American WiFi: A New Generation of Pop Rock
American WiFi performed on LCC Radio’s Grand River Radio Diner Friday, April 11.
Photos by Brendan Hamilton
Story by Sarah Spohn
Perhaps the award for Grand Rapids youngest alternative pop rock outfit should be awarded to American WiFi.
Inspired by big name bands like My Chemical Romance, Paramore, All Time Low, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana and Kings of Leon, the eighteen and nineteen year olds of American WiFi are already on the road to rock royalty.
Equipped with spot-on vocals, bouncy guitar riffs and a steady percussion section, American WiFi is made up of Greyson Bos (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Sam Starkie (lead guitar, backing vocals), Cohen Parker (bass, keys, backup vocals), and Levi Lilly (percussion, drums).
Although they’re out of West Michigan, the name comes from up yonder, past the yoopers, all the way up in the Great North. Canada, eh? Lead vocalist Bos spoke about the band’s inception.
“We got our name, we were playing over in Canada, in Windsor – right across the bridge from Detroit. We were in our hotel room, we were trying to connect to our WiFi; it was super slow. Somebody said, ‘Ah man, there’s nothing like good ol’ American WiFi’ and the name stuck,” Bos recalled.
While the majority of their fan base and usual gigs take place in and around the Western part of Michigan, namely Grand Rapids, the band’s most memorable moment occurred outside of the state. While traveling from a show in Detroit to Bos’ Lake Eerie island cottage, the band shared somewhat of a bonding experience.
“We got to the ferry docks around 2 in the morning, so obviously the ferry docks weren’t running. We had to sleep overnight in the parking lot of the ferry docks…in Cohen’s little Volvo station wagon – all in the trunk, all in perfect unison,” Bos said. “If a cop came by, they would not know what to think.”
Time aside from playing gigs all over the Midwest, Ohio and Indiana, the band has been working on recording and writing new material for their EP.
“We started putting out material like 3-4 months ago or something. And we got like a really, really good reaction, a really positive reaction,” Bos said. “And we were really pleased with that so we just want to keep pumping out the jams and hopefully people will keep liking them.”
Perhaps some of their likability is due to the fact that while the band is young (18-19 year olds) they are far from musically naïve. Subject material is relatable and the alternative pop rock outfit continues to reel in the adolescent fan base. The band describes their sound as “alternative pop rock, with a twist of lemon,” but it can be broken down even more than that. Real. Likable. Real likable.
While three-fourths of the band attended the same high school, they came together and formed a band just over a year ago. And despite previous musical endeavors, there’s something about American WiFi that’s different.
“I’ve never had this much confidence in my own music, and this much positive feedback,” Parker said.
Starkie spoke about what sets their band apart. “I feel like in the music industry now, there’s just so much like polish, and just, it’s not real what you hear—a lot of it. It’s marketed to see to people,” Starkie said. “And I think the music we write, really has some passion behind it and some depth to it.”
Check out the catchy teen anthems “Little Games,” the earnest and intimate”All Night Long” and the funky, almost-forbidden teenage love and lust rally “Midnight Air” below.
American WiFi is hosting their “HOTSPOT CD Party” Friday July 11 at the Pyramid Scheme in Grand Rapids. The lineup includes fellow Mid-Michigan favorites – Bowery, The Cactuses and Poor Boy Romance.Doors open at 7 p.m. This is an all-ages show. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the doors.