The Daily Gamecock

Band books: Walter Mitty to play at Conundrum

The more literally-inclined of Columbia’s music fans will be in luck this week. Walter Mitty and His Makeshift Orchestra, a folk pop-punk band, will play at the Conundrum Music Hall on Tuesday night.

The band is originally from the West Coast. Its name might get you to think about the short story and now movie, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” 

“Back in high school I used to record all my songs under the name Walter Mitty,” Dustin Hayes, singer and guitarist for the band said. “I really liked the book and the name just stuck.” 

“The name Makeshift Orchestra happened because we use a lot of different instruments and random household items,” Hayes said. 

One of the “different” instruments that the Makeshift Orchestra makes use of is the kazoo.

“We like to experiment and try out different instruments, and the kazoo is just one of them,” Hayes said. 

The band formed when they were in high school. It was originally just Kris, Jake and Walter (Dustin) at the time. They added the fourth member, Milk, when they were in community college. Their first album “Every Town Needs a Cowboy” came out in 2009. The fourth and most recent album “Well Soon” was released July 2014.

In regards to the title of “Well Soon,” Hayes explained they wanted it to be different from previous album titles. Usually their titles are literal and funny, but they wanted to try something new.  

“We played off the saying ‘get well soon’ because ‘Well Soon’ is more vague and unsettling,” Hayes said. “The title gives us a blank slate upon which the listener can hear the music.”

All the band’s music is available with a free donation, or fans can pay $7 for unlimited, high quality streaming.  “We grew up on downloading music for free and we just want to make sure that anybody in the world who wants to download it can get it for free,” Hayes said. “It’s nice to know that a kid can get our music even if they’re broke.”

The band is on their nationwide “Fall Bawl” tour. They have one month left on the tour which started Sept. 27 and ends Nov. 25.

While on this quirky tour, they challenge fans across the country to five-on-five or three-on-three basketball. The band has gone undefeated throughout the tour and are looking for the next competition.

“If anyone in Columbia is interested, we’re down to play,” Hayes said.