By Beth Ann Downey
Like many hard-working, do-it-yourself musicians, Bradley Walden would rather refer to his band's fans as friends.
Members of Pittsburgh-based indie pop rock band The Composure include (from left) Cory Muro, Johnny Grushecky, Seth Milly and Paul Menotiades.
The vocalist for pop rock band Squid the Whale, along with Pittsburgh-based touring mates The Composure, would like to rekindle that friendship with local fans today.
Both bands will bring their live show back to Altoona at 5 p.m. at The Altoona Masonic Temple, 600 Jackson Ave. Opening bands include The Big Time, Nothing To Prove, Colleen Cassarly and Godfrey Lane.
Walden said he remembers Altoona being his favorite show of the band's last tour.
If you go
What: The Composure and Squid the Whale with The Big Time, Nothing To Prove, Colleen Cassarly and Godfrey Lane
When: 5 p.m. today
Where: The Altoona Masonic Temple, 600 Jackson Ave., Altoona
"We made a lot of really awesome friends, and the bands that played and all of the kids, everybody just had a good time," he said.
Cory Muro, drummer for The Composure, said his band has enjoyed playing here for years, recalling some "insane" past shows put on by AnEmergencyScene.
"It's just one of those small cities that, every show, you can depend on," he said.
Muro and the other founding member of The Composure, Paul Menotiades, are also currently members of the long-standing Pittsburgh pop punk outfit, Punchline. But though dealing with the writing, recording and touring schedules for two bands might seem like a lot of work, Muro doesn't mind it at all.
"It's just cool to always be busy with something music," he said. "We don't have to have a job. It's like when we're home, there's always something going on. We're either recording or practicing. If we're not home, we're on the road with one of the two bands."
Squid the Whale also keeps busy, being a DIY band since its inception. From booking their own tours to creating their own T-shirts, Walden said everything they can do, they do themselves.
"In this day and age, you don't need any help," he said. "You can do everything yourself; you just have to have the drive."
Hard work has paid off for Squid the Whale. Their latest release, a four-song EP called "new war," has garnered a lot of exposure for the band, Walden said.
"The only thing I can think of that people weren't a fan of is that it was too short," he said. "It left people wanting more, but also got us plenty of new fans. I'm really proud of the record. I honestly feel like it's some of the best stuff musically that I've ever done, and I can't wait to see how we progress."
The Composure is gearing up for the release of their new EP, "Stay The Course," next month. It's the follow-up to the band's 2010 debut album, "Strings Attached," and Muro said they've been playing many of the new songs live on this tour.
Delivering a great live set is the No. 1 priority when it comes to being in a band, Muro added.
"This is our life, it's all we do," he said. "We wake up every day and go to practice. That is our job. We vigorously sit for hours and go over the littlest parts of our live set. I think that's what sets our live set apart from other bands, that we do care about it. We don't just go out there and play our songs that we [wrote]. We really, really put some time into sounding as much like our record as we can.
"The songs that we have are very personal and real, and I think they come off that way," he said.
Muro said staying on tour as much as possible is how The Composure plans to build their fan base.
He said some bands forgo that face-to-fact contact, using the Internet instead.
"I think there's no replacement for the old way of doing it - just getting out there and meeting people and making new relationships in person. People feel like they're part of what's going on," he said.
Squid the Whale plans to be on the road all 12 months this year, while also writing and recording on the road and on days off.
"Our goal is to get as much exposure as possible so people can hear our record and so we can get people out to shows and just play and play music for people," Walden said.
Mirror Staff Writer Beth Ann Downey is at 946-7520.