There’s no gene for fame. Junior band pioneer, Christopher “Cam” Ay, can attest to that. Mrs. Jagger, for example, was probably unaware that she was delivering a future rock star.
In fact, 19 years would pass before Mick and his childhood mate, Keith Richards, recognized a shared desire to emulate their favorite American amplified-blues. Add on another six years, and the Stones finally broke through to the Billboard charts.
Ay is in no rush for his infant band, Faster Towards Forgetting, to grace the cover of Spin magazine. He knows that every band must endure a period of maturation before its name is mentioned by bigwig DJs and VJs. As far as Ay is concerned, there’s still time – and lots of it.
Born in the spring of 2004, FTF is the offspring of Ay and fellow Main Line native, Vinny Vassallo (Ay is from Ardmore while Vassallo hails from Aldan). The name, Faster Towards Forgetting, comes from a song Ay wrote years ago. As for the duo, like Jagger and Richards, the rockers were friends long before becoming band mates. During their eighth grade summer, Ay and Vassallo met on the local set of “The Spell of Sleeping Beauty.” Ay had been a member of the stage crew, while Vassallo played the king. The two never imagined that six years later, not only would they still be friends, but they would also be starting a band with Ay as the guitarist and piano man and Vassallo as the lead singer and guitarist.
Ay admits that he now knows how the parent of an adolescent feels, as over the last 10 months, his band “has become its own being.” And FTF continues to ripen, catalyzed by such musical influences as Green Day, Fall Out Boy, Yellowcard, The Killers, The Starting Line, Something Corporate, Saves the Day, Mae, plus fellow Villanovans Liam and Me, MewithoutYou and The Moviehouse Arcade. Bottom line: “We’re still exploring our sound,” Ay explains, adding, “And that’s not a bad thing.”
Besides, sound is somewhat of Ay’s specialty. The communications major helps teach a studio recording class in the basement of Falvey. According to Ay, the library’s facility is a “hidden treasure” on campus, an untapped resource for many campus musicians. The studio is rather handy when pockets are light and there is recording to be done.
Ay quotes Kurt Cobain who said, “Being in a band is hard work. And the acclaim itself just isn’t worth it unless you still like playing.” It’s something passionate, even primal – a form of communication.
“Playing live is undoubtedly the best part about being in a band,” he says, which is why FTF would like to invite University students to come watch them at Casey’s in Upper Darby. The band can be seen every so often at Sunday open-mic nights. And with luck, there will be more venues added in the upcoming months.
As for the far-off future, the guys don’t plan on straying too far from the music industry. After graduation, Ay says he is ready to attend recording school and eventually move to the West Coast. His dream is to open up a studio for a record company, record their band’s music and become a rock star as well.
“Before I decided to come to Villanova, I had been accepted to Duquesne’s School of Music and intended on being a Music Recording Technology major,” Ay said. However, majoring in a subject like classical guitar just seemed “grossly inappropriate” to him. Every musician knows you don’t major in guitar. You play it.
Vassallo agrees that he’d like to continue dabbling in the rock scene, but as an education student at Temple, he also plans to become an elementary teacher. Perhaps Mr. Vassallo should just meld the two, a la the School of Rock – playing the music and preaching it, too.
So, yeah, Spin magazine can wait. This band has an agenda.