The Usual Things hits stage for next performance


Courtesy of Aaron Shekey

Preview of The Usual Things

Laurel Feakes

From their beginnings as high school students to now having played more than 300 shows in the U.S., The Usual Things are making a name for themselves.

Original members Layne Knutson (drums) and Aaron Shekey (lead vocals) began playing together in high school and moved from Madison, Wis. to Minneapolis, Minn. in 2004. This is where The Usual Things got their start.

“[We] made our first record as The Usual Things in 2009 with Art Alexakis of Everclear,” Shekey said.

From there, The Usual Things drove out to Portland, Ore. and completed a rock record, “Middle Coast.” Their most recent record is Home Sweet Home, and Shekey said that the band is incredibly proud of what they have accomplished.

Shekey looks at inspiration for music as a bit of a myth. He believes that if one puts in the work and captures the ideas as they come, a muse is not needed. However, he does enjoy seeing local artists perform and kill a performance because he finds that inspiring. His bandmate Dan Braak, on guitar, looks at inspiration a little differently.

“Right now, I’m really inspired by amazing instrumentalists. Watching someone who’s so adept at their instrument to the point that it seems like an extension of them is a big thrill,” Braak said.

Braak compared The Usual Things to the “Bends” era Radiohead, The Foo Fighters and The Lemonheads. With comparisons to these successful bands, Shekey hopes to one day record every song that The Usual Things finish.

“The struggle for independent bands is paying for studio time, or getting decent fidelity on their own. I want there to be an immediacy to our songwriting process instead of writing 10 songs and waiting a year or two to be able to afford to make another record,” Shekey said.

The Usual Things will play at 9:30 p.m. Feb. 6 at Vaudeville Mews. The show is for ages 21 and older, and tickets are available at the door.