The past few years have seen a resurgence of the 90’s. From fashion to politics to TV show revivals, there’s no shortage of nostalgia and influence from the decade, and music is no exception.
The Brooklyn-based rock trio with Cape Cod roots, Highly Suspect, comprises lead singer and guitarist, Johnny Stevens (center), and twin brothers, bassist Rich Meyer (left), and drummer Ryan Meyer (right).
Highly Suspect’s Instagram bio states: “Double Grammy Loserzz.”
It may seem counterintuitive to advertise a loss, rather than celebrate a nomination, but for Stevens and the Meyer twins, just being nominated was a complete shock, not only to those in the industry, but to themselves as well.
Highly Suspect started performing covers in Cape Cod in 2009, released a few EPs, and moved to Brooklyn. Even though they had been playing together for eight years, it seemed as if the band achieved instant success when their debut album, Mister Asylum, landed two 2016 Grammy nominations for Best Rock Album and Best Rock Song, “Lydia.”
Just a year later, they’ve earned another nod from the golden gramophone for Best Rock Song. The single, “My Name is Human,” from their sophomore album The Boy Who Died Wolf, joins David Bowie’s “Blackstar,” “Heathens” by Twenty One Pilots, Metallica’s “Hardwired, and “Burn the Witch” by Radiohead.
The Boy Who Died Wolf has a little of everything.
Nostalgic for Bush-era protest music? Listen to “Viper Strike.”
Like Nirvana, and The Pixies before them, Highly Suspect also alternates between quiet verses and loud choruses. They bring a raw, soulful spirit to their songs, which are all written by Johnny Stevens.
Although the comparisons to Nirvana, Soundgarden, and (Pablo Honey-era) Radiohead are there, it’s important to note that Highly Suspect earned recognition in their own right. They are authentic.
Recently, the band offered to perform at Donald Trump’s Presidential Inauguration.
However, the hypothetical performance would not be in support of Trump. Johnny Stevens once said Trump is “all the things we stand against.”
Fans suspected the band would want to perform “Viper Strike” if given the opportunity. Lyrics include the lines: “We’re all equal / Except for you / ‘Cause you’re an a**hole, with an ugly point of view… Maybe one day / Love will conquer all / But in the mean time, you can try to build your walls / Our generation / We’re taking over / Hope we don’t die with that / Chip on your shoulder.”
Here’s to hoping Trump won’t know otherwise, and will give Highly Suspect the chance to diss him at his own inauguration.
Highly Suspect is performing at BottleRock in Napa Valley on Sunday, May 28th with Foo Fighters, The Roots, and Band of Horses.
At the time of publication, it is unknown whether or not Highly Suspect will return to the stage to perform at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards.