MSU student leads a double life with his band Hot Mulligan
Most students at MSU might attend lectures, play clubs sports, wander the campus and hangout with friends in their free time.
However, professional writing junior Chris Freeman is not the typical student. In fact, he is currently halfway across the country on tour with his band, Hot Mulligan.
The emo rock band is currently on a 46-day tour across the country opening for bands that include Knuckle Puck and Free Throw. Freeman plays guitar for the band and does vocals. The band has been on tour since March 8.
“I went to school full time for two years and then I decided that I wanted to tour full time, so now I am taking online classes part time and I just use a hotspot to do my homework while we are in the van between shows,” Freeman said. “It is actually the worst thing in the world, it’s so hard.”
Freeman said being on tour is a completely different world than being in a lecture on campus. His double life is part of who he is, and he said at times maintaining the two lives can be hard.
But at the end of the day, he said there is nothing more he enjoys than playing a show.
“I really don’t like being bad at things at all,” Freeman said. “If I am bad at something I just don’t do it. So if I am going to do something I just make sure I try my best. I am self-motivated I suppose.”
Freeman said MSU has prepared him in some ways, but these two parts of his life tend to not collide.
“You’re meeting new people all the time on campus, but there is not a whole lot you can do to prepare going into the touring world except you just have to do it and it’s going to suck for a little bit, but you get better with it through experience,” Freeman said.
Freeman co-writes at least half of the songs. He said all of the songs are about real life experiences. The band is currently signed to No Sleep Records, a record label based out of California.
The young artist started playing instruments in sixth grade after he was inspired by bands such as Simple Plan.
“It's always fun to have people sing along, or even if they are totally new to the band, just show them what you do and what you’re about,” Freeman said. “It’s just fun to play music with my friends, so honestly I’d be doing it in a garage by myself if there was no one coming to shows.”
This is Hot Mulligan's biggest tour yet, and Freeman said he hopes the band continues to tour more, especially after being able to work with a few new booking agents.
Lead singer of Hot Mulligan Tades Sanville said he started taking singing seriously when he was 15 years old, when he heard bands that included Rise Against and NOFX. Sanville is currently living in Lansing, but the 22-year-old grew up in the Upper Peninsula.
“Tour has been good,” Sanville said. “It has been weird and kind of a far-cry away from what we are used to. We are playing to over 150 every night, so it’s kind of nuts.”
Sanville’s goal for the band is to start making a profit from shows so they can continue to tour and experience the United States through playing music.
“We have pockets of fans that are showing up to these shows,” Sanville said. “A lot of these people haven't heard of us before because we are one of the smaller bands on the bill but at every show we have a few pockets in the crowd that are singing all of the lyrics back at us and trying to crowd surf and stuff.”
Sanville said the most rewarding part about playing in Hot Mulligan are the live shows. Lately, live shows has been in abundance.
“The other guys say they get nervous sometimes, but I just like to perform so if I get to be onstage then I am content,” Sanville said. “I like that there are a lot of people, because it means that if they want to dance then there are a lot of people dancing.”
Drummer of the band Brandon Blakeley currently lives in Iowa. He said getting the band together can be challenging because of the distance, but when they do come together it makes it worth it. Blakeley said tour life can be mentally and physically challenging some nights.
“Everyone's a little sick right now,” Blakeley said. “We are kind of taking turns being sick, so that’s a little rough right now. We are all kind of crammed in the van right now, we don't have a lot of room ... so the only way to get your alone time is to either put headphones in or read a book.”
Despite the challenges of being on the road, Blakeley said the overall experience of playing live is the most rewarding.
“(The most rewarding part is) When I play a really good set and I walk away knowing I didn’t make a fool out of myself,” Blakeley said.