Party rock band plays mega hits.
When musician Mike Maly put together a new band four years ago, he envisioned playing new wave music. He soon switched gears. Des Moines wasn’t a “new wave type of town.” So, he and his wife, Vanessa, and former bandmate Bob Adams agreed on a party rock genre, playing music from the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.
“We play music that everyone knows and try to play it as accurately as possible,” says Maly.
It’s similar to a computer — when needing to copy the exact phrase, you hit control “c” on the keyboard, or CTRL C. And that’s how the tech-savvy band came up with their name.
“That was hard. What can we call ourselves that sounds cool but respectable,” Maly says. “What we do is copy other people’s music. CTRL C is what we came up with.”
The band plays mega hits by Guns N Roses, B-52s and more. During one medley, they extract the “meat and potatoes” of three Styx songs. Another crowd favorite is Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” For accuracy, the band recorded vocals 114 times, which is played when they sing live. Maly, a drummer, who also serves as sound expert, cut the unique layers.
“It’s our voices layered 114 times. It’s cool. Each person in the band contributed to the recording,” says Mike.
Band members include Bob Adams, bass and vocals; Vanessa Maly, keyboard and vocals; Sara Nicklin, vocals and percussion; and Bill Barrett, guitar and vocals.
All of the members played in previous bands, except for Sara, who only sang in karaoke contests and nailed a Craigslist singer ad. Between Sara and Vanessa, a classically trained musician, the range of the women is mesmerizing.
“The two have morphed into a powerhouse. Their energy draws in the crowd,” says Maly.
Each show’s set list is different. “Most fans respond to concert-type pieces, and we prefer dance numbers,” he says. “We strive for a show that, afterwards, we say, ‘That was the one.’ ”
CTRL C plays several times a month at local venues, such as Prairie Meadows. Crowd sizes vary, which proves challenging.
“Sometimes we have 10, 110 or 1,000 people. We want to keep the energy up, even if we’re playing for 20 people,” he says.
Maly’s criteria for a successful band includes having fun, performing well and feeling proud.
“I’m the toughest critic. If I can’t play to these levels, then we need to figure something out,” he says. “I hope the crowd feels the same way and feeds off that energy. It’s important for us to not go through the motions. We’re not just another Des Moines cover band. We hope fans get something out of it.” ♦