No Regrets: Drexel Students Live the Rock and Roll Dream
Drexel students Matt Klahre and Danny Fornasa have just a few short months before they begin their senior year this fall. Until then, these two friends and band mates are living out their rock-and-roll dream touring the country with their band D&M.
Both agreed that much of their success and familiarity with the music industry is owed to their experiences at Drexel.
Klahre, an entertainment and arts management major, and Fornasa, a music industry major, met as freshmen in 2009 and, through an orientation ice-breaker exercise, the two quickly discovered their mutual love for music. Not long after, they formed D&M (for Danny & Matt) with Klahre on guitar and Danny as lead singer.
D&M, which has a blues-infused pop sound, Klahre said, got its start by playing locally and eventually began touring in major cities across the country. Most recently, D&M scored a slot at the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas, this past spring. They recorded their first five-song EP, “Delawanna,” in 2010 and they’re currently on tour this month promoting their latest album “Wait for Me” and supporting singer-songwriter Carter Hulsey.
The logistics of touring the country are a piece of cake, Fornasa said, thanks to a course he took at Drexel last year.
“I took a music industry class with [adjunct professor] Evangelina Alexiou-Reo. We learned everything from how to route a tour to booking shows to communicating with promoters and venues. We booked our whole tour last year by ourselves. We took everything straight from the classroom to reality,” Fornasa said.
“The [entertainment and arts management] professors really know the business,” Klahre said. He added that one of the most important things he learned was that “it’s important to keep relationships strong with people in this industry because you never know who might be able to help you.”
Klahre and Fornasa have already completed several co-ops that provided real-world experience and helped them make valuable contacts in the industry. Klahre spent his first co-op with DL Media in Bala Cynwyd, a jazz and world music public relations agency, and then worked with Matthew Vlahos Public Relations working on the Philadelphia Science Festival and the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at The Franklin Institute.
Fornasa completed his co-op last term with Brick and Mortar Management, a small music management company in Philadelphia. He plans to work with them again in the fall.
While the two certainly hope to make it big in the music biz, Klahre has a back-up plan. He is preparing to take the LSATs and plans to study entertainment law after graduation.
“I’m on the track to go to law school but if something happens with the band, that would be ideal,” Klahre said.
For Fornasa, music is the one true plan.
“I want to be a musician. I figure I might as well try while I’m young. I don’t want to look back and regret not giving it our all, so we’re giving it our all while we have it,” he said.