Pay The Girl proves college pays off

How many times have you sat in class, wondering if the work you put into projects, term papers and presentations will pay off in the future?

If so, the rock band Pay The Girl has a message for you: “Work hard and never give up, because it’s only over when you quit,” said frontman Jason Phelps.

The Athens, Ohio, band struggled through college, playing five nights a week at local Ohio University bars and hangouts for low pay.

Their hard work is starting to pay off, though, with a record contract and national tour.

TVT records, the same label that carries Default, Naughty by Nature and Nine Inch Nails, signed Pay The Girl in 2002.

Pop star Shakira then handpicked the band to open for her 2002-2003 tour.

Phelps said touring with Shakira was “the opportunity of a lifetime that a lot of musicians would kill for. It was a dream come true.”

The band was “nervous, at first, but once we hit the stage it was like magic,” Phelps said.

Pay The Girl consists of Phelps on vocals and guitar, Mark Cooper on guitar and backing vocals, Dave Harris on guitar, Drew Phillips on bass, and Greg Braun on drums.

Inspired by the music of Led Zeppelin and the Black Crowes, Phelps said Pay The Girl is “very rock” live. “We consider ourselves a rock band with multiple genres,” he said.

Their self-titled debut album was released in March 2003, and the album’s first single, “Freeze,” receives frequent airplay on Cincinnati’s Q-102.

So, what makes the band Pay The Girl different from every other band that has followed this path?

“We’ve always been song-driven,” Phelps said. “Lyrics are, to me, the most important part of a song.”

It’s also their name.

It’s a throwback to the band’s college days, when they were so broke that when it came time to pay the bill at their favorite diner, the band members passed the check around to each other, saying, “Pay the girl!”

Today, Pay The Girl is focusing on the future. The band is in talks to film a music video of their hit single, “Freeze.”

They are also on a club tour of the Midwest.

Their next area performance is at the University of Cincinnati on May 8.