Photo used with permission of The Former Me
Local band The Former Me were given the opportunity to open for legendary arena rockers Bon Jovi on Feb. 19, which opened new doors to the pop-punk band (which includes two Granite City natives) and has them energized to tour for the upcoming release of their EP “I Know This Gets Better.” The band includes (from left) Killian Deluca, Dylan Lahey, Matt Grimsley, Adam Kopchak and Ryan Coyle.
One of arena rock’s all-time biggest acts took the stage Feb. 19 at Scottrade Center. With mega-hits like “Livin’ On a Prayer,” “Wanted Dead or Alive” and “You Give Love a Bad Name,” Bon Jovi’s music has reached found a lasting seat at pop culture’s table and reached generations of fans over the past three decades. One up-and-coming Metro East quintet was thrilled to open things up and set the stage.
“We respect Bon Jovi’s work and are fans of the classics, of course,” Ryan Coyle, the opening act’s rhythm guitarist, says. “Vocal melodies as catchy as theirs definitely influence our genre as a whole.”
The Former Me began as a collaboration between drummer and Granite City native Adam Kopchak, bassist Killian Deluca and vocalist Dylan Lahey in 2012. Kopchak and Deluca had played together previously, and called on Lahey shortly after leaving their original project. In 2013, fan and friend Coyle, also of Granite City, joined as a rhythm guitarist, and — following a handful of lineup changes—lead guitarist Matt Grimsley, formerly of Equal Squeeze, signed on.
The band describes itself as a “high-energy St. Louis pop-punk band,” sporting influences such as Blink-182, Fall Out Boy, Knuckle Puck and Four Year Strong. In staying true to the claim, their music is as fast-paced and commanding as it is catchy and fun.
Coyle says the songwriting process is collaborative, with plenty of expansion and refinement, and that each song comes together in a different way. “Many bands in our genre are actually some of the best poets,” Coyle says. “If you listen to them, you realize that music still has words with meaning. We try to find the right words and the most creative way to express them.”
In cementing The Former Me’s sound, the band strives to keep up with the latest equipment and production techniques to release work that’s crisp and clean.
“With the modern technology at our disposal these days, it has opened up so many doors to do things tonally, production and quality-wise that just weren’t possible back in the day for smaller bands or even large ones with bigger budgets,” Lahey says.
With a debut EP, “Some Truth to This,” and single “Playing with Fire” under their belt, you could mostly catch The Former Me in any number of St. Louis venues over the past few years. All of that will soon change, as the band plans to “hit the road hard” following the release of their new EP “I Know This Gets Better,” tentatively slated for a May release.
Recognizing the immense potential of Live Nation’s opening act contest, Lahey says the band entered “on a whim” with their “New Music 2017” promo, which included the new track “Crawl,” and they are still shocked and grateful they were chosen.
“Not many people get the chance to play this size of a venue, and we’re still mind-blown that we’ve been given that opportunity,” Lahey says.
Since late January’s announcement, the band has been interviewed on FM radio station 105.7 The Point and has performed a few of their songs on Fox 2 St. Louis’ morning broadcast. With the fun-filled passion that defines the spirit of pop-punk’s biggest names and smallest contemporaries, The Former Me is well on its way to writing songs and finding fans that will allow the band to truly pay forward the once-in-lifetime opportunity presented by arena rock royalty.