VH New Music Fridays: An interview with Colorado Straightedge

Band members Matt Geleta and John Abbott shine a light on their new single “Leave That Light On!”


Lexie Perez

Happy New Music Friday! This week, Colorado Straightedge. (Photos courtesy of Colorado Straightedge). (Hustler Multimedia/Lexie Perez)

Marissa Tessier, Staff Writer

Vanderbilt student-led band Colorado Straightedge’s new song “Leave That Light On!” brings listeners back to the ‘70s with groovy lyrics, head-bopping beats and funky vocals. The band consists of Vanderbilt seniors Matt Geleta (bass), Pierce Bivens (guitar), John Abbott (vocals) and Nick Sutton (drums). I sat down with Geleta and Abbott to discuss the band’s history and plans for the future. 

The band members met in 2019 as first-year students all living in Stambaugh House. A week before COVID-19 sent them back home, they officially declared themselves a band.

“[COVID-19] ended up being a great thing for our music,” Geleta said. “We had a lot of time to write songs, produce them and upload them. During that summer, we released four songs, and since then, we’ve been trying to release one a year.”

The origin of the band’s name is certainly unique. Despite being named Colorado Straightedge, none of the band members have lived in Colorado. 

“We were under a deadline to release a song, but we didn’t have a band name yet,” Geleta said. “So, we put together random combinations of words until we found one that sounded cool.”

Although the band is classified as an indie rock band, they draw inspiration from many different genres including psychedelic rock, alternative rock and indie pop. According to Geleta, their latest release is a combination of sounds from James Brown, The Jackson 5 and Bruce Springsteen. 

Cover image for Colorado Straightedge’s newest song, “Leave That Light On!” (Photo courtesy of Colorado Straightedge)
Cover image for Colorado Straightedge’s newest song, “Leave That Light On!” (Photo courtesy of Colorado Straightedge)
(Colorado Straightedge )

“The inspiration comes from some late ‘70s American pop rock and Motown,” Abbott said. “It’s about feeling great [and] knowing you have a partner you can always rely on. The idea is that no matter how late it gets, they’ll always leave the light on for when you come home.”

This new song differs from some of their other music as the band is now interested in experimenting with new genres and sounds.

“We’ve just decided to start having a bit more fun,” Geleta said. “That’s what our newest song is about, messing around with a new genre and seeing what people like.”

The band has previously performed at Greek life parties and Vandyville tailgating events. Because of the band’s close relationship with Events at Vanderbilt and the Alumni Association, they are looking forward to playing at future Vanderbilt events.

“The thing I think our band does best is that we are entertainers,” Geleta said. “I think that the best part will be playing the song live. We love live performances, and I think that’s something that differentiates us from other college bands.”

Stream Colorado Straightedge’s newest song “Leave That Light On!” on Spotify.