Music on Main: Branson Ravanh (w/ video)

Music on Main: Branson Ravanh (w/ video)

Though he's only 16, BRANSON RAVANH of Champaign, guitarist in After Curfew, knows his classic rock. Staff writer Paul Wood asked him a few questions before he filled our lobby with a Hendrix-like take on 'The Star-Spangeld Banner' on Tuesday. Check out the video at

You only started playing in 2015. How did you get so good so young?

I don't know; I guess it's hard to explain. To have control of the music in my fingers from my instrument gives me a feeling of accomplishment and power. I'm not power greedy, but it's a good buzz. I like the positive effect my music has on everyone in the community. I like seeing people rock out when I play. I am fascinated with the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival and the Monterey Pop Festival. When I play, the energy of the crowd makes me think of days in the '60s, '70s and '80s when rock was young. It reassures me that those kinds of days are still alive and well, and I dig that rebellious hippie culture through music.

Who are your guitar heroes? Why them?

Jimi Hendrix revolutionized music by displaying messages in his work. He used his dive-bomb moves and amplifier feedback to portray the Vietnam War, and used effects like the Univibe pedal to give a trippy magical swirl to his music. Pete Townshend was a rocker indeed. He used amp feedback heavily in the '60s in the early days of his band, The Who. He was a rock 'n' roll heavy hitter and let it all go onstage. The Doors have one of the best styles of music I have ever heard. It's 1960s American electric organ music that helped form a generation. They got it done. Their guitarist, Robby Krieger, wrote "Light My Fire" in three days with Jim Morrison, organist Ray Manzerek and drummer John Densmore. It was one of the top songs of 1967, and it's a personal favorite of mine.

What's your favorite place to play, and why?

The City Center is a favorite. That place is huge, and so is the stage. My choices could change; I still have a long way to go with my music.

What's it like to play live?

I do feel funny onstage, with a mix of feelings — heavy anxiety is one. I feel transparent, but it's there for me to learn, I guess. At the same time, feelings of confidence and excitement are present. Once the motor is warmed up, buckle up.

What's next for you?

I got me, I got my guitar, I got my amps and my new roadie, Bo. Bo is my little brother and a lifelong best friend. And when I get my music out in the streets, sky, houses, city and fields, I'm taking Bo, my band After Curfew and everyone in C-U into the sky where we can all be together. People of all races, genders, LGBTQ, will be sticking together with pure rock. I hope to get there soon.

Topics (1):Music