Last seen at Paly’s Got Talent, an up-and-coming teacher band has hit the ground running and plans to continue their recent success.
Willy & The Four Boys consists of five of Paly’s most popular teachers including History teacher and guitarist Grant Black- burn, English teacher and guitarist Richard Rodriguez, History teacher and lead vocalist Steve Sabbag, journalism teacher and bassist Rod Satterthwaite and journalism teacher and drummer Brian Wilson.
“We often tell students ‘if you have a passion, you should pursue it; whether you’re good at it or not’”
While many students have been in one or more of these teachers’ classes, they may be un-aware that every member of the band is actually married to another teacher, according to Sabbag.
The band name stems from a Creedence Clearwater Revival album, Willy and the Poor Boys. Due to the number of members in the band, their love for Creedence Clearwater Revival and Sabbag’s middle name, they finally settled on Willy & The Four Boys.
The members of the band consider their music style ‘70s and ‘90s classic rock, playing covers from bands like Nirvana, The Goo Goo Dolls, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Live and Jimi Hendrix. While Willy & The Four Boys is
strictly a cover band, yet original songs may be a possibility in the near future, according to Sabbag. After forming only a couple months prior to the Paly talent show, the band performed an impressive set for their first gig, and has since been gaining popularity among students.
“We have to learn is how to handle when someone has made a mistake, and how to roll with it and come back from it.”
However, Willy & The Four Boys is involved in the steps of becoming a band, and is still ex- periencing bumps in the learning process.
“Right at the end of the show, we had planned this great jam-out solo with a duo on the vocals, and I walked out too far onto the stage and unplugged myself, and all you heard was static,” Blackburn said.
The band members quickly laughed it off and strive to bounce back from mishaps like this in the future.
“Another thing we have to learn is how to handle when someone has made a mistake, and how to roll with it and come back from it,” Sabbag said.
While the band has only practiced five times with every member present, they still find the time to practice, especially before a performance.
According to Blackburn, before their last show, the band met three to four times the week before to finetune its setlist in order to prepare for the Paly talent show. Willy & The Four Boys practices once a week at Wilson’s house or at Paly, but is all too familiar with the difficulties that come with coordinating five teachers’ schedules.
“It was different when we were all in college and we could get together and play whenever we wanted, but now we all have families and professional responsibilities as well,” Blackburn said.
Willy & The Four Boys will perform at Cafe Zoë in Menlo Park on May 5 from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., and attendees should expect two hours of classic rock, food and drinks.
“It was different when we were all in college and we could get together and play whenever we wanted, but now we all have families and professional responsibilities as well.”
The band members are selling Willy & The Four Boys merchandise, such as stickers ($1) and t- shirts ($15) and will be distributed at their performance.
All proceeds from these purchases, as well as tips and profits from Cafe Zoë, will go to Haven House, a local homeless shelter in Menlo Park.
“We often tell students ‘if you have a passion, you should pursue it; whether you’re good at it or not doesn’t really matter and it might work and it might not,’” Satterthwaite said. “Hopefully [the band] is a bit of a model for that because this is way outside my comfort zone.”