Band Update – Cooper’s Kennel

It occurs to me that I have yet to really write about the band here, whatsoever. I probably should, because it is something important in my life and has been more of a priority over the last year than any writing.

Cooper’s Kennel, in a nutshell, is a grunge band. We definitely have a 90s vibe in terms of sound and upbringing. Cooper’s Kennel began when Walter Sheehey posted an ad on Craigslist for a lead singer. He had a couple of guys sort of floating around and they were looking to form a band. It was late February, early March of 2009 when I took a trek from Syracuse to the small little town of Adams to audition for these guys.

I was confident in my voice. I always have been. I’ve been singing since college and really found my tone back then. …then marriage, life and divorce kept me out of it for a VERY long time. I headed up to the snowy town and met in Walt’s studio, where I proceeded to jam along with just the two of us with acoustic guitars. I remember it fairly well, which is a statement, because my memory is shit. The studio was relatively dark, it was me and my beat up old acoustic. Walt stood by and just let me sing. I think the real moment came when I belted out a solo acoustic version on Elton John’s “Madman Across The Water”. That secured my spot in the band.

The band as it turned out was just Walt and then bass player, Andy. The search for a drummer began. W practiced for almost an entire year, studying, learning and performing for friends and family a repertoire of modern rock and nineties standards. By the time we had our first show, on New Years Eve that year, we had changed bass players.

Somewhere in that mix, there was a single night of just jamming on nothingness, and the song Ten Years was born. Our first original. It’s funny, because we actually have most of that night on video, because Walt’s daughter was in the studio and began to sing into a microphone as we were making chord progressions up. If you dig deep enough on Facebook, you can find it.

Bass players would change. Drummers eventually changed. A lot of drama came and went until we settled on the current line up.


Walter Sheehey – guitars
Rick Huntsman – bass
Ryan Charlebois – drums
And me, Michael Mustizer – vocals

Slowly, and I mean slowly, we have been crafting songs. We are at EP levels now, and approaching an album. Time and responsibility usually keeps us preoccupied. We play shows a few times a month. Lately, we have settled in to one bar that treats us well and the crowd loves us. We may not get paid what we get paid elsewhere, but they absolutely take care of us.

Hopefully, this year, we begin to expand our horizons and develop that album and find a reason to promote that. That’s the goal. At least for me anyway!

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