Ripping Cool Riffs and Thumping Funky Beats, Harvard's newest student bands are...

Undergraduates are rocking to the beat of a different drum these days, according to campus rock, funk and punk fans.

Student bands have proliferated in the last year at Harvard, playing in local pubs and gaining publicity along the way. And many already boast a devoted fan following.

"Last year and the year before no one went to see Harvard bands play clubs," says Meg H. Gleason '94, a faithful fan of the group Hot Spanky Porpoise. "Now it is a new social option."

Some members of campus bands attribute the heightened interest to their diverse musical offerings.

"Last year there weren't so many bands," siad Eric J. Pitt '93, drummer for Hot Spanky Porpoise. "This year it's crazy."


And Marc J. Dinkin '94 says despite popular misconception, students want more than the usual a cappella or classical music options.

"People fear that Harvard students want to hear just classical music or something less grungy than rock," he says. "But once a scene began on campus, people started up bands because they knew people would listen to them."

Hot Spanky Porpoise was one of those bands to burst onto the scene this year. The group quickly became a favorite with students, placing second in last week's Battle of the Bands at the Black Rose pub.

"They really have a following," says Mike Tallon, manager of the bar. "They're very, very talented. They've got a horn good horn section."

Because there so many talented bands here, Tallon says he will probably hold another battle of the bands next Fall and has already reserved Thursday nights for college bands.

Long Road to Stardom

Most band members will tell you that it is a long road from the first jam session to a packed concert before hundreds of screaming fans on a Saturday night.

"Our drummer disappeared a couple of days before our first gig," recounts Michael D. Preston '95 of the band Flowbie. "We called every drummer on campus. The first time we played together was an hour before the gig and it was kind of a nightmare."

Wayward members aside, musicians say the College offers little in way of formal support for the scene.

Indeed, Harvard pales in comparison to Tufts and Brown University, which members say actively encourages a rock music atmosphere.