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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

NE musician juggles school, job to perform with band

It’s an eventful Friday night as the lights go dim, the room dark as can be, packed with people.

Within seconds, bright lights flash. People begin to scream. And with a strum of a guitar, their attention is directed to the stage.

With the count of one, two, three, Black Wax Midget band members do what they love most, performing for their fans.

It is not easy balancing a full-time college schedule and a full-time job. Add playing bass in a rock band. It is tough, but the love of the music makes Richie Keller take on this task. Keller is a student on NE Campus working on a degree in radio television and broadcasting.

“I love music so much. It is what I want to do with my life,” he said.

While the rest of the band members are in their mid-30s to early 40s, Keller is merely 24 years old and looks like a bit of a misfit on stage. Years ago, when Keller looked for a band to join, he registered on a Web site.

“I was only 15, and you had to be 18 to register, so I lied about my age,” he said. “I said I had played the bass for five years when I had only been playing for over a year on my profile.”

A band on the Web site looking for a bass player called Keller.

“I went to the audition, and these guys were all 10 years older than me,” he said. “They knew I had not played the bass for five years, but they said if I was willing to work hard, they needed a bass player, so they let me join.”

He has played bass ever since. Keller also plays guitar and keyboards but plays bass in the band.

“The bass is the coolest ’cause no one expects them to be cool,” he said.

When asked about the band’s name, Keller explained the lead singer worked in the food industry and often added wax to seal cheese. After some experimentation, the band settled on Black Wax Midget. Keller says the band plays an array of hard rock, punk and metal in gigs around the Metroplex.

Keller’s first instrument was the tuba, which he played in middle school. He has played guitar for 12 years since he received his first guitar from a pawnshop as a birthday present. He writes a lot of the music the band performs.

Keller says the only drawback to playing in a band is the huge amount of work involved trying to make sure each band member is on the same page.

“Being in a band and playing music is really fun, but it is also like being in a relationship,” he said. “Sometimes it can be frustrating, but it is very dynamic. It’s kind of hard to put into words, but playing music is fun.”

Keller lists The Pixies, Metallica, The Smiths and The Cure as some of his musical influences. Playing music on stage is Keller’s idea of communication with the fans and audience.

“I love watching the band play,” said fan Brooke Mellegard. “I try to see Richie and Black Wax Midget as often as I can.”

Another fan, Kacy Sowell, agrees with Mellegard and considers herself a huge fan.

“I have been following the band for about a year,” Sowell said. “I love watching them perform. They are really good at getting the audience involved.”

Keller and Black Wax Midget band perform at the Liquid Lounge in Dallas April 16. Their Web site is myspace.com/blackwaxmidgetmusic

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