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Student cover band fills gap in campus music scene

Chris McGrady | Friday, September 2, 2005

An absence in the Notre Dame music scene has been filled at last.

Hot Mildred, a student cover group that focuses primarily on music from 1985-95, has stepped into the spotlight, focusing on a decade of much musical growth and diversity. Many current Notre Dame students will relate to the hits from this era as songs that they grew up with.

Senior Larry Bailey, bassist and back-up vocalist for Hot Mildred, refers to the band’s time period of choice as “the fantastic musical decade that was 1985-1995.” This decade was marked by a continuation of great music from bands such as U2, as well as debut tracks from current pop chart mainstays such as Third Eye Blind.

Hot Mildred covers songs from both of these popular artists. In fact, U2 is the only band with more than one song in Hot Mildred’s set.

The band has changed names several times, and was until recently known as GASM. However, the band’s unique name is supposed to be an oxymoron. The name “Mildred” for a female is not seen as particularly attractive (although Bailey is quick to add, “It is possible.”)

On a campus that often seems overrun by talented musicians constantly trying to push their musical limits, the members of Hot Mildred have a different vision on how their music should be played.

“We choose songs that are within our ability level and try our best to make them sound good,” Bailey said, an RA from Stanford Hall.

Hot Mildred consists of four members who hope to play periodically at Legends this year. Playing alongside Bailey is senior Trish Murphy, lead singer and tambourine; graduate student Ron Thompson, who plays electric guitar; and graduate student Brian Zampell, who plays drums.

When asked why the band only plays cover songs, Bailey gives a frank and honest answer.

“It’s not for lack of ambition … just lack of skill and writing,” Bailey said. “Unless you’re very talented at writing, it can be disastrous to write and play for your friends who are forced to act like they like it even though you’ve forced something awful.”

Although Bailey unabashedly claims the band shouldn’t be writing songs, Hot Mildred still has plenty to offer listeners.

“We think people can relate to songs they have heard before,” said Bailey.

This in itself is a breath of fresh air in a musical era that is painfully marked by poor lyrics paired with mundane beats and mass marketed as musical talent. Bailey and his fellow band-mates are willing to admit that, although they are musically talented, they do not want to attempt to write more music that would just add to a pool of cliché songs.

Rather than force a mediocre song into a market that is already inundated with music that fits that description, Hot Mildred would prefer to stick to classic songs and proven hits and do the best job possible with them.

Largely disregarding the financial benefits of a successful band, the band is more interested in other things. As Bailey asserts, the band is in it purely for the love of music.

With catchy covers of popular music, Hot Mildred sets out to entertain the masses, and does just that.