Making it through

Bloomington-based band 650North opened for Guns N' Roses & walked away from a record deal. What's next?


Once upon a time, a band by the name of 650North was formed in Osgood, a small rural town on the eastern border of Indiana about 90 miles from Bloomington.

Since the beginning of this fairy tale, the band members of 650North have since moved from their small country town to Bloomington, where their musical careers have been flourishing into a type of success only few start-up bands live to see. Since the beginning of their success, the band has been seen playing in shows with the likes of Ryan Cabrera, Sebastian Bach of Skid Row and the recently reformed Guns N' Roses.

But this fairy tale did not begin yesterday. It has been a continuous work in progress for many years. Chris Bultman, the bassist of 650North, describes the band's feeling of success up to this point in one word: thankful.

"It's because in this industry, you aren't entitled to anything. You get what you work hard for," Bultman adds.

Bultman reveals that all of the members -- lead vocalist and guitarist Matt Schuerman, lead guitarist Andrew Vollmer, drummer Josh Lohrum and himself -- came together as a band in high school. After forming, the band began writing their first album. He explains that the one-year process for making their first EP was purely democratic.

"Everyone in the band comes up with their own parts," he said.

The band unanimously lists Jimmy Eat World and the Foo Fighters as their greatest influence musically. Schuerman adds that relationships are one of the most important influences of their songs in the lyrical sense. He goes on to explain that he enjoys telling a story.

"I think a lot of the music is not depressing, but when it is, it's kind of heavy, but there is always this glimmer of hope," Schuerman explains about the content of the band's lyrics.

Vollmer adds, "Right now even, our music is a little bit different than the other (bands). Nothing is too linear in our songs. I think there will always be something new coming from us."

With a nine-track self-release of Love and Its Progenies, 650North has been seen touring in many spots throughout the Midwest, including the country of Poland where this past summer they opened up for Sebastian Bach of Skid Row, and Guns N' Roses.

"We didn't meet Axl. He kind of threw his microphone to his roadie and went to his bus," Schuerman says, laughing.

Since the beginning of their touring, the band is also starting to see the same faces at each of their shows.

"The more we play in an area, the more people who start listening to us keep coming back," Lohrum says.

Vollmer adds smiling, "We are seeing old faces and new faces at the same time. When you see the old faces there, they can sing the lyrics back to you."

Lohrum adds that this touring success didn't come easily at first because it was difficult to get people to come out and watch their show. Now with the help of, this difficulty is becoming less profound.

"Now we can post a bulletin and it's like 'wow, 650North is playing, let's go check them out,'" Lohrum says, explaining the help of MySpace for the band.

To this date, 650North's MySpace Web site has more than 50,000 fans and counting. The band members agree that MySpace is helping them out tremendously.

"While it's there, you might as well abuse it," Vollmer says laughing.

After their many years of touring and writing music, the band eventually signed a deal with Warner Music Group. Yet recently they decided to walk away from the deal after hitting a few bumps in the road with the record label.

This fallback is not stopping 650North from looking toward the future as a band. With five more songs written, another album is a current work in progress.

All of the band members are hinting that this new album will be recorded within the next few months.

"We are looking to cut a full length album in Nashville, (Tenn.), with a yet-to-be-named producer in the coming months. Some of the material from our current album will be re-recorded. Things have been changed since then. With some of the songs, we feel we can breathe a new life into them," Schuerman says.

Lohrum also begins to explain future touring plans in Bloomington.

"Eventually we would like to get back at Rhino's and get into Bloomington a little more."

"We have a pretty good fan base in Bloomington as far as all the friends we have made," Vollmer adds.

Up to the present-day success of 650North, fans express their reasons for enjoying the band at a recent show at the Ugly Monkey bar in downtown Indianapolis.

"I love their sound. Their lyrics aren't like most lyrics out there," says 650North fan Lacie Evans of Rushville, Ind.

Another fan, Erin Schuttle of Indianapolis, adds that she enjoys the band's great beat and lyrics.

"Every show, there is a lot of energy no matter how many people," she adds describing each performance.

Even 650North's three-year manager Jerry Vollmer, Andrew Vollmer's father, said he believes the band is something special. He gives an explanation of what the band is really like.

"They are a bunch of well-grounded guys. They seem to have a great business savvy about them. There is truly chemistry between them. It's just like they are brothers. They are truly like brothers between one another. They all grew up together. Here are these four guys with some talent, and it all came together. I always thought there was something there," he said.

"A producer out in Los Angeles is telling me that with some of the songs he has listened to, if we can get them recorded and get them out there, he said they will be on the horizon within the next year," Jerry Vollmer said.

After all the stories of fairy tales and success stories, Bultman adds that the band wants to perform well and have fun.

"And play with all of our hearts," adds Andrew Vollmer.

Information about 650North can be found at and

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