ADHD: An up-and-coming Central Oregon Sensation?

“This is why we’re called ADHD,” senior Drake Walker, guitarist and vocalist for the band ADHD, laughed. His bandmates cracked up as they talked over each other, after a rehearsal of their newest song. Walker’s garage, where the band practices, is always full of music and camaraderie.

The group met at their high school, Caldera, and came together because of their passion for music when Walker invited them to be a part of his band. His previous band had fallen apart. ADHD consists of junior guitarist and bassist Teague Myers, sophomore drummer Luke Austin, senior pianist Brendan Bessman, senior singer/songwriter Nora Jean, and senior Drake Walker.  

So far, ADHD has only performed at Summerfest in downtown Bend. The band has not yet performed any original songs, but they plan to. 

“We’ll probably perform them at our next gig, which is gonna be the Bend Roots Festival,” Bessman said. The festival is an annual event dedicated to showcasing Central Oregon culture, and located this year on the Midtown Corridor, September 15-17.

The process of creating songs is usually something that the whole band collaborates on. Walker and Jean start with writing the lyrics. 

“Then we share it with everybody and we all build off of it,” Jean explained. “[For the instruments] it’s usually major improv. And then if we like it, we’re like, ‘hey, do that again.’” 

“[Drake] comes up with chords and then we tell him, ‘that chord doesn’t work, man.’ That’s a bad chord, pick better chords. We pick better chords for him sometimes,” Myers said. “You kinda just do your thing, and then we all do our own thing, and it just comes together.”

“If you wanna make a song like ADHD, that’s how you do it. We’re the most unproductive-productive band ever,” Jean added.

The main genre of the band is still undecided.

“It’s almost like all of our genres just come together,” Myers explained. “It’s up to the interpretation of our listeners, our fans. I don’t know if we know how to classify it.” The band plays lots of different types of music; funk, indie rock, pop, rock-and-roll, and alternative. 

“Pretty much everything except country,” Walker said. 

School music programs have been incredibly beneficial for the members of ADHD. For Myers, the school bands and choirs have been especially impactful for him. 

“In band I get a lot of opportunities to play different instruments, different beats and patterns. I play bass for jazz choir, and I get lots of opportunities to play good music that I like, with a group of good musicians. And that improves my skills as a musician,” Myers explained. 

Bessman has been involved with the Caldera Choirs, which has given him an opportunity to learn from Luke MacSween, the choir teacher.

“[The music programs] support musicians at our school pretty well. We always get opportunities to play outside of school and inside of school, they’ve been great,” Jean added. “Our teacher, MacSween, he’s wonderful. He wants us to play as much as we can, and he really prioritizes how much we’re able to share our talent. The school helps out immensely, for sure.” 

Drummer Luke Austin received a drum set for Christmas when he was five years old, and has been playing ever since. Austin is involved with the Caldera Bands, which help him develop his skills. 

“I [get to] practice more through school, and not just outside of school. [I do] an hour a day of practice.”

“Before the pandemic, we were in middle school and we had our amazing music teacher, which we had for eight years,” said Walker. His and Jean’s middle school music teacher, Rebecca Nores, was most crucial in his musical journey. “She was really instrumental in our music careers, and she was able to get us a couple gigs in middle school. It started just with that middle school teacher, honestly. We love you, Mrs. Nores.”

Most of the band would love to become full-time musicians. As Myers put it, “It would definitely be my dream job, dream career, in any scenario, to be a full time musician, but no matter what I do in my life, music will always be a major part.” 

 “I want to do music for the rest of my life,” said Jean. “I see it hopefully as my entire future and as my entire career. So I hope whatever steps I do now will allow me to make that a full time job.” 

Bessman does not plan to go pro, but he enjoys music and that’s what matters. “I hope to make some side gig off of it, make it a part of my living… Hopefully our band does pretty well, and if I just make some side money off of it, I’m doing what I love, so it’s fun either way.”  

In the future, ADHD hopes to become successful, all while becoming better musicians and having fun.