Haircut Actual, from left to right: Brady Walsh, Caleb Coppinger, Garrett Johnston, Andrew Moody and Brandon Smith

Haircut Actual, Mount Pulaski band of teenage rockers

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[August 01, 2013]  MOUNT PULASKI -- With so much music in our world today, it's hard to really pinpoint your favorite band or singer. Maybe you still low-key jam to Rush in your car on the way to work or school. Maybe you can't wait to blast Hank Williams Jr. when no one is watching. Or maybe, just maybe, you want to channel your inner crazy rocker-self and scream hits from the likes of AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd at the top of your lungs. Whatever you fancy, Haircut Actual will probably play a few of your favorites.

Haircut Actual is a local band based out of Mount Pulaski and is made up of very talented musicians who know how to put on a show and draw in a crowd. After all, it's not every day you hear Beatles songs being played by teenagers.

The band consists of Garrett Johnston, 16, from Elkhart on drums; Andrew Moody, 16, of Cornland as lead guitarist and vocalist; Brady Walsh, 16, from Mount Pulaski, bassist and rhythm guitar; Brandon Smith, 14, of Riverton, bassist and guitar; and Caleb Coppinger, 18, from Mount Pulaski, rhythm guitar and lead vocals.

Haircut Actual formed almost two years ago with the help of the Mount Pulaski High School Band instructor, David Helm. Walsh, Moody and Johnston went to Helm in their eighth-grade year with the idea of starting a band. However, the band was missing a few key pieces, such as a lead singer and another guitar player. The band officially formed in October of 2011 but would remain nameless until early 2012.

Now, how in the world does one come up with the name Haircut Actual? Heck, you've probably already turned to the nearest person beside you and said, "Haircut Actual, what does that even mean?" It seems a bit bizarre, but you will remember it.

The birth of the name came from none other than the self-proclaimed leader and bassist, Brady Walsh. Walsh was a part of the 2012 MPHS drama department's "Seussical the Musical," as was lead singer Caleb Coppinger. Coppinger played the defiant role of Horton, the elephant, in the production. But before taking the stage, Coppinger had to get a haircut to allow for his elephant ears to fit.

Walsh was already on a roll of giving every cast member a colorful, military code nickname, and Coppinger would be no different. His new haircut even made things easier in more ways than one. Coppinger was "Haircut Actual." Thus out of impulse and a joke, Haircut Actual was born.

Early gigs were rough, and all things considered, not always easy. Even though each member is basically as talented as they come, lead singer Coppinger says, "Learning anything from scratch is really hard, especially because we're teenage kids."

The band doesn't give themselves enough credit, though. Each member is extremely gifted, and critics who would know say that together they sound awesome.

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Things are starting to get busy for the guys. On Friday night, they play the grandstand at the Logan County Fair, after the talent show. Then the band is playing at the Illinois State Fair on Aug 13 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Apex Stage. Upcoming gigs for the band also include the Black Sheep in Springfield on Aug. 22, the Lincoln Art & Balloon Festival, and the Mount Pulaski Fall Festival.

The band plays a variety of hits and even a few originals. "We play pretty much anything from like the '50s until now," Coppinger says.

"Basically, say you don't like country, wait one or two songs and we'll be back into the '70s hard rock," adds Johnston.

Haircut Actual plays whatever because they can make whatever sound good.

Smith is the only band member who does not attend Mount Pulaski High School. Moody met Smith at a church that they both attend in Riverton. Smith is the youngest of the bunch and will be just a freshman at Riverton High School.

Walsh, Moody and Johnston will all be juniors at Mount P. Coppinger is a 2013 graduate of MPHS and will attend Lincoln College in the fall.

They say that "as long as no one plans to go far away for college, we will continue playing as long as we can."

Haircut Actual recently placed second in the "Battle of the Bands" at the Black Sheep in Springfield. Which is a pretty big deal.

Not only does each band member have supportive and influential parents, the parents also help book gigs. For booking information, you can contact Terry Coppinger at 217-871-1928 or Pat Walsh at 217-414-6501. You can also like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, subscribe to them on YouTube and check them out on MySpace.

Haircut Actual is a group of teenage boys with a bright future and an irreplaceable talent to play great music. They have a dream to be somebody big, and they most certainly are on the right track.



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