A Brush With Rock Bottom

The Local Band Taking Pinkerton Academy By Storm

Laurabeth Bestwick, Student Journalist

“I’m either gonna do this [play music] or I’m gonna die trying.”

Liam Hansen is the lead singer of Rock Bottom, a local band which is beginning to gain popularity among some of the students at Pinkerton as they cover songs as well as perform their own original music. 

All three members of the band have a strong love and passion for music, what it feels like to perform, all the influences that led them to where they are now, and where they plan to go from here. 

It all started when Hansen met Kevin Plak, the drummer, through a common friend. They cycled through multiple bassists before Hansen’s best friend, Will Boisvert, took the job. One of those temporary bassists was Ben Ferrari, a member of the band Cozy Throne, with whom Rock Bottom has performed a number of times, proving that this business is about more than just the music. 

They played early in January at the Tupelo Music Hall in Derry for Pizzastock, an event which features multiple acts and advocates for suicide awareness. It started in 2017 as a tribute to Jason Flood, a Pinkerton Academy student who lost his life to suicide in 2016. Every member of Rock Bottom is a strong supporter of Pizzastock, and they advise fans to support it as well. 

Through local events like Pizzastock, Rock Bottom has started to gain some popularity, but everyone has to start somewhere. Each member of the band has a story about where their passion for music first began, and they all take inspiration from different musicians and genres which now influence them as artists.

“I think the band that made me fall in love with music when I was a kid was Queen.”

Hansen also had personal experience with the scene from a young age. In middle school, his older sister would take him to local music shows, one of which being the first place he met Ben. 

Along with Queen, Hansen adds that he takes inspiration from Nirvana, Eddie Van Halen, Michael Schenker, and Brian May. Plak said his biggest influences in music are John Bonham and Nate Smith. 

“In general I take influence from every single piece of music that I listen to and enjoy,” said Boisvert. He believes that every artist he listens to impacts him somehow, so he doesn’t value the influence of one more than another. 

With this influence, Rock Bottom has created about five originals which they play at shows, but so far haven’t officially released anything. They’ve been digging through Hansen’s reservoir of songs, catching up with Boisvert as the new bassist before they dive into recording.

Every member has different ideas of what they want to do in life, whether it be music or something else.

“I want to be able to at some point make a liveable wage off of writing and performing my own music, so any opportunity with any band that I enjoy is about as serious as any other one. I’m in a couple of bands and they’re all kind of… equal opportunities,” said Boisvert.

Since he was really young, Hansen has always had an interest in making music. Rock Bottom is his only current band, but he’s also released solo projects on SoundCloud, and says he’s planning to write more. At the moment, he doesn’t want to do anything but be a musician.

Plak said he sees music as “a very serious hobby.” Music isn’t exactly do or die for the drummer, but he still gives his all to the band at every show they play.

“I really enjoy when a performance goes well and the audience seems to be engaging with you and having as much fun as you are. It doesn’t even feel like you’re performing for them, it kind of just feels like it’s your turn to talk at a party,” Plak explained. 

Some of the band’s original songs raise awareness for issues such as misogyny and suicide, but in general, Hansen says that they’re “just trying to make music that is good.” They create what they want, often letting the process take them where it will rather than forcing a specific outcome.

No matter what they plan to do with it, every member of Rock Bottom has a passion for music that runs deep. Right now, they’re all filled with potential, fuelled by the feeling that their art gives them and the way that it affects others. 

“When you’re in a band, and it’s the songs that you chose,” said Hansen, and you’re the one playing it, and people are there to enjoy what you’re doing, you just feel supersonic.”