Music of Indiana

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The music of Indiana was strongly influenced by a large number of German and Irish immigrants who arrived in the 1830s.

Indiana was one of the first places where jazz music became popular outside of New Orleans and Chicago. In the late 1910s and through the 1920s the state had numerous bands of young musicians playing the new style for dancing.

Richmond, Indiana was home to the Gennett Records, known for recording a wealth of jazz, blues, and country music in the 1920s.

Indiana-born musicians and composers include John Mellencamp, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Kenneth 'Babyface' Edmonds, John Hiatt, Harry Von Tilzer, Charles Moman, Rich Mullins, Kris Roe, the Bill Gaither Trio, Albert Von Tilzer, Bobwheat Long, Cole Porter, J. Russell Robinson, Eddie Condon, Hoagy Carmichael, Wes Montgomery, J. J. Johnson, Royce Campbell, Henry Lee Summer, Axl Rose, Izzy Stradlin, David Lee Roth, Shannon Hoon, Calvin Crabtree, Carrie Newcomer, Janie Fricke, Lonnie Mack, Tiara Thomas, and David Baker.

Though born in Oklahoma, gospel singer Sandi Patty began her musical career in Indiana at Anderson University.

Country music is very thick in Southern Indiana, an area considered part of the Upland South.

Hip Hop Music[edit]

Q-Swon and DJ Machete
Q-Swon and DJ Machete

In 1993, independent label Pump the Mix Productions released "Firs' From tha Bend" which is a 5-track EP consisting of tracks produced by DJ Machete and rapper Q-Swon, both natives of South Bend.

Independent hip hop group, The Mudkids, hail from Indianapolis, Indiana. Producer Elp-Mass and emcee (and now producer and DJ) Rusty made up this classic hip hop combo of emcee and dj/producer.

DJ Tripp has an online radio show that plays and spotlights indie hip hop artists.

Musicals about Indiana[edit]

Charles Moman, an elementary music teacher from Seymour, Indiana is the composer of musicals about the state of Indiana. In 2000, Moman released an Indiana history-based musical, Indiana, That's Where I Belong for use by Indiana elementary students. This 9-song musical tells the story of Indiana through songs of various styles. Song subjects include Indiana Indians, George Rogers Clark, Abraham Lincoln, the term "Hoosier", the Underground Railroad, a rap about basketball and more. It has been very successful and performed by hundreds of Indiana schools and over 50,000 Hoosier students. For more information, go to

In 2007, Moman was commissioned to compose an original Broadway-style musical for the 2009 Bicentennial of Madison, Indiana - the musical Rivertown was performed 6 times in October, 2009 at Madison High School. He wrote the music, lyrics and orchestration while Yancy Unger wrote the book, and Aaron Kelsey was the director.

In 2010, Moman retired from teaching and is now a full-time composer, school presenter and ultramarathoner! For the 2016, Indiana Bicentennial, he will be performing a one-man show for Indiana elementary schools titled Celebrate Indiana!. This one-hour show will be a high energy celebration of the greatness of Indiana. Preview shows will begin in the spring of 2014.

Punk rock[edit]

In Indianapolis, a vibrant 1970s punk rock and new wave scene existed, including Latex Novelties, Joint Chiefs of Staff and Dow Jones and the Industrials (from West Lafayette). One of the most influential Indiana punk bands was The Gizmos, from Bloomington, Indiana - who spawned a thriving local alternative scene that included the likes of Amoebas in Chaos and Dancing Cigarettes. Later, a hardcore punk and alternative rock band from Indianapolis called the Zero Boys became the single most important punk band ever to arise from the state. The Zero Boys started trying to make a local hardcore scene after seeing the Dead Kennedys in Chicago. Paul Mahern of the Zero Boys led the effort, and founded Affirmation Records, releasing several compilations and recordings from Articles of Faith (from Chicago) and local band Killing Children before going out of business.

Lafayette is the home of Mass Giorgini's (of [Squirtgun],[Screeching Weasel], and [Common Rider] fame) Sonic Iguana Studios. Possibly the first recording studio in the world dedicated exclusively to recording punk rock, several legendary national and international punk bands have recorded or mastered their releases at Sonic Iguana, including platinum-selling acts such as [Rise Against]. Lafayette / West Lafayette is home to punk rock record label Oi! the boat records whose roster includes bands from around the US and Europe, notably including Sweden's Perkele who headline many punk festivals throughout Europe, Lars Frederiksen's (of Rancid) side project band The Old Firm Casuals, seminal UK punk bands The Last Resort and Peter and the Test Tube Babies along with many other internationally acclaimed punk and ska groups.

The Emerson, The ES Jungle (Closed but replaced by the Hoosier Dome), The 512 (Was located in Avon, it has a new location), The Irving Theater, Barley Island, The Melody Inn, The 1511 House, The Halloween House, Moria, The Firehouse Theatre, 1624 N Harrison St., Fort Wayne Hip Hop and Dance, Jam Crib, and Locals Only are wider-known names across the state for shows. House and barn shows have become increasingly common, as age limits pertaining to bars and pubs deter underage music fans from going to many shows, which are held in 21+ bars - an issue throughout the state that leaves many local promoters using coffee shops and rec centers as venues.[citation needed]

The local scene such as in Whiting, Hammond, and The east side of Chicago have almost all followed the screamo-post hardcore-and hardcore scene. There is also a small following in pop punk stemming from Indianapolis, with groups such as Piradical Productions helping host shows for local and mid-level touring acts. Other pop punk bands have also surfaced in the Northwest Indiana area including Indy Kids, Detour North, The Region, The Brave Day and many more.[citation needed]

In Northern Indiana, South Bend is home of Plinko productions lead by Garth Plinko who recorded many of South Bend's punk bands throughout the 90's. Wrecked Hooligan Records came into fruition in 2012 and has started releasing compilations titled "No Coast, No Problem" which features many of the South Bend Punk Bands, as well as bands throughout the midwest. South Bend was also home to The Aakata's. The Aakata's are widely credited with keeping the punk torch lit in northern Indiana. From their earliest days as a band, The Aakata's stood apart from their punk peers with their musicianship, as well as their lyrics! The Aakata's style often draws comparison with the Clash and Sex Pistols.The Aakata's emerged as a response to what was perceived to be the increasingly safe and bloated punk rock, heavy metal and manufactured alternative music of the mid-1990s. The band created various controversies during their career which captivated the Indiana punk scene, but often eclipsed their music. Their shows and tours repeatedly faced difficulties from authorities, and public appearances often ended in disaster and riot.The group went on hiatus in 2004.


The Hardcore music scene has been flourishing in Indiana cities such as Indianapolis and Richmond since the late 80's, and also in other parts of the state such as Northwest Indiana.

This is due to access at one time to small independent record stores such as Hegewisch Records in Merrillville, distros at shows, tape trading, word of mouth, flyering, the tenacity of die-hard music fans and musicians and more recently the internet.

Northwest Indiana in particular was a hotbed for Hardcore due to its already established metal scene and place in the urban decay of the rust belt. It really took off in the mid 1990s with the bands Right Arm Death Threat from Laporte and Take A Stand from Michigan City. Having members that had lived in New York and Chicago and being influenced first hand by the scenes in those cities as well as the well established, known and thriving scene in Chesterton, it's large number of bands for a small town, (Failsafe, Aberration, The Chesterton Hardcore Conspiracy, just to name a few) it's DIY ethic, and number of National and International acts playing there.

Being in a cover band saturated market, members of these bands started networking across the region and started booking shows for their own bands as well as bringing acts from other cities and far away places. It soon took off and there were shows every other week and bands popping up every day. Strong connections to nearby already established scenes in Chicago, South Bend, Indianapolis and Detroit were made and growth continued producing even more bands such as After The Quarrel, Shut The Fuck Up, and most notably Blood In/ Blood Out. Apathy, commercialism and violence has marred the scene over the last decade and as with any punk genre and subcultures in general the fakes come and go, personal lives take precedence over participation, and Things change but, the majority of the stalwarts remain and the ball keeps rolling with shows in Hammond and Gary and new bands such as No Dice and All These Years and Nothing, plus strong ties to the Heavy Metal and Hip-hop communities, as well as international ties to the Punk and Hardcore scene from the years of hard work, perseverance and resistance to the powers that be.

Gwen Stacy and Continuance, and Haste The Day have come out of central Indiana. Hardcore music is a growing scene especially in Fort Wayne, IN. AXP is a hardcore band from Warsaw, Indiana who toured the Midwest, East-Coast, and parts of Canada. In The Face Of War is a hardcore/pop-punk band from Kokomo, Indiana. Bands such as AblesLaughter and The Day is Ours,Burnt Among the Ashes and In Silent Ruin have come from Warsaw and Fort Wayne respectively and have grown large local fan bases. Through Scarlet Eyes also plays in Fort Wayne Indiana they came from a small town Rochester. All bands gaining a large local fan base and are quickly becoming hometown heroes. Many new bands are coming from towns such as Goshen, South Bend, Hunnington, Albion, and Fort Wayne. The scene is continuously growing and a larger fan base has also followed.

Fort Wayne is an aggressive hardcore scene with many bands such as Cold Reign, Life After Death, and many more. Hardcore has also made its way into Warsaw with Serpent's Tongue (ex. AXP) and Able'sLaughter. Also, Kokirii is a Progressive Melodic Hardcore band who have been playing many shows and is gaining a large local fanbase. Kokirii is known for have a style such as La Dispute, Touche Amore, and Of Machines.

Even more local bands are continuing to grow such as Life After Death, Serpent's Tongue, Cold Reign and many other more "traditional" hardcore bands have started to stick out and play shows in and out of state.

Not only is hardcore a large genre but also Indie and Folk music have grown in the recent years respectively.

Indy's whole music scene is vastly growing with new artists, new venues, new crowds, music downloads, and merch. If you're part of the music scene, whether you play, are a fan, or help run venues or bands, it's a lot like a giant never ending family.

The Birth of Indianapolis Hip Hop/Soul[edit]

Hip Hop/ Soul is what they are calling it. With a style brought from New York, Texas, New Orleans,and Chicago the Indiana hip hop scene has birthed some of the bravest talent in music. In 2008, we were introduced to two new anthems of hope in The Symphonic Band's "Commencement", which blazed with soulful vocals by Brendon L. Garrett, and heart pounding poetry by John "Juan Blanco" White and the ever present "Dream Again", which also featured Garrett and White with production by ManDog Productions. The Symphonics met at the Broad Ripple High School for Performing Arts, and finished their first recording in less than two days. It had been the first multi-racial recording group out of the Broad Ripple High School for Performing Arts ever. Many locals are still playing the cd although the band is no longer together. ManDog Productions is still actively producing local and national talent, White is still performing on the underground circuit, and Garrett became a local minister and activist. Other artists related to ManDog Productions include BPN, Black Box Entertainment., Ku-Dos the Kid, Z00 Krew Band, Trip Trae; and Calvin Crabtree with his South Central Indiana style of rap.


TKON (The Kids Or Nothing), Trippin' Ballz, Rusty Redenbacher, Skittz, ACE ONE, Grey Granite, Mr. Kinetik, Gritts, Pope Adrian Bless, EJAAZ, Blake Allee, Jaecyn Bayne, Lonegevity, Oreo Jones, Sirius Blvck, Tony Styxx, Golde Patron, Dario A. Lee, Ray E, Alpha Live, Feeray, Ric Jilla, Villion, Brad B, Sir Hart, P. Hardy, S. Colli, Son of Thought, Freeze, John Stamps, Peteyboy, Trajik, KJ, Michael Barber, Shellz, G Stack, Jimi Mac, Renegade, Hardtimes, Nutty Boi, Justus, HUMAN, Paul Michael, Skypp, Swoe, Nick Nice, Vicky Valentine, Scoot Dubbs, Ms. Free, Mr. Indy 500, Vizion, Baby D, Ant Hustle, G Fresh, 20, Lady Free, Mercury Threshold, Jae Ellis, A.O., Nonscense, Onree, Yung Tone, Reddy Rock, Matty Moe, Famoss, Rambo, Rickey Freezer, Flaco, TAG, Benny, Methcost, T-Rock, Riddles, Nappyville, D.T. Farrelli, Beanz, Na Nizzle, Lil Sleep, T.A. The Truth, Bo Lo, Loco, Tae, Rasheeda Freddie Gibbs, Classic Kid, J wood, Tkrazy, G-Scott, Radamez, Myah Evans,[1][2]