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Local band balancing music with school life

Matt L'Etoile is playing the drums and Jake Lorgé is playing the guitar while singing into a microphone.
Courtesy of John L'Etoile
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Head Stone
Matt L'Etoile (left) and Jake Lorgé formed their two-piece band Head Stone during their freshman year of college.

Head Stone is a local band navigating their way through the Reno music scene as well as being students at the University of Nevada, Reno.

During the week Jake Lorgé might be seen taking photos in the journalism building. And you’d likely find Matt L’Etoile at Renown completing his practical nursing training. But, come the weekend they are glued to their instruments making music for their band Head Stone.

Both Lorgé and L’Etoile are Reno transplants from Southern Californina. Lorgé and his family moved to Reno when he was nine. And L’Etoile arrived here with his family when he was five. Meeting in middle school the two became really good friends.

Music has always been something special to both of them, Lorgé even remembered when he first realized that he wanted to pursue it.

“I saw the ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ video when I was in middle school. And then that kind of changed my life forever. I know, it sounds super dumb, but I’m serious. Like, that’s literally what happened. I was like, I want to do that,” Lorgé said.

The two have been working on Head Stone since their freshman year of college, but it was not the first music project they worked on together. Tresed was their first band they made together back in high school, but it didn’t last. But the two knew they wanted to continue music together in college.

Inside L’Etoile’s bedroom, where they record their music, you find anatomy textbooks as well as his plethora of instruments. This gives you a glimpse of the balancing act he consistently has with school and music.

L’Etoile will graduate with a nursing degree this spring. He plans to get a job in nursing but also plans to continue his pursuit of music, he said.

“I like science. And like, I was always interested in anatomy and the way the body works. And so I thought that, like a STEM major would be cool. And also, nursing is a good job, you know,” L’Etoile said.

That has left him in a harder position creatively because he has far less time than his bandmate.

“I have Wednesdays and Thursdays off, so I try to do homework then. I don’t really have as much time as Jake to write music and stuff. And, you know, explore all those cool ideas,” L’Etoile said.

Even though Lorgé loves music he decided he wanted to pursue film. But the journalism program was the closest thing the university had to offer. Majoring in music wasn’t the right option for him, even though he had played guitar for about five years.

“I’m really not that gifted of a guitar player to major in music like that, through university and everything. And then I grew up playing trombone in middle school and in high school, and I really felt like that wasn’t enough for me to be able to, like, do the music I wanted,” Lorgé said.

College has been a hard hurdle for the growth of their band. But graduation is going to leave them with far more free time to work on their music. They plan to use that time to make the band bigger and better. They even said that they have plans to start saving up to hand make their own merchandise.

Another one of those plans is adding a third member to their band to add to their vision of making their music more grand with a wider scope of sound.

They have no plans on slowing down — Lorgé even joked about couch surfing if he had to. At the end of the day, this is their passion and what they want to do with the rest of their lives.

“Head Stone till I die. That’s it. I mean, I don’t see Matt and I ever splitting up anytime soon. So, I mean, this is kind of like our main goal, and something that we want to pursue for as long as we can. So yeah, till the grave, I guess,” Lorgé said.

KUNR's Jacob Kostuchowski is a student at the Reynolds School of Journalism.

Corrected: May 9, 2023 at 9:45 AM PDT
This story was updated with a correction to the band’s name.
Jacob Kostuchowski is a former student reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
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