From left to right, Drummer Sean Hallock, Guitarist and Vocalist Jordan Hudkins, Guitarist Adam Meisterhans, and Bassist Devin Donnelly. Photo by Alec Pugliese

A product of Shepherd’s Creative Arts programs: Alumnus Jordan Hudkins and Rozwell Kid

For over a decade now, West Virginia’s Rozwell Kid Band have been making waves in Indie Rock circles for their incredibly catchy and hook-laden power pop and punk sound.

Back in September of last year, the group released their newest singles “Grand Canyon” and “Confetti for Myself”, led by Lead Singer and Guitarist Jordan Hudkins, a Shepherd University alumnus.

Shepherdstown’s has a special place in Hudkins’ heart. He attributes his initial success from the town’s “tight-knit” artistic and musical community and being a student at Shepherd.

“Probably the biggest takeaway would be the guitar player in Rozwell Kid [(Adam Meisterhans)] is one of my best friends for twenty years. He and I went to Shepherd together, we started one of our first real bands together when we were at Shepherd. [Shepherdstown was] just a tight-knit community and the artists that were there, the musicians that were there, people throwing shows, people hopping on each other’s shows, supporting each other’s bands, that’s where I cut my teeth playing in bands and learning how to perform and do music.”

Before Rozwell Kid, Hudkins and Meisterhans started a band called The Demon Beat together, with Hudkins on drums, Meisterhans on guitar and vocals, and their friend Tucker Riggleman on Bass. The band would release a handful of albums before silently calling it quits.

However, Hudkins had started writing songs on the side while in The Demon Beat, songs that would become the very first under the Rozwell Kid name. He would record the songs with Brian Spragg, a member of the same local music scene.

“[He] had a little recording setup in his apartment in Morgantown. We had recorded a few songs with him as The Demon Beat and I mentioned that I had a few of my own songs and asked if he’d be willing to track them on a weekend or something. So, I made the trip to Morgantown, and I did two songs with him. The first two songs on the first Rozwell Kid Record.”

Hudkins recalls his excitement when had got the tracks mastered by Spragg’s friend David Klug.

“When I got them back, I was just like ‘this is so sick! I want to make a whole record!’ and so I would just drive to Morgantown on the weekends in between Demon Beat tours. Eventually, after enough weekends, I had ten songs and Dave mixed and mastered them. Then I just put them out on Bandcamp.”

Shortly after the album’s release, Meisterhans would play the record for a band he was recording with, a band comprised of Devin Donnelly and Sean Hallock, those which would join Rozwell Kid on bass and drums, respectively.

“They were like ‘this is sick! Is he gonna do a band? Is he gonna play these live?’ and Adam was like ‘I don’t know’ and they were like ‘well if he does, we’re down to do it’. That’s all I needed to hear,” he said.

Shortly thereafter, the band would come together and play their first show at the Blue Moon Café in Shepherdstown. After that, the rest is history.

Discussing his time at Shepherd University, Hudkins had this to say about it. As a Shepherd alumnus, Hudkins wishes to provide some context to current Shepherd students working to earn their degree, especially those who wish to endeavor in the creative arts.

 “I started [at Shepherd] in o’four, graduated in o’eight. My degree is a BFA in Art with a Concentration in Graphic Design” Hudkins Stated. “I had always been into art as a kid, my whole life I was into the creative arts. Theater, painting, and drawing. At some point along the way, graphic design was presented to me as a pragmatic way to apply my interest in being creative. So yeah, I just kind of went for it.” he said.

Hudkins recounts how he himself got involved with Shepherd University’s newspaper, The Picket, based on the advice given to him by a fellow student.

“There was a student a couple of years older than me who had a lot of experience doing real-world design work, his name was Adam, and he was the Managing Editor of The Picket. We had some classes together and he asked me if I would be interested in doing layout for a few of the spreads, and honestly, a lot of what I know and use in Adobe programs and stuff I learned at The Picket,” he said. “I helped out that first year and then I was like co-layout artist the second year with another person. Then the third year I was there, by the end of I was laying out the entire paper myself.” 

Hudkins highlighted what he thought was the best part of working with The Picket.

“I just think the experience overall of turning around something so quickly and seeing printed two days later was pretty insane. That was pretty cool.”

Regarding the band’s future, Hudkins says that there are touring plans that will be revealed very soon.

“I don’t know about recording or anything yet, or new music, but I’ve been writing so maybe we’ll try to squeeze in some recording at some point. It would be cool to put out a new record! That would be fun,” he said.

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