CPP 75th Anniversary Finale: Parachute

CPP 75th Anniversary Finale: Parachute


Parachute performs for the CPP crowd

The Cal Poly Pomona (CPP) 75th Anniversary brought students awesome activities that gave all of us a teasing taste of summer. Bronco Commons was the place to be with festivities including food trucks, live music, a rock wall, Euro-bungee and a rollerskating rink!

Two students enjoy the rock wall

The event started with a pool party at the new Bronco Recreation and Intramural Complex (BRIC) with numerous events being hosted at Bronco Commons, all leading up to the fireworks spectacular of Bronco Madness!

As the sun began to set, the night became alive. Students found themselves venturing from the BRIC pool into Bronco Commons to enjoy the many amazing attractions and delectable fooLines formed at the various food trucks as students indulged in crepes, potato-kebabs, sliders and more. Broncos also challenged themselves by reaching the top of the rock wall or taking on an opponent at the obstacle course set up in the field. And as if this wasn’t enough, the crowd was provided with live entertainment the entire time via the Bronco Commons Stage!

Elijah Chen, first-year business management and human resources major, attended the event with a group of close friends. He isn’t a stranger to campus events, but nonetheless was impressed with the Finale. Chen said, “My favorite part of the event was the fireworks and the Parachute concert. When I first heard about the 75th Anniversary Finale, I was most excited about the free food and music. The fireworks were the perfect way to end a great year, and the concert was amazing!”

Students enjoy the food trucks

Soon to be Bronco transfer, Ashley Domenech, came with current CPP student, Paige Quijano. As a student completely new to our insane CPP events, Domenech said,

“I really liked meeting all the great characters from Cal Poly. This school and everyone here gave such a great atmosphere, and it was really fun—a nice change from my usual Friday nights.” When asked what she had been most excited about, Domenech responded enthusiastically with, “100% the music!”

A student enjoys Euro Bungee

And music was definitely something to be excited about! With hundreds of students dancing and singing along to Parachute’s hits, it was no secret that the concert was a popular event at the Finale. But before the pop-rock band rocked the Bronco Commons Stage, I got a chance to ask them a few questions about their budding careers.

Me posing with pop rock band Parachute after our interview

Meet lead singer, Will Anderson; drummer, Johnny Stubblefield; bass guitarist, Alex Hargrave; and fill-in guitarist for Nate McFarland, Mikey Reaves!

From playing as a high school garage band to touring with Boys Like Girls and The All-American Rejects, you guys are obviously making your name well known. What’s it like knowing that out of the thousands of bands trying to make it big, yours is well on its way?
Will: We’ve always wanted to make music for a living, so we’ve been having fun, doing this for a long time. We are so blessed with the privilege to be doing what we love and sharing that with so many people from different places. We’re gaining really meaningful successes here and there. It’s really the greatest feeling in the world.

It’s been said that you wrote “She is Love” in only ten minutes. Can you tell us what or who inspired you to such a great magnitude that you were able to write one of your biggest hits thus far in such a short amount of time?
Will: It was kind of just one of those things where you really need something quickly. We’re definitely put under pressure sometimes, and we were going to play a show and they wanted something new, so I wrote the song. I had a rift in mind and I just turned it into a song. It was very simple.

In 2013, you toured with Andy Grammer, who also performed on our campus a few months ago for Homecoming Weekend. Can you tell us how working with him was like?

Will: Andy’s kind of a mean guy.
Johnny: He’s changed. Success got to his head.
Will: Just kidding! He’s great. Andy is one of our favorite people ever. He’s one of our best friends and we opened for him on his headlining tour. It was really great being able to watch him get as big as he is now. He’s a good guy and he really deserves all the success he can get.
Johnny: And his music is great too.

Lead guitarist, Nate McFarlandrecently announced that he’d be leaving the band to pursue business in school this fall. That decision must’ve been hard for him, but as his band mates, you must be proud. How do you feel about his decision? 
Will: Thank God! No, just kidding.
Johnny: It was sad, it was really sad.
Will: But we knew it had been coming for a while. The shock wore off and we accepted the idea. It’s exciting for him, so it’s exciting for us. Mike, here, is filling in for him and he’s actually part of a Parachute cover band, and no one really knows that but I guess they do now! He knows all the tunes and he’s great.
Mikey: I’d like to say I’m actually Parachute’s biggest fan.

Where do you think you’d be and what would you be doing had you not formed Parachute?
Will: That’s a good question. We try not to go down that route; we’ve been doing this for so long, it’s hard to think about doing anything else.
Johnny: I’d probably be in a Waylon Jennings cover band, but I wouldn’t be playing drums. I’d definitely be the front-runner.
Will: I think I’d want to be a teacher or a lawyer, like Mike’s dad.
Alex: I’d be on a cruise ship, just relaxing. Taking on one island at a time.

Parachute performs

Students who pursue careers in art, music, etc. are often told it’s too risky. What would you say to those who fear these careers have no future?
Will: There is no future in this. Kidding. Well, you can’t really do this expecting to get rich. You have to be at the point where you do it because you love it, not because you want money. This is something that demands passion. If you want money, you go into finance, not music. If music is really your thing, you’ll be happy doing that. Don’t worry about the money.

What’s your favorite thing about making and performing your music?
Will: I like the idea of doing something from start to finish. I love that this something didn’t exist before and suddenly it does. Recording something you create is amazing, and it’s mostly just taking something from zero to 100. Performing it live is great, almost like the culmination of all your hard work. You watch people enjoy and sing along, and you realize that this is it.

With a large fan base that grows more and more everyday, you must get nervous going out and performing in front of hundreds, even thousands. How do you get over your nerves?
Johnny: Lots of X-Box.
Will: Straight up. Yeah, for the bigger shows, we get pretty nervous. But it’s a good kind of nervous—the excited nervous. So it’s not necessarily something we want to get rid of.
Johnny: It’s a really fun nervous. We just soak it up.

Parachute performs

You guys have traveled quite a bit for the many tours you’ve been on. Which was your favorite place to be and why?
Will: I am loving Milwaukee these days. It was really just an outstanding city.
Johnny: It’s kind of like the people’s land.
Will: It is, indeed. It really is just a great city. It’s really pretty, it’s around a lake—it’s awesome. Especially in the springtime and summer!

Which bands or artists do you look up to as an example to follow?
Will: Oh, there’s a ton. Just bands that have been doing it for a while.
Johnny: Living it out on the road…
Will: Yeah, just putting on great shows and doing their own thing. Just bands who are real and keep it in the family.

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