The Reactions

The Reactions are a local three-piece—Jacob Daniel Alspach (drums, vocals), David Steven Rocco II (bass), and Robert William Mayfield (guitar)—with a unique, clean guitar sound and a drummer who sings a bit like Mick Jagger. Their sound is so sophisticated that it’s hard to believe this group is made up of three local teenagers who play better than most people in their 30s. Their self-titled CD can be purchased at shows, and their live set leaves 15-year-old girls as well as baby boomers screaming for more. The Reactions have a band image—they only wear striped shirts onstage—and bring a lot of energy into the clubs when they play.

I spoke with guitarist Robert William Mayfield about his group.

1. Who would you say are your big musical influences?

I would say the Beatles and maybe the Beach Boys. Anything that is “older rock.” I don’t think we’re really a punk band, but we get thrown into those shows just because there are so many punk rock bands here in St. Louis. I’d say that the 15-year-olds like us, but there’s a lot of older people who like us, too, and they get into it.

2. How did you come up with the idea of wearing striped shirts on stage?

We all went to Marshall’s and went shopping for clothes that we could wear; I thought we were gonna be getting things like white shirts with ties or suits, and we ended up getting these silly shirts. Some people like them, and some people don’t. There was this one guy at a show who was really mad at us. It made him really mad because he didn’t like the shirts, and he just kept yelling at us because he thought we looked just fucking retarded and it made him mad.

3. Do you get a lot of reaction from people at school because you’re in a band?

No, they don’t really care. If you go up to someone at school and tell them that you’re in a band, they just say, “Oh…”

4. How has it been taking guitar lessons from local guitarist Jeb Sloan?

He’s a great guitar teacher; I’ve learned a lot from him. I’ve been taking from him for a few years now. He’s full of energy. I get ready for my lesson, and I think that I have a lot of energy and I’m wide awake, and then he shows up and at the end of the lesson I’m totally tired.

5. What are the Reactions’ plans for the future?

It would be nice to keep going, but we would have to have some good opportunities to move on.

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