Huntertones will join the The Best Damn Band in the Land for the halftime show this week. For some members of the Columbus-native band, this won’t be their first time on the field.
Huntertones will play the halftime show with the Ohio State Marching Band during the Cincinnati-Ohio State football game. The show will pay homage to different bands and artists from Ohio, featuring songs from musicians such as John Legend, Twenty One Pilots and The O’Jays.
Huntertones began as a group of Ohio State students in the jazz department who played at coffee shops, bars and parties around campus. Chris Ott and Jon Lampley, the band’s trombonist and trumpeter, respectively, were also members of the marching band.
The band started playing house shows in the basement of its namesake Hunter Avenue apartment behind Catfish Biff’s Pizza & Subs.
“It started off as a small thing but by the end of it, after we’d done it a couple times, they’d turn into these huge, huge gatherings,” Ott said.
Ott said he recalls one particular house party that by his estimate was packed with close to 100 people. The university president at the time, Dr. E. Gordon Gee, descended into the cramped basement and made a speech, Ott said.
“It was really, really an epic event,” Ott said.
Huntertones consists of Dan White on saxophone, Lampley on trumpet and sousaphone, Ott on trombone and beatboxing, Adam DeAscentis on bass, John Hubbell on drums, Josh Hill on guitar and Justin Stanton on keyboards and trumpet. The band’s music is “a little taste of everything,” and incorporates funk music, soul, R&B, blues and rock, Ott said.
Growing up, Ott said Lampley aspired to be in the marching band.
“He would go to watch the marching band every weekend, driving a couple hours from Akron like, ‘Man, I want to be in that band someday. I want to dot the ‘i,’” Ott said.
As a sousaphone player, Lampley was chosen three times to dot the “i” his senior year.
Today, Huntertones is based in Brooklyn, New York, and tours the United States and abroad with its high energy instrumentals.
According to its website, the band’s latest album “Passport” is inspired by the band members’ experiences during recent travels to South America, Europe and Africa. The song they will perform with the marching band, called “Togo,” is from the album.
Marching band director Christopher Hoch said he looks forward to performing with Ott and Lampley. Hoch said he taught the bandmates as a graduate assistant when they attended the university, and he thinks Huntertones’ success reflects the talent that comes out of the marching band.
“We have wonderful students in our group,” Hoch said. “And I think it speaks to that when two of the members of Huntertones are our former band members.”
Hoch said he views this collaboration as a source of motivation for marching band members who are pursuing a career in the music industry.
“Seeing professionals who have managed to make a career out of music in the real world could be an inspiration to those who are aspiring to do the same thing,” Hoch said.
Ott said he looks forward to the “unique musical challenge and situation” that the halftime show will provide.
“It’ll just be like a totally new kind of sound for the band to try to tackle,” Ott said. “A really cool way to combine art, music and beefing it up with 225 brass people behind us.”
Huntertones will also be performing at 7:30 p.m Sept. 12 at The Athenaeum Theatre. Tickets cost $20 or $10 with a valid student ID.