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On the Bright Side was the brainchild of then 14 year-old, Amanda Rain (vocals, guitar, and keyboards). Amanda, singing since the age of 3, discovered her passion for songwriting at age 12. Her influences are varied. Early on Amanda listened to music atypical of kids her age, favoring Ryan Adams, the Civil Wars, and Regina Spektor over the trendier and more disposable music most middle schoolers preferred. Her drive and determination to share her music with the world led to the formation of OTBS. Amanda began writing and recording music with Sean O’Keefe (Guitar) and Kevin O’Keefe (Bass).
Kevin and Sean both come from years of the New York City hard rock scene (Barfly, Mind Riot, Kill City, Daddy Long Leg), playing every club from CBGB to the Limelight and more. Kevin recorded for RCA records and spent time working at Atlantic Records while Sean did a variety of production, studio, and stage work, most notably with Toy Specialist.
Amanda met Trevor Davis (Drums) at Hickory Middle School, in Chesapeake Virginia. Finding they had a common interest in doing something different from the typical pop-punk bands that were all the rage at the time, Amanda invited Trevor to join the group. With the band set, OTBS started gigging almost immediately. Most of the venues were small bars and clubs, places generally not accustomed to having middle school students as part of the musical entertainment! Looking for a little more edge, they added then 17 year old (and self-described Randy Rhoads addict) Sal Casey on guitar.
The first OTBS CD was produced and engineered by Sean and Kevin. It was mixed by Matt Anthony (Halestorm, Pat Monohan, and Shinedown among others) at Engine Sound Studios in New York. The result, Fingers Crossed, was released on October 16, 2012. With the release of Fingers Crossed the band began playing more high profile gigs, sharing a stage with bands as varied as Halestorm and Sublime. They have become regulars at the Norva, a venue recently awarded by Rolling Stone Magazine as the” Number One small venue in America.”
As Amanda’s songwriting began to mature, she realized that she needed more “noise” and began looking for more instrumentation to layer her music, giving it more tension and depth. Introducing the one and only, Rocky!
Few people can exist with just one name but Rocky pulls it off perfectly. She is a multi-instrumentalist, focusing on violin in OTBS. She also contributes percussion, guitar, and background vocals. Whatever you do, don’t call Rocky’s violin a “fiddle!” She is extremely versatile, often playing beautiful melodies followed by loud distortion and feedback in the same song.
With this change in direction came more changes in personnel. The contributions of Sal Casey and Trevor Davis will always be appreciated and we wish them well. Lee Hutt joined the band in October of 2013 on drums. Lee is an incredible talent, not limited by style or genre. Quite the showman, Lee will surely be a sight to see when OTBS begins touring next year.
Cris Pelausa officially joined the band in early 2014. A classically trained musician, Cris’ musical tastes range from Slayer to Segovia. He has bachelors and masters degrees in music education and has been teaching both public elementary schools and private lessons for almost a decade. Cris hopes to take facets from all his influences to create something unique with OTBS.
Currently in the studio recording its sophomore effort, the band looks forward to a busy 2014. Keep checking back here for details on shows and music releases. Looking forward to seeing you all at a show real soon!