By NEIL ZAWICKI
Insider frontman Zac Young has his hands full these days. The Milton alt rock band is finding some mild success in venues both in and outside Vermont, and he’s playing the role of band manager. Since the Independent last spoke with him, the band has earned an Aug. 16 headliner spot at Higher Ground after drawing a large audience at its June 8 show, where it opened for Chicago-based Friday Pilots Club.
“We sold out that show,” said Insider guitarist Matt Brault.
“And the audience left before the other bands started,” added Young.
The band is also shopping around its single, “A Little Less Crazy,” which Young said is topping the charts on the independent music site Reverb Nation, where Insider was recently named the number one new artist. Also, Brault said New York City-based Dog House Records is considering picking up the single.
The band is hitting the road August 8 to play with 150 other bands at a 13-stage festival in East Durham, N.Y. The “Rock Out the Dope” festival will benefit opioid abuse prevention and awareness.
The bandis funding its trip to the festival with money made at shows around Vermont, as well as merchandise sales.
Taking the band on the road led Young to take one more crucial step as band manager: He set up a chat group for the parents. After all, the other band members, except Brault, are still in high school.
Because Young is 18, he’s the ranking member, as has had to field a barrage of questions from concerned parents about sending their kids off to be a rock band in another state.
“What if the car breaks down?”
“Where’s the hotel?”
“I wanted the parents to stay the hell out of it,” said Young. In truth, the parents suggested the chat group, and Young understood the importance of communication.
They may be an up-and-coming alt rock band, but they still have beds in their parents’ homes.
Beyond parental concerns, the band is in fact gaining momentum. Brault and Young said a party car full of fans is following them to the New York show, and they find themselves signing autographs at their shows.
“The best feeling is signing autographs,” said Brault. “And it’s for people we don’t even know.”
Young added that he’s seen people wearing Insider band T-shirts around Burlington, and that people sing along with their songs when they play.
These things, coupled with the upcoming headliner spot at Higher Ground, have amplified Young’s enthusiasm for his role as frontman.
“I’m stage diving at the Higher Ground show!” he declared. “Definitely.”
Young’s mother, Linda Young, had an obvious reaction to his stage diving plan:
“Who’s gonna catch you?” she asked him. But she said her son assured her some of his friends will be in the crowd, ready for him to jump.
Young said she’s proud of her son, and believes, if the band gets big, that Zac won’t be a typical rock star.
“Music is fun for him,” she said, explaining how he turned down a chance to study at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass.
“He didn’t want someone to tell him how to play,” she said.
Young also said it’s impressive to see her son on stage.
“It’s a different kid,” she said.
Another band parent, Mitchell Hurst, drummer Gabri Hurst’s dad, said he’s proud to see his daughter in a band that could be going places. Mitchell himself played in garage bands, and he and Gabri used to jam in their basement.
“They’re all really accomplished musicians,” he said. “It’s just really great to see them out playing.”
Hurst said he hasn’t missed a show, and plans to be at one of the band’s four performances at the festival in New York. Asked if the family has considered the possibility of the band hitting the big time, Hurst has a measured response.
“I’m not pinning my hopes on her subsidizing my retirement, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt,” he said.
Insider is planning a debut album this fall, and will be in the studio after the New York show to record and mix down the tracks. They’ll be using the sound equipment and recording booth at Milton High School for the project.