Higher Education’s music breaks off into a new genre. A band that has been creating and changing to find their sound has not been distracted by societies fallacy of music. These three band members radiate an amiable presence when gathered with a familiar flow of witty dialogue. Petey and Danny Devaney who switch off between guitar, bass, and vocals and Bradley Wilson who plays the drums have a composed yet invigorating stage presence. Their music is an anthology of personal influences in their lives.
Petey played their music that night, surprising some of us with their abundance of talent. They sound like a collaboration of grunge, blues and rock: The Black Keys meet Sublime meets Nirvana. After listening to bad radio music where it sounds like artists are giving up, Higher Education works hard to create and reinvent genres of music to keep things fresh. Listening to them you can’t help but move to their contemporary rhythm. “Liquor Store” is a song they wrote about going to buy alcohol and getting arrested instead. Their songs differ between themes, and some hold a fast paced vocal rhythm where their lyrics are poetic. It is hard to choose a favorite song, because the momentum each song makes you feel is different.
Higher Education has played concerts at Bourbon Street and The Quarter House in Baltimore City, and Loony’s Pub and The Calvert House in Prince George’s County. Along with playing for charities they also had the opportunity to record in New Orleans.
In an atmosphere of cigarettes, craft beer, and guffaw we began the interview. I first consulted with Danny Devaney who was titillated to answer some questions. Around 2AM Petey walked in and was willing to answer the same questions. A short moment later Bradley entered the room and the festivities began. Three friends whose liveliness emanated through conversation, watched as the other answered my questions.
When did you first start to play music?
Danny: My brother and I played together for a while before Bradley joined us. So For about 10 years.
Petey: I was 19 and I played with my brother. I have been singing for 4 years and playing guitar for 3.
Bradley: I started playing music in 5th grade band, but I’ve been playing with Higher Education since about 2010.
Who influences you?
Danny: My dad who was in a rock band in the 80’s called “Forcer”. Also my brother Petey. There are too many artists to name them all but Jimi Hendrix and the band of Gypsies, Bob Marley, and Muddy Waters.
Petey: My brother Danny and our dad. Along with Sublime, Nirvana, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley, Rage Against the Machine, and so much more.
Bradley: There are too many influences to single one out, so just the will to make music.
How did you get your start?
Danny: Playing Greenday and Nirvana covers.
Petey: My brother was like you want to try and sing? But we all sucked [at first]. It’s not easy being a band, no one knows what they’re doing, but we kept playing and working at it and Danny and I knew we could get good at it.
Bradley: Clarinet in 5th grade was when I started to play music.
How would you describe your music?
Danny: Very mixed genera’s, like reggae, rock, blues, punk, psychedelic, and stoner rock.
Petey: our music is always evolving. I would say its a collection of albums.
Why do you play?
Danny: So I can make it a life long career and it’s what I want to do. It’s part of me and it feels good to be inspired which makes life easier and its what I love. There are not a lot of people willing to work hard to make good music. There is a lot of bull shit out there.
Petey: I just love it. I love everything there is about music. It saved my life.
Bradley: why not?
Where do you hope to go with it?
Danny: I want to do it as a career and play shows with other good bands. I don’t care whether I become famous I just want to be able to play shows and make money to survive.
Petey: It would be nice to do it for a living.
Bradley: I hope that people enjoy it and nothing else.
What do you love most about it?
Danny: The freedom of expression. It’s really without words. But the atmosphere, people you meet and the creation of it. Trying to make it without sounding like what’s on the radio. Also trying to interpret what I feel.
Petey: I feel so alive one stage; there is no other feeling or high.
Bradley: Playing with these two sons of bitches. [laughs]
Where are you based out of?
Danny: P.G. County, Maryland
Petey: D.C., P.G. County, College Park, and The Ville.
Bradley: College Park and what they said.
How many people/ what set up do you have?
Danny, Petey, Bradley: 3 person Bass, Guitar, Drums and Vocals with occasional guest artists on percussions, saxophone, and trumpet.
How does your sound differ from when you started to now?
Danny: It is a lot different. It was punk and grunge and Nirvana was my shit. Now we like to mix everything and we don’t like to be labeled under just one genre, we like to do anything.
Petey: We grew the fuck up and learned how to play our instruments.[laughs]
Any new albums/ shows coming up?
Danny, Petey, Bradley: Our new album “Chasing Highs” is coming out soon. No shows are set up right now.
Anything else I didn’t mention that you want to share?
Danny: We have 60 original songs and are constantly making music. There is a great vibe between the 3 of us.
Bradley: I just wrote something the other night while smoking a cigarette on the porch.
The interview ended with the whole room laughing and enjoying the music that brought us together. This was not only an interview for me, but a chance to have a good time with friends. These three musicians have raw talent, determination, and a friendship that will push them to that next level. They have been playing for awhile, which has developed their sound into a new wave of music that can’t be labeled or defined as just one genre.They are currently working on their new album. Keep and ear out for this new band on the rise, you won’t be disappointed.
Purchase their album Chasing Highs on itunes or cdbaby.com