Laker Review Live: Last Responders, more than cover band

Oswego State is known for its eclectic music programs and activities. The concentrations within the music major are audio production, jazz studies, performance studies and generalist studies. There are multiple choral and instrumental ensemble groups like the college choir and jazz ensembles. Music lessons are available to students and taught by renowned faculty, all of which are associated with the newly renovated Tyler Hall. Recording artists and bands may record their music in the recording studio in Tyler Hall, one of which is a newly formed rock band known as Last Responders.

Taylor Woods | The Oswegonian

Last Responders is a progressive rock band on campus starring Kyle Cushman on guitar, Jake Saeva on bass, Dan Litavsky on drums, Alex Seubert on keyboards and James Zufall on tenor saxophone. Last Responders’ inception all started with a final project that entails recording an album for Recording Technology III (MUS 482), which is a class taught by Dan Wood for music majors that have the audio concentration and/or the audio design and production minor. Plans for the rock band began last spring when Seubert commenced searching for a rock band to record for his project and had a problematic time finding one that identified with his musical interests. This prompted him to begin plans to start his own rock band on campus. Seubert teamed up with drummer Litavsky and a recent graduate, bassist Wes Jones, who ultimately could not commit due to a job offer in Rochester. Upon searching for the right guitarist for the job, Litavsky recommended Cushman for the group.

Last Responders began doing covers of a diverse selection of rock such as, “No Quarter,” by Led Zeppelin, “Watermelon Man,” by Herbie Hancock, and “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” by Elvis Presley. Seubert said that the band’s style reflects “original covers” by taking the original music and rearranging it to make it their own.

Taylor Woods | The Oswegonian

Seubert explained, “Instead of sitting down and making a note-for-note verbatim copy like a lot of other cover bands, I like to think that if I was in that band making the original recording, what would I have done?” Everyone puts their own individual stamp on the music, which as a group, allows Last Responders to create an exclusive and definitive sound. Seubert said that Saeva is a Berklee alum and is the most educated bass player he has ever worked with. Saeva takes things to another level with his own bass riffs. Zufall takes the vocal parts and reworks them for himself on the saxophone and excels in soloing.

Cushman is a recent graduate that began playing guitar freshmen year of college and is originally from Baldwinsville, New York. Saeva and Litavsky are both seniors from Rochester, New York, and Saeva has been playing bass for 11 years, while Litavsky has been playing drums since eighth grade. Zufall is a freshman from West Islip, New York, on Long Island and has been playing saxophone since fourth grade. Seubert is a junior from Cicero, New York and has been playing keyboards and piano since he was five years old.

Last Responders will be performing at some of the local bars in the upcoming months, and Seubert said

Taylor Woods | The Oswegonian

that a recent graduate of Oswego State, Ken Migliore, is designing the album artwork and logo for the band. Their first album, titled “Jambulance,” is due to be released to Oswego State students and the general public via iTunes and CD format sometime before winter break. It is no easy task coming up with a band and album name. Ideas floated around for a few months, but no one could settle on one idea. “Someone came up with First Responders as a name, but I said, why don’t we mix it up and do Last Responders?”  Seubert said “They all loved it.”

The band’s success is attributed to the recently renovated recording studio in Tyler Hall. The studio includes the industry standard program, Pro Tools 12 HD, an Avid S6 control surface and a broad selection of microphones.  A second recording studio is being added and will be available to audio program students beginning in the fall of 2019. “We have seen a substantial increase in the number of students who are taking advantage of the opportunities that our state-of-the art recording studio makes possible,” Wood, the audio program director, said. “All are welcome, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the recording projects coming out of our new studio.  It truly is a great time to be at Oswego if you are interested in music recording and production.”

Taylor Woods | The Oswegonian

Last Responders band members enjoy working with talented musicians and expanding their repertoire. Seubert hopes the band is something that can be continued for a long time. “I am thrilled that we were able to meet and form this group because I’ve experienced nothing as amazing as this group of musicians,” Zufall said.

Keep an eye out for band updates, performances, and the release of “Jambulance” by following Last Responders on Facebook at facebook.com/lastrespondersofficial.