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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

Hard Hat – How it began and where it’s headed  

The band sees themselves going all the way “to the top” in the future.
Submitted by the Hard Hat band
The full band stands together on stage after a concert was completed.

Seven Ashland University affiliates make up the band, Hard Hat, local to the Ashland and Wooster area. The members are Kaden Campbell on Bass, Kayin McDonald on Drums, Noah McDonald on Piano, Spencer Schmid on Lead Guitar, Grant Vance on Rhythm Guitar, with vocals led by Zach Hershburger and Jimmy Dunn.  

The band was formed in May of 2022. Campbell and Schmid had been playing together since they were little and began thinking about creating a band in 2021. “We’ve been goofing off ever since we were little, but we put it together in 2022. We had our former drummer, Sam Harkelroad, me on guitar, our other friend, Joe Browning, on bass [and] Spencer on lead guitar. That was the core group for about a year there,” said Campbell. In September, Hard Hat began expanding. Campbell added, “We’re really not an exclusive group; whatever flows, just flows.”  

The story behind the name 

The band’s name was originally going to be One Acre. “I was in California when I got a call from Kaden and Joe,” said Schmid, “This was when we first had the idea to make the band and we were thinking, ‘What are we going to name it?’ and it was going to be One Acre, that was the original, but, I remember Joe said, ‘Why don’t we just name it Hard Hat?”  

The name Hard Hat comes from a hard hat that was seen on the shelf in Kampbell’s dorm during this call. Campbell said, “Joe and I were sitting in my dorm room in Jacobs, and I had this little shelf with all my sophomore-year memorabilia on it. There was a baseball bat, a pamphlet . . . and then I had the hard hat because I went on the ski trip with AU Ski Club.” The simple hat soon became the name of a band with many gigs.  

Hard Hat’s Gigs 

  Hard Hat most recently performed at the College of Wooster on Friday, Oct. 13, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. They played at the event “Party for the Planet,” which was put on by the college’s sustainability club.  

Their favorite gig was when they opened for the band Whiskey Bound at The Ugly Duck in Wooster, Ohio.  

“It was a pretty cool venue. We got to play up on the back trailer of a semi and we got to use the professional gear that the band had because we were opening for them and they didn’t want to switch.” said McDonald, “So, it was a really cool experience to get to play with a high caliber group.”  

 The band has also played at Hickory Lakes Campground, The Wayne County Fair, many events at Riley’s Nightclub, and more.  

Genre and Rehearsals 

The members meet about twice a week to rehearse for a couple of hours. They run through their songs and plan the setlist for their next gig, which usually occurs weekly.  

Hard Hat has also been working on their own original pieces. “We’ve been spending a lot of time recently making new music. We have about six or seven original songs that we’re looking to release soon,” said McDonald.  

The members are working on their first demo EP that will be available on streaming platforms. 

As for their genre, they try to play a song from every primary genre. McDonald said, “We have a funk rock song, we have a pretty heavy metal song, we have a slow, folky kind-of song, we have a piano shuffle song. . . The new album’s going to be a lot of different genres but it’s all kind of alternative rock or indie, different versions of that.” 

In the future 

Hard Hat sees itself going all the way “to the top” in the future. They plan to perform in the Cleveland area. With new music in the works, the band sees itself growing in its audience in the future.  

On social media, Hard Hat can be found on Instagram @Hardhatmusic, TikTok @Hard.Hat, Facebook @Hard Hat Band, and YouTube @Hard Hat.  

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