First time for everything

By: By William R. Toler - Editor
Blindsighted plays its first show May 19 at Macabees in Rockingham. From left, James Rachels (bass), Andrew Valenzuela (guitar, vocals), Stephen Wyand (drums) and Jerry Kaifos (guitar).
A view from behind the band.
James Rachels plucks the low notes.
Jerry Kaifos strums the rhythm part before going into a solo.

ROCKINGHAM — In March 2015, Richmond County was introduced to blind drummer Stephen Wyand.

At the time, he was 22 and trying to put a band together, practicing in a converted pool house behind his home — and pool.

By the following November, he had a few sit-ins under his belt and had added a few new bandmates. Although T-shirts had been made, that band eventually didn’t work out.

Wyand continued to attend local music gigs, taking along a pair of drumsticks just in case he was invited up to play.

Just more than three years later, Blindsighted played its first show May 19 at Macabee’s Tavern.

The band — which also features James Rachels (formerly of Back Forty) on bass, Andrew Valenzuela on guitar and vocals, and Jerry Kaifos on guitar — rocked through a three-set performance of classic rock covers, including songs from Bad Company, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Romantics and the late Tom Petty.

Wyand said his cousin, Sean McDuffie (who also plays guitar) brought Kaifos over to jam back in late 2016. He was later introduced to Rachels and Valenzuela in February by another local musician, T-bone Sessoms.

Wyand started practicing with Rachels and Valenzuela as a three-piece band and said he thought they could use another guitar — so Kaifos was brought on board.

Though the crowd for the first gig was small — mostly family and a few friends — the applause was great, with claps, whoops and hollers.

While Wyand and Rachels kept the rhythm down (sometimes speeding up), Valenzuela and Kaifos traded off lead licks taking turns on the songs’ solos.

“Having two guitarists feeding off each other … it’s awesome,” Wyand said.

Ironically, an argument between women escalated during a cover of the Hootie and the Blowfish hit “Let Her Cry.”

And the band played on.

The show ended on a with a speedy medley of “Call Me the Breeze,” written by J.J. Cale and made famous by Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the Allman Brothers’ “One Way Out.” Valenzuela commented after the show that was the “punk rock” version of the Skynyrd tune with how fast they were playing it.

After the performance, the band members were talking about how to solve a few of the technical problems they experienced and about getting ready for their next gig: opening for River’s Edge next month.

Steve Wyand, the drummer’s father, said he was proud of the band, and his son. “(Music) is is passion,” he said.

Reach William R. Toler at 910-817-2675 or [email protected]

Blindsighted plays its first show May 19 at Macabees in Rockingham. From left, James Rachels (bass), Andrew Valenzuela (guitar, vocals), Stephen Wyand (drums) and Jerry Kaifos (guitar).
https://www.yourdailyjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_blindsighted_band.jpgBlindsighted plays its first show May 19 at Macabees in Rockingham. From left, James Rachels (bass), Andrew Valenzuela (guitar, vocals), Stephen Wyand (drums) and Jerry Kaifos (guitar).

A view from behind the band.
https://www.yourdailyjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_blindsighted_band_back.jpgA view from behind the band.

James Rachels plucks the low notes.
https://www.yourdailyjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_blindsighted_james.jpgJames Rachels plucks the low notes.

Jerry Kaifos strums the rhythm part before going into a solo.
https://www.yourdailyjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_blindsighted_jerry.jpgJerry Kaifos strums the rhythm part before going into a solo.

Andrew Valenzuela takes a break from singing to lay down a solo.
https://www.yourdailyjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_blindsighted_andrew.jpgAndrew Valenzuela takes a break from singing to lay down a solo.
New band, Blindsighted, gives debut performance

By William R. Toler

Editor