Stranger Than Fiction Is Rhetorical Music

It’s common knowledge that AHS English teachers Mr. Brekke, Schmidt, Greenlaw, and Webb have already reached celebrity status from their impressive solo careers as musicians. “We’re so lucky to get to hear Schmidt play every Friday,” junior Katrina Henderson said. “I got him to sign a record once, it was totally awesome.” But not many people are aware that together they form a band that rivals both the ingenuity of the Beatles and the stage presence of The Rolling Stones. Together they are known as Stranger Than Fiction. Stranger Than Fiction’s rise to stardom is an inspirational story riddled with fame, fortune, and music.“We formed two years ago,” said frontman and band spokesperson Reggie Greenlaw. “It was the summer before last. The Library offered us a gig at Bandshell [Park], so we got together.” And just like that, Stranger Than Fiction was born. Little did Greenlaw know, their small gig at Bandshell would create one of the most famous bands of the 21st century. Stranger Than Fiction mainly covers hits from the 70’s, but they have a wide range of easy-listening music. “We mostly play a bunch of old hippie folk music.” bass player James Webb said. At their last show, where they played during the SHEPH Hunger Banquet, they covered Sympathy For The Devil by the Rolling Stones, and Little Lion Man by Mumford and Sons. “We consider The Beatles, The Byrds, and Bob Dylan as our major influences,” Greenlaw said. Though they come from similar music backgrounds, each member of Stranger Than Fiction brings his own unique talents to the band. Joe Brekke, the band leader, plays guitar and harmonica (sometimes simultaneously), and is lead vocalist. He draws most of his influence from 70’s music, mainly Bob Dylan. “Brekke stopped buying records like 15 years ago,” Webb added. Del Schmidt, the sensitive one, also plays guitar and harmonica, and also does backup vocals. Schmidt has played music most of his life and was in a band during his college years. Reggie Greenlaw, the front man, has a wide range of instruments under his musical wingspan including guitar, mandolin, auto-harp, bass, and (probably most impressive) the hammer dulcimer, which is essentially a crazy piano from before pianos existed. Greenlaw has played at an assortment of live events from weddings to renaissance festivals. And lastly, James Webb, the cute one, was recruited as a bass player after Stranger Than Fiction’s initial success at Bandshell. Webb, the youngest and most bald of the group, has had the most professional experience. “From early college years to about three or four years ago, I was still actively in bands and recording,” Webb said. “I’ve been into music for a long while, and toured back in the day.” Because of their incredible success and touring schedule, Stranger Than Fiction rarely has time to play. “[We] basically only practice when we have a show,” Webb said. “Every now and again we’ll jam.” Stranger Than Fiction has played two shows at Bandshell park, at the request of the Ames Public Library. They have also been modest enough to play free shows for the staff at the school, that is when they’re not too busy being on rock star tours. Their most recent show was at the SHEPH Hunger banquet, where they played with local band Matt Granola And The Crunchy Oats in the AHS cafeteria. Though they don’t play much in the Ames area, they will if requested, or as Greenlaw put it: “If called upon, we can be musical amigos.” If you get the chance, go see them. There probably won’t be many opportunities once their egos inflate to inhuman proportions from all the fame and fortune. Better hurry, I think their 4th album just went platinum!