Updated: Jul 18, 2018
The first time I saw The Greeting Committee was in June of 2016 when they opened for The Mowgli’s at The Crocodile in Seattle. Immediately after their set, I liked them on Facebook, blown away by these teenagers’ performance and stage presence.
Photo by Elizabeth Miranda
Addie Sartino(vocals) and I reminisced over that show on a phone call one evening with her remembering exactly what show I was talking about because she was sick and almost passed out after the set, but you never would have known. She was running around the stage, shredding the guitar and performing these super cool handshakes with her band-mates and even went into the crowd to watch her touring mates’ sets afterwards.
Signed by a record label at the ages 15 to 17, Sartino, Brandon Yangmi (guitar), Pierce Turcotte (bass), and Austin Fraser (drums) have grown up in the music industry. Their quick rise to fame arose after their manager, Peyton Marek, sent a recording of their single “Hands Down” to 96.5-the Buzz of their hometown, Kansas City. Scott Geiger “Lazlo” took a listen and played it on his Friday segment.
“Bands based out of LA and New York have a lot of competition,” said Sartino. “I think we stand out a little bit because we got the chance to grow and branch out because we did get our start in Kansas City.”
Lazlo saw the band’s success with “Hands Down” and joined The Greeting Committee’s management team. Ultimately, TGC signed with Harvest Records in 2015 after having their pick of record labels in their dms.
“It’s the coolest thing in the world when Atlantic Records is messaging you on Facebook because those types of labels are the ones of all the artists I’ve looked up to so much growing up. In the end, Harvest Records was the best fit for us. If we want to do something that we’re passionate about, they’re going to get behind it.”
Passion is exactly what inspired the group’s latest single, “17.” It's that coming of age song, where you can literally hear the angst and reflection inserted in Sartino's voice. But, the foot-tapping beat and guitar riffs manage to balance out the angst and emit a sense of nostalgia.
“My dad is like the best guy ever- a super strong-willed, independent Italian man. He taught me, my sister and my brother to be very strong-willed too, and he loves that until it comes back to bite him. It’s me looking back in high school and realizing I didn’t have to fight him so much.”
With such an emotional and important message, Sartino was anxious to make sure the music video reflected its meaning and collaborated with Universal Music Group’s college representatives to deliver all the feels visually.
“Whenever, I look at YouTube comments, people are like, ‘This is me now.’ It’s really important that people get it because some people thought it was about a guy, but no, it’s definitely about my dad.”
Releasing such a heart-rending anthem, the group has only gotten fans wanting more. Thankfully, Sartino shared their first album will be released by the end of 2018, along with a few other surprises.
“It’s a sit and wait game. We’re in a weird position because we have two EPs out, but we’re waiting for the album to come out. You can’t do a lot. Everything is so strategic with music these days. My parents are always like, ‘Why don’t you just go play shows?’ But it’s not up to me. It’s up to my booking agent. I just have to trust the people who work for me.”
Their debut album will be a full representation and collaboration of every member of The Greeting Committee. The four members recruited the help of writers to organize their thoughts for the record to make it the best it could be.
“One thing we really wanted from this album was to standout from the typical over-produced alternative music you hear on the radio these days…I think the four of us are kind of nostalgic about how alternative music used to be, and I think fans are too. I think
Photo by Elizabeth Miranda everyone is trying to blend in right now, which is not how alternative music has ever been to me.”
Since their tour with The Mowgli’s in 2016, the group has toured with Misterwives, Tennis, Saint Motel, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, in addition to playing Lollapalooza and SXSW.
Most recently, TGC went on a six-week long spring tour with Jukebox the Ghost. Sartino said it was probably the best tour they’ve been on and made really good friends with Jukebox the Ghost and connected with fans who came to the show just to see The Greeting Committee.
Perhaps one of the biggest reasons the band has such a dedicated fan base is their mission to deliver raw, honest music, making them relatable to their fan-base. In a recent essay for Rookie Magazine, she wrote, “I’m proud to be queer, and I have so much more to offer than who I choose to kiss.”
The Greeting Committee’s second most popular song is titled, “Elise,” a beautiful ballad about her long-time girlfriend. I asked her how it felt to make her fans gush and weep about the track. She laughed, and said the fans’ reactions surprised her and explained a little more about the hit with her muse, Elise, in the room.
“When I met her, she wasn’t caught up in the fact that I was a musician or whatever, and she was always the one who said, ‘Don’t write me a song.’ When you love someone so much you want to tell the whole world and scream it out. That was kind of my way of doing that. We didn’t put a music video to it or market it because I told the label, ‘That’s not what this song is about.’ It’s a super honest love song. It’s not meant to be sold. I think people kind of gathered that from it and that’s why they love it.”
Being the true feminist she is, she hasn’t let anyone categorize her or pigeonhole her for being the only female in the band and refuses to deal with any of the bullshit that it might come with.
“I’ve never let anyone put me in a corner.” - (Tour 2019 merch, you’ve seen it here, folks)
More important than her gender and sexuality, Sartino is a leader in a group with talented, badass musicians bringing back alt-indie music. Already a veteran in this industry, Sartino has learned how to handle arduous circumstances, and The Greeting Committee’s career is really only beginning.
“Four years, later, I’ve learned I don’t have to be so in control of everything. It’s not that I’m being bossy, but I am the boss so I have to make those tough calls. Learning to be a good leader that stays calm in those hectic situations was something I wish I would’ve learned earlier. But, I don’t think I could have learned all that without having to go through those rough times and those mistakes.”