he was tapping out on the drums. The new guy... I don't recall his name.... was it Andy?... is the bass player, who joined the band three weeks ago. Both Drake and Bass boy kept it low key at the show.

Cusack explained that the band name came from a long conversation about what they should name the band. Rolls' violin was called RoseMary and they stole the name. There were three in the band, now four, but they're keeping the name. They had t-shirts at the show with a big III with RoseMary written across the center in a font that looks suspiciously like Crackhouse. It totally looks like a horror movie logo.

The band plays really well together, especially Cusack and Rolls who seem to play off each other. The band did a great job of transitioning between songs (much better than Kanye did when I saw him!) and everyone sounded really good. Check out this clip from the show that I shot on my digital camera and then had some fun with to disguise my lack of tripod. It was the final song of the night and is called The People Around Us. Cusack mentions that no one seems to like this song. I admit, it was my favorite of the night.


"West Michigan teen band RoseMary III on a fast track of songwriting, recording"

The eagerness of youth bubbles over in the musical approach of RoseMary III.

The first time the group rehearsed, band members wrote and recorded a song.

"It was a horrible one," admitted Wilson Cusack, of Grand Rapids Township, the band's lead singer and chief lyricist. "But we didn't want to waste any time -- we wanted to get going."

Things have been moving quickly ever since for the teen quartet of sophomores at North Pointe Christian High School. The upstart band has a four-song EP, performs regularly and continues to write songs toward another recording later this year. It showcased some newer material during a gig last month in a packed Epic Coffee House in Rockford.

What separates RoseMary III from the pack of typical teen garage bands are Cusack's reflective lyrics set alongside the lead violin of Nick Rolls. Classmates Paul Schellenberg and Drake Rinks handle bass and drums, respectively.

Songs such as "The Summit" and "When Dawn Breaks" offer samplings of their acoustic, indie folk-alternative strains.

Cusack began playing guitar at age 6 and developed musical tastes influenced by five older siblings.

"That was almost my musical-education curriculum," he said, noting his appreciation of artists from U2 to dcTalk to Matchbox 20.

As he grew older, opportunities to play in his Ada church helped build his confidence. Over the past few years, he has developed keyboard skills while continuing to work on his songwriting.

He met Rolls in seventh grade and Rinks the following year. All musically involved, the three decided to form their own band.

Borrowing the name Rolls has for his violin, they recorded four songs before their first gig a year ago. They added bassist Schellenberg after deciding they needed some bottom-end sound.

"These are my best friends, so when we rehearse, it's also a time to relax, and there's not a burden to it," Cusack said of the players -- all of whom also are part of North Pointe's drumline.

The lead singer is building on his emerging vocal style with voice lessons.

"It helps me with breathing and the technical stuff," he said.

And what lyrical insight can come from a 15-year old who has yet to taste much of what life has to offer?

"Music should say what people can't find the words to say, and I see myself as a middleman," Cusack said of his songwriting role. "You don't have to live your whole life to experience things that people care about. Experiences sometimes repeat themselves throughout life in different shapes and sizes."
-Terry DeBoer, Grand Rapids Press - (66 million page views per month)


A New Beginning-EP on Itunes now



An emerging band from West Michigan, Rosemary III aren’t your average teens.

They’re full of surprises. These four accomplished 15-years-olds, while still in their early years of high school, have already recorded a demo CD, are building a fan base and playing gigs around town. “The gigs are mainly coffee shops for now,” lead singer Wilson Cusack explains, “but we try to get a little bigger with each one. With any luck, we’ll soon be playing the bigger venues in town.”

Rosemary III’s music and lyrics far surpass your average high school garage band. The band features a violin as a key component, as well as acoustic guitars and keys, in the stream of influence from the likes of Nickel Creek, Damien Rice and Sufjan Stevens.

The bands’ lyrics definitely reach deeper than your average kiddy pool. The bands hopes for success are high, but in ways you might not expect. Violinist Nick Rolls put it this way, “We want what any band wants: to tour the nation, to do it all, but not for the reasons you might think. We aren’t going for the big house and all the money. We just love playing our music and want to play it for all the people we can.”

When it’s all said and done, we can confidentially say there’s more to RoseMary III than meets the eye, but that’s why these teens don’t rely on the eye for respect—they rely on their music.

“This song is mind-blowingly beautiful. Lot of soul for young musicians. Great song.”
–Allen Firouz (said about The People Around Us)

“The band plays really well together, especially Cusack and Rolls, who seem to play off each other. The band did a great job of transitioning between songs (much better than Kanye did when I saw him!)”
–Michele Yamazaki
Edited by Aaron Carriere