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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

A Dead Poet is indebted to a famous Spokane resident

Dead Poet Society will play the Lucky You Lounge on Friday night.  (Courtesy)

Don’t be surprised if Dead Poet Society singer-songwriter Jack Underkofler screams “Oh Captain, My Captain” if he sees Myles Kennedy at his band’s gig Friday at the Lucky You Lounge.

The singer–songwriter has influenced the Dead Poet Society and the Alter Bridge front man doesn’t even know it.

Dead Poet Society frontman Underkofler claims he learned more from listening to Kennedy belting out tunes with Alter Bridge than he did during four years at the Berklee College of Music.

“There’s no doubt about that,” Underkofler said. “Myles Kennedy’s vocal range inspired me to learn how to sing high and low. Imitating his voice gave me the ability to reach the pitches that I can reach. I learned how to sing high and low and write the melodies I write due to him. I definitely learned more from Myles Kennedy than any class I had at Berklee.”

Underkofler has advice for young, fledgling musicians thinking about attending college to study music: “Don’t do it,” Underkofler said.

The only positive thing that came from attending the prestigious Boston institution was meeting his bandmates, he added.

“It’s kind of a double-edged sword,” Underkofler said while calling from Denver. “Dead Poet’s Society would have never happened if it weren’t for us getting together at Berklee. However, when I think about all of the time and money it took to get a bachelor’s degree, there’s some regret.

“What do all of the history and math classes have to do with what I’m doing now? Music theory is an oxymoron. You can’t teach creation. Creation comes from self-reflection and work. Forget about teaching art. It’s like explaining what an apple tastes like to someone who never ate an apple. Eat the apple and then you’ll know. That’s how I feel about music.”

Underkofler, who formed Dead Poet Society in 2013 with guitarist Jack Collins, bassist Dylan Brenner and drummer Will Goodroad, has long disregarded his Berklee textbooks and any sonic playbooks. The band, which can’t be pigeonholed, plays fretless instruments and creates songs that range from soft, thoughtful acoustic pop to visceral metal tracks.

“My belief is that you write what you feel in that moment and whatever comes out, comes out,” Underkofler said. “I don’t think about genre or anything but writing the best possible song.”

The band’s recently released debut album, “-!-,” runs the gamut. “That’s what we do,” Underkofler said. “I don’t know how to do it any other way.”

If Kennedy would take a moment from Alter Bridge’s world tour rehearsals and stop by the Lucky You Lounge, Underkofler would be eternally grateful.

“That would be great,” Underkofler said. “Myles Kennedy is one of the most underrated singers in the world.

“I discovered Alter Bridge when I was in the seventh grade. I would sing their music constantly, especially the songs from their first album (‘One Day Remains’) and their second album, ‘Blackbird.’ I wouldn’t be who I am if it weren’t for Myles Kennedy.”