Band battles to success: NKU students part of ‘A Better Life’

Move over, Cyndi Lauper, girls aren’t the only ones who just wanna have fun. The six-man pop punk band A Better Life are in it for a good time.

“All our shows are like parties,” guitarist Griffin Ross said.

A Better Life, influenced by bands including Taking Back Sunday, Brand New and The Wonder Years, played Saturday at Mad Hatter in Covington as a contestant in a Battle of the Bands. The Saturday show earned the band a spot in the final round. A Better Life, however, does not limit themselves to playing local venues.

“We will play anywhere,” singer Trey McDermott said. “We even drove all the way to St. Louis to play in a basement.”

The members of the band have been playing music since they were in middle school and high school, but they came together to form A Better Life about a year ago. They were originally called Get A Life, but were inadvertently renamed by their unofficial manager, Tony Ryan.

“I was hyping them to someone, and I got the name wrong,” Ryan said. “I told [singer] Ben [Durden] about it, and he liked it.”

Although the name change was an accident, McDermott thinks it’s fitting.

“That’s what we’re striving for is a better life,” McDermott said. “It’s in our message and a lot of our lyrics. It’s kind of the theme of the band.”

With three members of the band pursuing degrees at Northern Kentucky University, it can be difficult to find time to play, but they find a way to make it work.

“We try to have two band practices a week,” McDermott said. “It’s hard sometimes, scheduling practices between school and work.”

A Better Life is currently in the process of finishing up a free five-song EP. The EP, according to McDermott and Ross, should be on the web next month, soon to be followed by five more tracks.

A Better Life will be playing in the final round of the Battle of the Bands at Mad Hatter March 5. The show will start at 6 p.m. and costs $10. In addition to making an EP and playing the Battle of the Bands, A Better Life opens for Balance and Composure and Make Do and Mend March 14 at Fogarty’s in Cheviot. The show will begin at 8 p.m. and open to all ages.

For more information about A Better Life, check out their Facebook page, or go to

Story by Roxanna Blevins