Three Midland University students are getting the chance to live out their dreams.
Pablo Arza, Will Hastreiter, and Will Yindrick are members of the five-member band “Wave.” Even though they have only been together for about 18 months, the group is making waves on the local music scene.
“I think we all are living the dream,” Hastreiter said. “I know from the time I was 8 years old, playing Guitar Hero, I always wanted to be a rock star in some sense. There’s nothing like live music.”
Yindrick planted the seeds for Wave in the summer of 2020. Amid a pandemic, Yindrick, like many others, was searching for something to escape from reality. That escape came in the form of music. “Our bassist (Nolan Jakub) and I grew up playing music together, and we had always talked about putting together a group,” Yindrick said. “I knew Pablo from being in the Midland jazz band together, and Tucker Cunningham (rhythm guitarist) and I had gotten to know each other from a high school speech competition. I was bored that summer, so I reached out to everyone to see if they would be interested in trying to put something together. We actually played a Fourth of July show together and a few other small community events then went into hiatus.”
Yindrick was the band’s original lead singer, but having known Hastreiter from being in choir and acapella groups at Midland, he pitched the idea to Hastreiter about joining the band this past summer. “I think Will is one of the most talented vocalists I’ve ever been around,” Yindrick said. “Listening to this style of music and his range, I thought he would be perfect for our band. When trying to find someone to be a lead vocalist, he was the first guy that came to my mind.”
Hastreiter jumped at the opportunity to be the lead singer with only one concern. “These guys were into heavy metal and classic rock, and I didn’t have any of that music in my background,” Hastreiter said. “I grew up hearing my mom play Billy Joel, and I’m a big John Mayer fan, so most of my music is acoustic-based. The first time I heard most of these songs was when they would send them to me and tell me these were part of our playlist. But it’s really diversified my listening and broadened my horizons to what kind of music I like. I think it helps that we are very respectful of each other’s music.”
The group has a playlist that touches everything from early 1970s classic rock to the 1990s grunge sound into more modern music. “Will (Yindrick) and I both grew up listening to classic rock like Led Zeppelin and Kansas,” Arza said. “When I first heard that music, I wasn’t really a fan of it, so I never really got into it. But then I started playing Rock Band and Guitar Hero and discovered all these new songs. Something clicked, and I started growing into a heavy metal and death metal fan.”
Their wide-ranging playlist has helped them appeal to audiences of all ages. “My mom told me a good strategy is to open our concerts with classic rock to appeal to the older audience. Then once you get them hooked, they’ll stick around to hear some of the new music they might not know,” Hastreiter said.
Yindrick said it has also resulted in many college-aged students discovering an affinity for the classics. “I think our college-aged fans are starting to like classic rock songs as much as they like the songs they already know,” he said.
Most of Wave’s gigs are at a spot in Lincoln where they have been dubbed the “house band.” Their schedule can be hit and miss because as much as they want to be rockstars, there is also the business of being college students first. The band had three shows in January and gigs in March, April, and May.
“It’s especially difficult in the fall because that’s the thick of musical season, and you really can’t be singing in gigs when you have to sing a week later for musicals,” Yindrick said. “We find a lot more time to perform and practice in January.”
History has taught us that nearly every rock band, those that hit it big and those that never made it past the local scene, deals with conflict at some juncture. But in their early stages as a band, Hastreiter can only recall one instance where there was even the slightest bit of tension. “I hadn’t been with the group very long and we were playing a show one night and I started to jokingly give them crap about taking too long to tune their instruments,” he said. “After the show, Pablo pulled me aside and just said, ‘dude, don’t ever do that again.’ I figured I was in big trouble, but all was well.”
Yindrick said the fact all five members are close friends is a contributing factor to their ability to work together. “These guys are some of my closest friends,” he said. “What connects us as a band is the energy we feel when we perform together. That’s what we all love.”
Wave is strictly a cover band at this juncture, but they are moving closer toward writing and recording their own material. Arza said the group recently completed a rough draft of their first song, and the goal is for more original material to follow. “We have plans for an album in the near future,” Yindrick said. “We want to test those songs to our audience before they go on an album.”
Arza, who came up with the name for the group, said he doesn’t know what the future holds for him and his bandmates, but they all want to see Wave continue to grow. “I would like to see things continue, but I also know each of us has our own plans after graduation,” he said. “But I see a bright future for this band.”
As for the present, these friends are living the dream of making music and sharing that music with others. “ I love playing music for a crowd,” Yindrick said. “When I’m sitting behind my drumset and you look out through the fogged glass and see people jamming and rocking along to your music, it’s a feeling unlike any other.”
To learn more about Wave and view upcoming shows, visit wavetheband.com.