Student band Razzberry explains how they got to success


Photo courtesy of Lou Mohan

The photo depicts the members of Razzberry, from left to right, seniors Matt Labauch, Henry Sheppard, John Yeakly, and Keith Wagner. The group has been together since middle school.

Students like to start projects with their friends. Most of these projects do not achieve success or even begin. These shortcomings have never seemed to interfere with the band Razzberry. Razzberry, a student-made band, has released a full album and multiple singles with great success both in and out of the WJ community.

Razzberry was created by seniors Matt Laubach and Henry Sheppard. The idea to make a band began in middle school.

“Razzberry originally started in its earliest form in 8th grade,” senior Henry Sheppard said.

The band has changed dramatically since its formation before high school. Members have joined and left, though Razzberry has always seemed to find its foundation.

“This current iteration of the band has really only been around for about a year now,” senior Matt Laubach said.

Throughout the lifetime of Razzberry, members have come and gone. The current members of the band include Laubach and Sheppard, as well as their friends John Yeakley and Keith Wagner.

“I said ‘yo what if I pulled up with my oboe,’ thinking they would just laugh, but they were actually down with it,” senior John Yeakley said.

Interest in music has been with the band since before its formation. The desire to write music and improve their playing helped to create the band.

“When I started playing bass guitar I wanted to play with other people, so I got together the people I knew and we just started jamming,” Sheppard said.

As with any band, the friends needed to decide on a catchy name. The name Razzberry was chosen to represent the band by Sheppard.

“To be honest, it’s my favorite fruit, and Razz — instead of Rasp — because Rock and Jazz is our sound,” Sheppard said.

Razzberry takes influence from a variety of sources, with each member sighting a different artist. Influences include Jimmy Hendrix, Oasis and John Mayer for various aspects of the band.

“I’d have to say Oasis and John Mayer as the main inspiration for the lyrics,” Yeakley said.

The choice of instruments was based on what each member knew or wanted to learn to play. This meant that unique instruments, such as the oboe, have been included in their music.

“Me on oboe and sax, Henry on lead guitar, backup vocals and bass, Matt as lead singer and guitar and Keith as lead bass,” Yeakley said.

Writing original music has been a goal of the band since the beginning. The focus of what to write has been different for each member, though. “Matt and I write all the songs. He writes more lyrics and I tend to write more riffs,” Sheppard said.

Razzberry has received extreme support from friends of the band. Band members credit their friends for the motivation to continue making music. “Without our friends’ support I don’t think we’d be making music at all,” Laubach said.

An example of support from friends came when WJ alumnus Jim Thompson created a parody video of popular music critic Anthony Fantano reviewing the Razzberry album, The Choice is Yours. Fantano responded to the video with amusement, which created mass excitement among Razzberry and their fans.

“We were all speechless. The fact that a very popular mainstream music reviewer would’ve acknowledged our work was really touching,” Yeakley said.

As a band composed of seniors, this is the last year that Razzberry will be together at the same school. This has forced the band to reflect on their time together, even influencing their current music.

“Most of our newer songs are about the future of our lives. A lot of them feel like an end of a chapter,” Laubach said.

As the band approaches college, they have been discussing how to continue into adult life. The band members are hopeful with their plans to continue the band in the future.

“We have some talks about reunions in college and possibly occasional practices,” Yeakley said.