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Local band MT20 bleeds Scarlet and Gray

30 p.m. Jan. 27.

How firm thy friendship, MT20? The local band said it places more importance on friends, fun and the Ohio State Buckeyes than on their instrumentals.

The members of MT20 have spent more time performing on campus porches and house parties than on stage, and they like it that way. Jake Caldwell, Anthony Pezzutti, Dave Norris, Mitch Derr and Jared Morris play their own style of rock/reggae with hopes that the crowd will dance, not that they will hit it big in the music industry.

MT20 is scheduled to perform Friday at “Snowed In With MT20,” featuring local bands My Beloved Tragedy, Sandcreek, Hollyview and Orange Willard at Newport Music Hall. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

The members attended St. Francis DeSales High School in Columbus together. They picked up Morris, the guitarist, after graduating high school and started playing at OSU parties for fun.

Caldwell, a fourth-year in communication and social work, said students are the band’s main demographic and OSU pride is very present during their shows.

“We are all huge Ohio State fans. Some shows we take shots and do OSU chants between songs,” Caldwell said. “Dave has Brutus the Buckeye tattooed on his arm and ‘Ohio’ on his back.”

Caldwell said they proved their Buckeye pride when they played a game-day party near campus that the cops busted.

“They threatened to arrest us, but we wouldn’t stop until the song was over,” Caldwell said. “We love OSU.”

Pezzutti’s parents, Mary and David Pezzutti, are members of local cover band Old Skool. They gave MT20 its first gig as an opening act five years ago.

Caldwell said they have come a long way since then.

“We sucked,” Caldwell said. “We were so scared. I threw up before the show and right after. I forgot the lyrics to probably half the songs.”

Derr, drummer and a sixth-year in sociology and Spanish, said support from friends and family has been the driving force behind their performances.

“It’s a very welcoming atmosphere because we’re all friends,” Derr said. “Everyone’s just there to have a good time. It’s kind of like a big party.”

Derr said the band’s success comes from not taking itself too seriously.

“We’re dedicated to what we do, we love it, but at the same time, we don’t let it consume us,” Derr said. “We just have a good time with it.”

Sublime, The Black Keys and The Beatles are among its influences. Anthony Pezzutti said some songs also have a hip-hop vibe and its genre jumping helps the band appeal to a larger audience.

“No matter what you’re into, we’re pretty sure you’re gonna hear something you like at one of our shows,” Anthony Pezzutti said.

Caldwell said while the band members aren’t the most “mind-blowing” musicians, they make the most of their talents with high-energy performances and a sound that has grown over the years.

“We’re not trying to shatter anyone’s universe with our music,” Caldwell said. “If you come to a show, you’ll see that we’re friends playing music. We just mesh well together.”

Caldwell said the band doesn’t have plans to pursue a larger audience, but if the opportunity came, they would love to play full time.

“We’re not trying to get famous or anything like that,” Caldwell said. “We’re just here to have fun.”

Trent Sheumaker, an OSU alumnus, said the best part about going to an MT20 concert is the party atmosphere.

“They know how to please the crowd,” Sheumaker said. “If you come see them play, it’s pretty much a guaranteed good time.”

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