College freshman Andrew Tejerina does not listen to the music of The Disco Biscuits, but he would love to follow in their footsteps.
In 1995, Penn students Marc Brownstein, Jon Gutwillig, Sam Altman and Aron Magner formed the rock/jazz/techno jam band. During their college years, they played at venues ranging from the Zeta Psi fraternity house to the Blarney Stone to the Trocadero.
Recently the band has gathered a larger following -- performing for a sold-out audience at the Electric Factory last New Year's Eve.
For now, Tejerina will settle for playing his guitar at the Kelly Writers House's open mic nights.
The Short Hills, N.J., native arrived in Philadelphia with a plate full of extra curricular activities he wished to pursue. Sticking mostly to the guitar, Tejerina has found that he has needed to set other goals aside for now.
"Music is my passion," he says. "I wish I could do it for a living."
His musical style consists of jazzy guitar riffs and bittersweet lyrics that sometimes resemble the style of John Mayer, a musician Tejerina greatly admires.
But his other main musical influence is not as popular.
"My mom has been a pretty big influence," Tejerina explains.
Tejerina's mother, Barbara, taught her son how to play the guitar at a young age, instilling a love of Simon & Garfunkel and other '60s folk artists.
Tejerina's first performance at Penn was for a small crowd in the lounge of Spruce College House in the Quadrangle. Several other artists performed as well, but Tejerina claims that he was egged on to keep playing for 10 songs, much more than he anticipated.
Since then, Tejerina has personally recorded a CD of his original songs. Thus far he has sold 20 copies, but only at $2 a piece.
"I feel bad selling them," Tejerina says.
The album is entitled Jarcey, which has a meaning that the aspiring musician will not reveal.
"I can't tell you all my secrets," he says.
When Tejerina is not strumming away on his guitar, he has no problem keeping himself busy.
Tejerina has had a tough time fitting everything into his hectic schedule. He was a varsity football standout in high school and originally planned to play for Penn's Sprint Football squad.
But Tejerina quit after less than a week -- he was unable to commit to the daily practices.
"I never quit anything before, but I didn't want to fail out of school," he says.
Upon first arriving to Penn, Tejerina was psyched to engulf himself in the school's social scene, but his coarse load has been a roadblock -- he takes Spanish 121 every morning at 9 a.m., a class which he has yet to miss.
"I very rarely go out during the week because of the [Spanish] class," Tejerina says. "My friends tell me that I'm no fun, but I hate feeling sick in class."
So far Tejerina feels he is doing moderately well in his courses, expecting to get As and Bs. Besides Spanish, he is taking Calculus, Music Theory and a writing course.
And getting good grades is a harder task than he expected.
"I always feel like I'm behind," he explains.
Tejerina has had a bit of trouble adjusting to college life, but he still likes to make a little time for partying with his friends.
"We tend to hang out in the Quad for as long as possible, but we eventually make it out to the frats," Tejerina says.
Like other typical partygoers, Tejerina enjoys the free beer, but he feels that he gets lost in the mix of hectic parties.
"I think it's like being a freshman in high school again," Tejerina says. "All the girls are pretty much focused on the upperclassmen."
Tejerina doesn't have a girlfriend yet, but he's still trying. He hopes that someday he will return to the successful dating days he enjoyed in high school.
For now, Tejerina goes to the gym six days a week -- he's impressed with Penn's new facility, but he has one problem.
"The music sucks," he says.
Despite his great love of music -- he is even planning on making the art his major -- he's not very tolerant of the Pottruck Health and Fitness Center's dance beats blasting through the speakers.
At least he has his own songs to fall back on. He plans to continue writing songs when he's not keeping up with his schoolwork.
"It's hard to write because I don't have that much time," Tejerina says.
Even when he finds a bit of time there is always the issue of his roommate, Ed Silver.
"Writing music is not something I do with people around," Tejerina says. "There is so much less privacy in college."
Tejerina feels he gets along with his roommate, but they're schedules are too packed to spend that much time together.
"I'm so busy," Tejerina says.
While Tejerina may have difficulty allotting time, at least he is making good use of the little he has.
About this Series Each year, a new set of freshmen enters the University full of energy, enthusiasm — and nerves. Ready to meet new people and experience new things, these college novices are embarking upon a life-altering course. And this year, The Daily Pennsylvanian decided to follow three freshmen along for the ride. You will meet Justine Mumaw, Temi Omojola, and Andrew Tejerina and experience alongside them the joys — and pains — of first-year college life through article appearing intermittently in the DP. As you read, please share your freshman experiences with us in our freshman forums.Comments powered by Disqus
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