(Originally published on Jan. 31, 2011 in the Pine-Richland Patch. Reprinted with permission.)
While other high school juniors were looking forward to their final semester before summer vacation last year, Dylan Wood learned he was on his to becoming a rock star.
Wood, a Pine-Richland high school senior, was selected as the new drummer for the up-and-coming rock group, Emphatic, following his successful audition in Los Angeles.
“It was unbelievable,” says Wood, who learned that the band had picked him right before he was ready to fly back to Pittsburgh. “I was freaking–it was the greatest feeling ever.”
Emphatic, which has been around for about eight years, signed a record deal with Atlantic Records. This past Wednesday, the band had their label showcase in New York City. Their new album, still untitled, is expected to be released in March.
Wood, 17, is the youngest member of the band, but the age difference doesn’t matter to him.
“Most of the people I have been dealing with over the past four years have been older than me,” he says. “I’ve learned how to deal with adults even though I am still a minor.”
Wood, a Richland Township resident, comes from a musically-gifted family. His father is Roger, singer and songwriter of the über popular Steelers’ fight song, “Here We Go.” His mother, Wendy, sings and plays the piano. His brother, Ryan, 20, is in a local band, Call to Attraction, which was founded by Dylan and Ryan.
Roger says that he and his wife are immensely proud of both sons.
“We just want both of them to be happy and to do what they want to do in life,” he says. “They’re well-rounded, good kids and this is just the start for them. They’re young and you’ll hear about them in the future doing different musical projects. We appreciate all of the support they have and we just want them to enjoy it. We want to encourage them just to have fun with it.”
For those parents who also have children with musical abilities, Roger says that if music is their passion and it’s something they want to pursue to let them.
“Unfortunately it’s always discouraged as far as a career goes, but my advice is if that’s what your kid wants to do, let them do it because that’s what makes them happy,” he says. “They’ll work hard for it. Help them out and give them encouragement because you’ll never know.”
Dylan, Co-Drum Captain of the Pine-Richland Drum Line, was exposed to drums when he was a young kid, but became really interested in the 8th grade after seeing Ryan perform with a band.
“I picked it up pretty fast,” he says. “I had one lesson and it was strictly about technique and I just developed it from there.”
Pine-Richland’s high school marching band percussion instructor/advisor, Dave Supinski, now retired, says that Dylan always took his performance up another level.
“He was a great player and a wonderful leader,” he says. “The other kids really respected him and he really earned that respect. He worked hard and helped others out. When someone needed help, he was always there.”
Dylan’s musical inspirations come from all areas of music. He can listen to the softest music to metal. In addition to playing the drums, Dylan can also play piano, guitar, and bass. Because of his strong percussion background, Dylan has a great deal of input into helping to write some of the songs for the band.
“I mainly like to write about having a good time, being out with friends, and just having the time of your life,” he says. “One of my band’s favorite songs is ‘Stronger,’ because it’s a really upbeat tune.”
Looking ahead, Dylan’s main goal is to keep playing and to never give up.
“And hopefully someday become very big,” he says. “I don’t want to ever let anyone down with our music. I just hope to have a great time and stay very positive.”
His advice to younger musicians is to never stop playing because things happen when you least expect it to.
“I never expected something like this to happen to me,” he says. “So continue doing what you love no matter what it is. Keep pursuing your dream and it will definitely happen.”
For more information on the band, go to Facebook and search for Emphatic.