Do what the voices tell you
A cappella rock? The Voices in Your Mind need no droning guitars or pounding drums
As the band takes the stage, the audience doesn’t know what to expect. The crowd continues to talk. Seconds later, as a bass-y bom-bom-bop and a sweet ya-dada-da fill the room, the crowd becomes transfixed by the quartet on stage singing Thomas Dolby’s “She Blinded Me With Science.” Their voices mix and weave, filling the room as any rock band might, but without the problems of bulky equipment. Four performers with no instruments but their own voices.
A Web designer, a stay-at-home dad, a receptionist and a self-described “Brüka [Theatre] girl"—that’s The Voices in Your Mind. Not a support group for schizophrenics, but an a cappella group that has been tearing up the open mic scene around Reno for the past few months.
Group members are Jeremy Capurro, 22; Myracle Speakman, 22; Rachel Lewis, 32; and Rodney Hurst, 40. The four have been performing together since February, although they’ve had a few changes since the group’s creation about a year ago.
“I think we’ve had about 10 people in the group, including ourselves,” Hurst says.
Being in an a cappella group isn’t the easiest way to attract an audience, but Voices have solved that problem—they do covers. They’re not exclusively a cover band, but their sets are full of the familiar tunes of the Culture Club, Alice Cooper, The Beatles and a ripping version of “Psycho Killer” by the Talking Heads. They arrange each song for four voices, sans band, adding percussion with feet, fingers and hands as needed.
The group isn’t afraid of being called a cover band. Its mix of favorite songs and fresh melodies has been what distinguishes these a cappella artists from the rest of the pack. Their uniqueness is only surpassed by the skill with which they pull off closet classics from the ‘80s.
“We do more covers than anything else, but it’s completely different from what you expect,” Speakman says.
“Everybody likes hearing familiar tunes with a new sound,” Capurro adds.
Evidently “everybody” does. At the Artists’ Playroom, the Zephyr Lounge’s Monday night open mic, Voices was one of five acts voted into a recent “Best of” competition. Hurst, for one, didn’t expect things to take off as quickly as they did.
“The novelty bands just aren’t there [in Reno]. … People have been very enthusiastic and supportive,” he says.
Lewis says she enjoys being in this group because, while it is not typical entertainment, it isn’t traditional a cappella, either.
“We’re not tied down by conventions or styles,” she says. “We can do a fun afternoon matinee for kids, or we can be late-night smutty for their parents. We have a lot of freedom this way.”
They all agree that forming a group that is not only talented but also committed to practice—and play—is a rare thing. Each has an extensive personal history in music and theater, but only recently found a collaborative group as supportive and successful as Voices.
“We wanted to play in a band, but none of us play any instruments, so we sing like a band," says Hurst.