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Band of brothers restlessly pursues rock stardom

Courtesy of Steven King

Bands comprised of brothers are nothing new, but The Up All Nights think they’re different. They think they can be the best rock ‘n’ roll band there is.

The three brothers, who said they were raised in the Wooster, Ohio, YMCA doing gymnastics and running cross country, have splashed onto the Columbus band scene and have aspirations of rising to the top.

The members describe themselves as a straight rock group, but said they don’t like their sound to be put into a box.

“I say garage rock soul if they push me really hard to put it in those brackets, or whatever,” said lead singer Sammy Dodge.

Though Dodge took choir as a child, their music is not fit for a church. Imagine a grittier Modest Mouse with a more reckless classic rock feel.

That classic feeling is something they’ve taken to heart. With new technology taking over the rock genre,

The Up All Nights have rejected the trend.

“If I have a microphone, it has to be stuck into the wall. I got to be able to shock myself with it by accident,” Dodge said. “(Our music) is sort of a stripped down, bare bones, old school rock ‘n’ roll.”

The band is a three-person act. Sammy Dodge’s brother Jack Dodge is on bass and Yo-Yo Dodge plays the drums.

Yo-Yo, whose real name is Tom Dodge, and Jack Dodge are 23-year-old fraternal twins. Sammy Dodge is 25.

“It was rock ‘n’ roll from probably when I was 4 and they were 2,” Sammy Dodge said.

All the brothers took some form of musical lessons when they were younger, but the instruments they play in their band are mostly self-taught.

“For the instruments we play in our band, we ran before we could walk,” Sammy Dodge said. “I don’t know what key I’m playing in always or what note it is that I’m hitting, but we know that we’re on the same page.”

The Up All Nights officially formed in 2007 and said their name is inspired by their all-night practice sessions.

The brothers said it was in those practice sessions that they really learned their identity as a band and about what worked for their group. Yo-Yo Dodge said the late-night practice sessions haven’t stopped and the sessions continue to define the band.

“We’re more The Up All Nights now than we were when we came up with that name,” Yo-Yo Dodge said.

The brothers said working with each other can be challenging at times, but in the end, it makes them better.

“Having a band with your brothers is the hardest way you could ever have a band,” Sammy Dodge said. “It’s the dumbest way you could ever do it. But it’s what we got to do. It’s the only thing that works for us.”

Other family members have gotten into the band too. Cousins routinely attend shows and give advice, and their mom is “notoriously” known for dancing at their shows.

The brothers said their individuality isn’t what makes them great, but their bond as brothers and the way they can co-exist on stage, that sets them apart.

“We kind of picked up the instruments to play them together and kind of invented the band around however we approached it,” Sammy Dodge said. “We kind of all learned together and made it up as The Up All Nights. I don’t think any one of us would do well in another band.”

The Up All Nights try to play as much as they can. On a good night, the brothers said they play in front of about 100 people, but routinely play for an audience of 30-60 people.

Their music is available to download for free on their website, upallnights.com, but Sammy Dodge said they love playing on stage.

“We are all there to rage,” Sammy Dodge said. “Rock ‘n’ roll is a physical thing. There is a physical element to it. We’re going for constant movement. We know how to explore the stage and space. Even Yo-Yo on drums, you’ll find him exploring the space, which is hard to imagine, but he does.”

They occasionally like to smash things too.

“We were playing at a show we were promised was going to be a big deal and I got really mad at the audience I think and that kind of escalated,” Sammy Dodge said. “Yo-Yo definitely threw a drum at the audience. It was a bit of a quiet older crowd.”

Outside of the band, the brothers keep jobs to help pay the bills. They said Jack has the most “professional” job. He cuts hair at Salon 1896, located at 1896 North High St. He said being in a band has helped his business.

“He’s always been so artistic,” Yo-Yo Dodge said. “He’s the visual, hands-on one.”

But in the end, the brothers still plan to make their career in music.

“Right now, music doesn’t pay anything. But right now my other job barely pays anything, either,” Sammy Dodge said. “So I’ve got two jobs that don’t pay me any money. But music is what we want to do.”

The brothers said they feel they’re on their way to doing just that. The Up All Nights have mostly played in Ohio, including Newport Music Hall, but have taken their music beyond their home state as well. The band has played in Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, New York and plan to play in Michigan.

They want to go further, though.

“We want to be the best band you’ve ever seen,” Sammy Dodge said. “We want to be the best rock ‘n’ roll band there is.”

And according to the band, there’s no end in sight.

“I like to say The Up All Nights have always been and always will be because we are brothers and we’ve had some sort of something for a very long time,” Sammy Dodge said.

The band next plays March 9 at O’Shecky’s Live, located at 6240 Busch Blvd. The Up All Nights are part of a multiple-act show beginning at 8 p.m.

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