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The Busty Petites to open for CBDB at Oxford concert that benefits suicide prevention

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The Busty Petites playing at one of their better-known locations, Proud Larry’s. Photo courtesy of Lucy Healy.

Jane Anne Darken
Oxford Stories
jadarken@go.olemiss.edu

A local band is busting out of obscurity and onto the popular Oxford music scene.

The Busty Petites, a band that recently played multiple shows at Proud Larry’s, will give their biggest performance to date Friday, Nov. 30 when they open for CBDB, an American progressive rock band from Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

The benefit concert at The Lyric Oxford is called More Than Music. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. with music at 8:30 p.m.

“It’s amazing that we’re opening for a band as well known as CBDB,” band member Hall Hastings said. “I would’ve never imagined we would have an opportunity as big as this.”

Tickets are $15. All proceeds will be donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to suicide prevention.

The Busty Petites

Pay attention to the posters outside Square Books, Neilson’s or Proud Larry’s, and you have probably seen a sign for The Busty Petites.

The band is comprised of one bass player and singer, Jack Houk; two guitarists, Lake Wilkinson and Gus Barnett; a drummer, Hall Hastings; and a keyboard player, Alex Sinquefield. With passion and raw talent, they are making a name for themselves in Mississippi.

It all started in 2015 when Houk, Wilkinson, and Hastings were living in their fraternity house. They found an empty room in which they set up their instruments so they could jam whenever they wanted.

One night, their fraternity couldn’t find a band in time for a function. With support and encouragement from friends, they filled the spot. Before they took the stage, they realized they did not have a name for their trio and had to think of one quickly.

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Newest Busty member, Alex Sinquefield, setting up his keyboard rig. Photo by Jane Anne Darken.

“We were all sitting around talking about what we’d call ourselves, and [David] Treen spit out The Busty Petites,” Wilkinson said. “Everyone in the band thought it was funny, so we decided to go with it for the night, and it just stuck. I think he might’ve gotten the idea from Reddit.”

The band’s performance was strong, word spread about The Busty Petites, and the group began playing more shows. Hastings said the group’s fan base is a great incentive for venues to book them for concerts because they know their friends will always come to support and watch.

Inspired by jazz and classic rock, each member has their own unique story about what influenced them to pursue music.

Jack Houk grew up with his older brother playing the drums. He got his first bass guitar when he was 17 and said he “wanted to be like Flea from The Red Hot Chili Peppers.”

Lake Wilkinson got his first guitar in ninth grade noting he had “no idea why [he wanted one], but knew he wanted to play.” He learned the basics from his neighbor, but taught himself everything else.

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Lake Wilkinson tuning his guitar before a gig. Photo by Jane Anne Darken.

Hall Hastings started playing the drums in fifth grade when Santa brought him a cheap drum set. His parents thought it was a phase, but Hastings said he played them so much, they had to buy him a new set the following Christmas.

Although in the beginning, he took two lessons from a “cheese ball” that deterred him from the drums, it didn’t stop him from learning. His mom knew an older college student that offered to come over for 30 minutes and jam with him whatever he wanted to play, and he taught himself the rest. Hastings credits Joe Russo as his biggest influence. He even bought the same snare drum to sound like him.

Alex Sinquefield, the newest band member, started playing the piano at a young age, but was inspired to pick it back up his sophomore year of college when he saw how much fun Houk, Wilkinson, and Hastings were having.

“I just knew he wanted to be a part of that,” says Sinquefield. “One day, I pulled the trigger and bought a nice keyboard and a nice amp, and practiced a good bit, and eventually started to sound decent enough for them to give me a chance.”

He said he got serious this past spring, and over the summer, he and fellow band member, Hastings, played in a Grateful Dead cover band for four Mondays at Proud Larry’s. He considers that his “boot camp” since they practiced every day for a couple of hours and played all types of music.

All members of The Busty Petites are finishing their last semester at Ole Miss, which they admit, hasn’t been easy. “Dropping out sounds better every day,” Sinquefield joked.

On the days when they don’t have a show, they try to practice for a couple of hours in the “jam room” they set up in Hasting’s bedroom. Sinquefield said they work hard on most of their original songs and a few cover songs they want to play that week.

“But we’re musicians first,” he clarified. “We really try to keep it fun and loose, and we always have about a good hour of free jamming, which is great because it helps build cohesiveness between the group.”

Sinquefield said it’s fun to experiment with a great group of musicians who are also your best friends.

“We try to record some practices, but the best ones, I swear, always happen when we least expect it,” he said. “I’d like to think someone’s looking down on us when those special moments happen – when you’re not worried about a thing in the world; you’re just making music with your friends.”

The band brings the same go-with-the-flow attitude when they perform in front of an audience. Houk jokingly admitted they don’t have a pre-show routine.

“We arrive 30 minutes before, panic, and scribble out a set list, and try to stick to that, but we’re trying to get better about being more prepared.”

Sinquefield added, “That’s how we make some of our best stuff, just messing around jamming whatever comes to our minds.”

On Sunday afternoons, you can find them playing at the rooftop bar at the Graduate Oxford hotel.

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