The independent student newspaper of Iowa State and Ames since 1890

Iowa State Daily

Iowa State Daily

Iowa State Daily

How Whitehall got a record deal from their dorm room

Four-piece+indie+rock+band%2C+Whitehall%2C+performs+their+final+song+of+the+night+at+the+Maintenance+Shop+on+Sept.+19%2C+2023.
Brielle Tuttle
Four-piece indie rock band, Whitehall, performs their final song of the night at the Maintenance Shop on Sept. 19, 2023.

Whitehall started their band out of a dorm room at the College of Charleston. Four years later, they had a record deal and released their debut album, “Ocean Fiction.”

“We were all living in the dorms, so we could only practice with what the college had,” drummer Davis Rowe said.

During their first year of practicing together, the band had to figure out how they would balance school with playing. Some members went to class during the day and attended practice at night, while other members would skip class altogether to focus on the band.  

“I quickly stopped being a student when we started doing this… I would just sit around in the dorm and Paddy [vocals and guitar] would come home from drinking at like four in the morning,” said lead guitar player Avery Greeson. 

After living in the dorms freshman year, the band moved to apartments in the city and practiced there, to the dismay of their neighbors.

During their time in Charleston, the band wrote over 40 songs. Most of the songs did not make the cut on their first album. They played these songs at local house venues, which included The Butter Complex, The Burrito Bowl, The Peach Palace and a bowling alley.

Lead singer Paddy Mckiernan recalled a particularly memorable house show.

“We played in the kitchen that night… there was a halfpipe out back… I ended up standing on the top, and the whole party chanted my name… so I dropped in, and then I wiped out,” Mckiernan said.

At the end of Whitehall’s college career, they signed a record deal and released their first album. The band offered advice to students looking to break into the music industry.

“Don’t stop doing it… play as much as possible,” Mckiernan said.

Rowe’s advice was to tour together as much as possible because people higher up in the music industry look for that. He talked about the struggles that come up when on tour.

“It’s hard… you’re traveling around with four dudes, [and] you can get in fights all the time,” Rowe said.

After college, Whitehall was the opening act for the Goo Goo Dolls on their “Chaos In Bloom” tour. They played in stadiums across the country, including Stephens Auditorium in October 2022.

Three out of four of the members still prefer playing at DIY house venues over area shows. Bassist Brennan Clark was the only detractor.

I’m still [in favor of] arena,” Clark said. “I’m getting paid.” 

Whitehall has no plans on stopping anytime soon, and the band is planning shows for next year.

“I think we’re just gonna be on the road for the rest of our lives,” Mckiernan said.

Whitehall’s music can be found on all streaming platforms, and tour dates are listed on their website. Watch the full interview with Whitehall here.

Leave a Comment
Donate to Iowa State Daily
$2650
$2500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of the Iowa State Daily. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, send our student journalists to conferences and off-set their cost of living so they can continue to do best-in-the-nation work at the Iowa State Daily.

More to Discover
Donate to Iowa State Daily
$2650
$2500
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All Iowa State Daily Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *