Becoming BoyMeetsWorld

The latest Cincinnati Pop/Punk band with the potential to punch its ticket would make a great reality show.

click to enlarge BoyMeetsWorld
BoyMeetsWorld

The latest Cincinnati Pop/Punk band with the potential to punch its ticket would make a great reality show. Three brothers (an animated frontman who climbs the light rigging; his equally vibrant twin on drums; their wiseass older sib on bass) and two guitarist friends (one darkly funny; one quietly intense), poised to expand their local success with their self-released debut full-length, Become Someone, prepare to perform on this summer’s entire Warped Tour. But what could you call a show about BoyMeetsWorld when the logical title has already been taken by a certain ’90s TV program?

“It’s the best show ever, and it was my idea to name the band,” bassist Brad Sulken says. “At first, it was, ‘Direct rip off? Screw it. (The band) The Wonder Years can do it, why can’t we?’ ”

The rest of the band wasn’t so sure. Drummer Ryan Sulken sums it up: “I’ve never seen the show, nor do I care about it.” Guitarist Drew Richter concurs. “I’m pretty sure everyone’s on the same page except Brad.”

But the elder Sulken’s valid point was that the recognition factor would distinguish them in the crowded Pop/Punk field. He made his case to BoyMeetsWorld’s frontman, his brother Craig.

“I said, ‘Look, it’s not just the show. You went to college, you’re the boy meeting the world,’ ” Brad says. “You’re the experience.’ ”

“BoyMeetsWorld sounds like a band that plays the music we do,” Richter adds. “We did almost change it to PigGrinderSkullSmash once.”

Although it didn’t happen, BoyMeetsWorld’s buoyant melodies and frenetic presentation could have transcended ground pigs and smashed skulls. Become Someone bristles with youthful energy while displaying the thoughtful deliberation of an older band — evidence that BoyMeetsWorld’s experience is its greater asset.

The band formed just three years ago, but the Sulkens’ musical experience dates to their childhoods.

“I started playing drums when I was 9, and Craig was like, ‘If you’re gonna play drums, then I’m gonna get a guitar,’ ” Ryan says. “A year later, he got a guitar for Christmas and we started jamming together.”

Ryan and Craig formed middle school bands, covering Green Day, Blink-182 and other Pop/Punk touchstones of the era, a trend that continued into high school.

“Before Craig left for college, me, him and Ryan were in a band, and it was awful,” Richter says. “We didn’t realize it was awful then; people seemed to like it. I remember Craig being torn about having to leave.”

Craig’s high school cross country/track pursuits netted him a Division II college scholarship in Florida, where he studied sports science, but he continued writing songs. By December of his first year, he’d made a momentous decision.

“(Music) had been my passion growing up, I had to do something about it,” Craig says. “Over Christmas break, we recorded two songs just to record them, and I thought, ‘After these next few months of school, I’m moving back and we’re going all out.’ ”

Craig, who played guitar, recruited Brad on bass and friend Patrick Bryant on guitar. Within four months of Craig’s return, BoyMeetsWorld entered a battle of the bands competition organized by area all-ages venue The Underground, which it eventually won.

Richter saw their new band and was beyond impressed. He wanted to be their vocalist, which he admits “would have been terrible,” but he filled in some shows on guitar, leading to his permanent membership. Drew Thomason was with Sea of Treachery when he saw BoyMeetsWorld was down a guitarist after Bryant’s departure.

“I messaged (them) and was like, ‘I’ll try out,’ “Thomason says. “I learned the songs and then started playing with them.”

With two guitarists, Craig could concentrate on singing — a duty he grudgingly accepted. That also spawned his use of the lighting scaffolds as monkey bars.

“As much as I love playing guitar, I didn’t want to get stuck behind a mic stand,” he says.

Last year, BoyMeetsWorld worked the catering detail for the whole Warped Tour, a volunteer position financed by selling copies of its debut EP. The band played four dates on 2014’s Warped Tour, but its hard work earned it an invitation to return as a featured act on the entire 2015 tour.


BOYMEETSWORLD plays Friday at Bogart’s. Tickets/more info: bogarts.com.