Local students form band “Incredibly Real” as pasttime
As trends in pop culture shift, new fads will begin and old ones will fade away. Anyone who once owned an 8-track collection knows: nothing lasts forever.
But these trend cycles keep marching on, perpetuating throughout the decades uninhibited.
Fueled by the exuberant energy of youth, there still remains one fashionable hobby that provides as much joy as it does life lessons. It remains unhindered by these vicious cycles, refusing to fade away.
Music has stood the test of time and local Park Rapids students provide a sterling example of this fact.
“Incredibly Real” formed in July of 2012. Composed of local ninth graders Jack Walsh (guitar and vocals), Tim Walsh (guitar), Jack Bateman (vocals), Derek Reichling (drums), Logan Veo (guitar) and sixth grader Dan Walsh (bass); the group covers popular country and classic rock songs, while aspiring to write original material.
“We were all in the percussion section of the school band and just got to talking about starting a band. It sounded like a good idea to us. We all had some sort of instrument and so we thought ‘wouldn’t it be cool if we did start a band and actually got to play shows’,” Jack Walsh said.
“I played guitar for two years before we all started a band together and then the others started taking lessons from my same teacher, Alex Ziemann,” Logan Veo said.
With the groundwork already intact, aspiration became the fuel, with motivation as a spark to set the wheels in motion.
“We heard about the Hubbard County talent show (at the fair) and just started to go with it. We ended up getting third place,” Dan Walsh said.
To date the band has played at the Hubbard County fair twice, Nevis’ “Uff Da!” days twice, the second street stage (in downtown Park Rapids), the PBR bull ride, the Kinship spaghetti dinner and the Governor’s fishing opener.
Completely of their own freewill, Incredibly Real see as much fun in their practices as they do progress.
“(Practices) are fun just to hang out with friends and stuff and play music,” Logan Veo said.
“Practice originally was just a code word to hang out and play cops and robbers,” Dan Walsh said.
Although the band primarily plays cover songs, they insist original material is only a matter of time.
“When we started, we agreed we were going to do classic rock and country, but gravitated more towards the country because they were easier songs to learn. But now we’re starting to work on the more rock songs,” Jack Walsh said.
“We’re still in the process of writing original songs, we’ve tried a couple so far,” Jack Bateman said.
The songs which they do decide to play still remains a process within itself.
“Usually we decide what songs we are going to play by a majority rules vote,” Derek Reichling said. “Everything gets decided before it comes to me,” Dan Walsh joked.
Supportive mother Kristine Walsh chooses to embrace their musical pursuits. She is the mother to Dan, Jack and Tim.
Walsh sees value in them pursuing their goals, especially if it’s something as fulfilling as music. She sees music being a skill that can last a lifetime, while teaching them many other skills in the meantime.
“I’ve always loved music, my grandpa was a singer; there is music in the family,” Kristine Walsh said.
“It teaches them a lot: cooperation, time management, organizational skills. Jack even took the call for the last show, did the booking and the coordinating himself. It was down in Cold Spring but he organized everything perfectly. They really learn how to talk to all different kinds of people too; ask questions and to be communicative. All the things that go into building a little business they are learning with the band now,” Walsh said.
“It’s also a lifelong skill that they can have their whole life; sitting around a campfire, making some side money in school or even trying to make a career out of it.”
It seemingly all began with a simple distaste for video games.
“(Dan, Jack and Tim) have always taken piano lessons, since they were five or six years old. But then they started to get more into video games and weren’t as interested in the piano,” Walsh explained.
“We made the deal with them that if they wanted to keep playing video games they would have to keep taking at least one musical instrument lesson. They chose guitar and they found Alex (Ziemann), who has been really great, letting them play what they want to play so they don’t get bored or burnt out. It got to the point where they were asking me when their next lesson was,” Walsh said.
Walsh not only likes the idea of Incredibly Real, but the dedication she has seen in all of its members.
“They are all pretty dedicated. They will find a way to make practices work around school and part-time jobs each week. Sometimes they’ll play as late as 8:30 or 9 p.m. I like it because I know where they are and what they’re doing, all the kids usually come here,” Walsh said.
“One family lives in Two Inlets and another family lives in the Wolf Lake area. It kind of works out nicely that they can all meet at a kind of a neutral place. It’s nice to know they’re not running all over the countryside. There are a lot of other things they could be out doing that are maybe a little less savory. They really enjoy each other’s company,” Walsh said.
It’s been a long journey, but progress is increasingly evident.
“I still remember when they played their first song that actually sounded like the song they were trying to play. They’d been making noise in the basement, with everyone trying to do their own little parts. They had just started to play and about two measures in it all just came together and it sounded like the original song, which was a great feeling,” Walsh said.
On the current path they are on, the future looks bright for Incredibly Real.
“We intend to keep doing this at least the rest of the way through high school and if it happens to work out somehow in college we’ll keep doing it then too,” Jack Walsh said.
“I’m really pleased with the extent they have taken it to; I really just wanted them to not play so many video games,” Kristine Walsh said.
“The fact it’s turned into something more is really exciting. It gave them a focus and a drive to try and learn something new and now it’s just really taken off completely on its own.”