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Belmont alumni band Moon Taxi returns to campus

Just days after returning from their European tour, the members of one of Belmont’s most successful alumni bands, Moon Taxi, returned to where it all began.

While Belmont’s landscapes may look somewhat unrecognizable from when the band members attended in the early 2000s, one thing has remained constant: those ugly couches in the lobbies of Maddox Hall, which served as the perfect setting for an interview.

“It’s such a trip being back here, this is awesome,” said lead singer Trevor Terndrup with a smile.

Now an internationally-touring band with over 3 million monthly Spotify listeners, a major record deal and a colossal social media following, Moon Taxi began the same way as many other Belmont bands: within the constraints of the four-hour practice hours window.

But practice hours weren’t even close to the most difficult part of getting the band to where it is today.

“It’s been a long, sometimes uphill struggle to stay in the music business, but we all have a shared vision of what we want and it’s been a lot of fun every step of the way,” Terndrup said.

“You have to keep trying, and if it’s not working where you are, don’t give up,” added bassist Tommy Putnam.

In May, Moon Taxi released its highly-successful single, “Two High,” which was instrumental in securing the band’s deal with RCA Records, a dream-come-true for the Belmont alumni.

But the band is just happy the song is connecting with fans.

“I think the message is universal and it hit at a pivotal time right now, and it has changed our lives,” said Terndrup. “I’m just glad the song is resonating with people.”

The band is also scheduled to release its latest LP, “Let The Record Play” on Jan. 17, which Putnam said was inspired by the band simply needing a new album.

“We didn’t want to have to move back into Maddox,” joked Terndrup.

Despite their success, the Belmont alumni enjoyed taking a look back at their college home.

Terndrup, keys player Wes Bailey and drummer Tyler Ritter all knocked on the doors of their old Maddox dorm rooms to have a peek inside.

“We used to live in that room!” Terndrup said, somewhat startling the unsuspecting student who lives there now. “It’s a great room, there’s a lot of history in it.”

The band members also stopped by campus landmarks, like the Bell Tower and the lawn — a soccer field during their time on campus. They even dropped in to the new Harrington Place Dining Hall and stopped for a photo with Ms. Tanya, a Belmont icon in her own right.

But the most lively part of the band members’ visit was easily found in the memories they shared from their time spent together in Maddox.

“I don’t know if I’m allowed to talk about this, but one time Trevor pulled the fire alarm,” said Putnam.

“It was like 2 a.m. and I was asleep and saw them, and I just knew that Trevor did it,” added guitarist Spencer Thomson.

Bailey remembered another story including water balloons and the Belmont soccer team.

“We had a water balloon launcher that we launched out of our dorm window,” began Bailey.

On one particular occasion, an unsuspecting group of soccer players huddling together outside Maddox fell victim to the band’s prank.

“It landed right in the middle of the huddle, it was a one in a million shot,” Bailey said. “And then they sent B-Po up here.”

The band members finished their campus tour with smiles and laughter and nostalgia.

But before they left, Terndrup gave Belmont’s aspiring musicians some advice. “Try, and if it doesn’t work try something new,” he said. “If you really want it, you’ll get there eventually, because it’s just a process of trial and error, and you’ll figure out what it’s going to take to get where you want to go.”

“Let The Record Play” comes out Jan. 19 via RCA Records, but is available for pre-orderright here. 

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This article written by Caitlin Alexander. 

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