Tuesday, September 13, 2011


George Washington, The Vampire Diaries, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Baylor University have converged somewhere in the universe to create a one-of-a-kind constellation named Sleeperstar.

This alternative rock band formed while four of its members were still students at Baylor University, each a bit of a luminary in his own right. Nick Box, Chris Pearson, Shaun Menary, Jake Lester and Geoff Ashcraft (who recently started playing with the band) now make up the matter of this Dallas-based collective. Sleeperstar’s sound is a matchless mix of alternative rock tempered by a certain serenity. Their lyrics are honest and their posture is genuine.

The term “Sleeperstar” might not be a familiar one to you. In fact, if you didn’t indulge in astronomy classes in college and haven’t immersed yourself in too many planetary documentaries, it’s safe to assume you’ve never heard the term at all.

Lester says it all began with an astronomy professor at Baylor. This particular professor gave a lecture on the Hubble Space Telescope, explaining how the telescope allowed scientists to begin seeing things they had never before seen. This intrigued Lester.

“One thing they found was that certain collections of gasses, especially helium, would reflect light from stars around it, and the nebula wasn’t spinning around anything, so therefore it was not a star. They called this sleeperstar,” Lester explains.

He adds that he always thought this was an interesting story, and when he and the guys were rummaging around for band names, the term just came to mind.

Pearson chimes in, laughing. “The funny thing about it is, sometimes when we say our name, people think we are saying ‘Superstar,’ and one time we were introduced at a festival as ‘Sleeperhead.’”

The band, who declare their official day of formation as July 4, 2007, have played shows all over the country, specifically targeting college audiences. But they really struck a chord when the WB show The Vampire Diaries used their song “I Was Wrong” in an episode November of last year.

“We were 104 percent in shock when it came out,” Pearson says of the placement. “There’s no way to know ahead of time which scene they are going to use the song in. It’s at the mercy of the producers and show creators. We were very fortunate with the scene they did choose and immediately started getting emails saying it was the best scene in the history of the show.”

The song became an instant success on YouTube and launched the band into the top 40 charts in dozens of countries across the globe. The song, which Pearson says was very heavily based on truth, was literally an overnight success for the band.

Sleeperstar co-write all of their own music and say they are constantly writing. Their most recent album, Just Another Ghost, dropped in June of last year.

“Between the five of us,” says Lester, “we have more than 100 songs that we’re just trying to figure out how to put together as a single, creative work.” The band tentatively hopes to put out a new album in 2012 but don’t have the timeline nailed down quite yet.

“If we could, we’d put out an album a year for the next 20 years,” Lester adds. Sleeperstar love being in the studio and say they also love being out on the road. Whenever they’re in one of those two places, they seem to always have the other lingering in their minds. When it comes to their live show, Sleeperstar are perfectionists.

“I think what’s consistent about us is we really, really care about how things sound on stage,” explains Lester.
“Nick is really concerned with making a distinct, full live sound. We really put a lot of effort into it and are very proud of how things sound on stage.”

If that’s not enough to make you want to see these guys live, there’s also another gravitational force that will pull you in, and that would be Pearson. Not only is he a talented front man but he also has a rather unique show time ritual.

“I emphatically enjoy climbing things,” says an enthusiastic Pearson. “At a live show, any scaffolding or staging equipment I can climb is always fun. I don’t know why it is deep within me, but I loved climbing trees when I was little and somehow that is translated on stage.”

Sleeperstar are hitting the road soon to start playing several college shows, and they’re traveling the country in style. They named their tour van “The Washington” and their equipment trailer “The Kenobi” after a certain trilogy that shares a portion of their name.

“We thought it would be awesome to put one of our founding fathers, George Washington, together with our other founding father, Obi-Wan Kenobi,” says Pearson. “The American Revolution and Star Wars are a great combo. Last fall was the first time The Washington crossed the Delaware, which was a very funny conversation that took place in the van. I think Jake blurted it out, and we all just lost it – pretty magnificent.”


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