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Origin Athens, Ohio, U.S.
Genres Alternative metal, hard rock, post-grunge
Years active 2003–present
  • Epic Records
  • True Anomaly Records
  • In De Groot Management
  • FEC Records
Associated acts Live My Last, Starset, Red
Members Dustin Bates
Ron DeChant
Brian Patrick
Past members George Andres
Brandon Hill
Greg Huzyak
Nick Kiser
Chad White
Mike Mealey
Bobby Withers
Derek Snowden
Brandon Zano
Trevor Connor
Corey Catlett
Evan McKeever

Downplay is an American rock band formed in Athens, Ohio in 2003, and is now based in Columbus, Ohio. The group consists of vocalist Dustin Bates, bassist Ron DeChant, and drummer Brian Patrick. The band has released four full studio albums and three EPs to date and have recorded with producer Dave Fortman. Their song, "Hated You From Hello" was featured for Game Changer of the Year in the 2011 WWE Slammys.


Formation and Saturday (2001–2006)[edit]

Downplay originated near Youngstown, OH, in Salem, in 2001. Originally a cover band, the band entertained crowds in bars before many of its members were old enough to drink. Soon after, the band (composed of Dustin Bates, Brandon Hill, Nick Kiser, and Chad White) moved to Ohio University in Athens, where two of the original members enrolled.[1][2] Over the next three years the band developed its sound and live show and found a major fan base in the Athens area while attending school there.[3]

One story says that the band's name was ironically stumbled upon during one of the many fights that occurred during the early days of the original Downplay line-up (Bates, Hill, George Andres, and Greg Huzyak) as Bates accused another band member of "downplaying" his role in the argument.[4] But it has been said in interviews that Bates didn't want their original music to be downplayed whilst they were still a cover band.[5][6]

In 2005, Downplay reorganized as an original band. Their first studio album[7] Saturday was recorded "in about a day" on a $1,000 budget at Ohio University’s student ran audio production studio and released during its time at OU. It included a “bonus track,” a spoof hip-hop song about an OU frat bar "The Crystal," which became a student/bar favorite with over 3,000 downloads.[8] Downplay found its niche for energetic live rock shows at Ohio University, playing the famous events like the Halloween Block Party, PalmerFest,[9][10] and the numbered fests (threefest[11][12] fourfest,[13] fivefest, etc.).[14][15][16][17][18][19] In 2006, upon most of the members graduating from OU, the band moved to Columbus, OH, and played a mix of covers and original music.[20]

A Day Without Gravity (2007–2009)[edit]

Downplay returned to the studio in late 2007, this time at Cleveland-based Jungle Recording Studio. Around the same time Bates, with the contribution of loyal friends, established an indie rock record label (True Anomaly Records, LLC), and signed Downplay to the label under a one-album contract. A Day Without Gravity was released in October.[21] The cost of the second studio album was approximately $16,000.[22] This record had a more polished sound and displayed the band's improvements in song writing over their first album, and helped the band begin to expand across the state of Ohio.[23] In 2008, Mike Mealey became Downplay's fifth member,[24][25][26] then the lineup changed save for Bates and Mealey in 2009.

The year of 2009 was full of showcases for Atlantic, Virgin/Capitol, Island, Mercury, and Epic Records, both in Columbus and in New York City for Downplay.[27][28] On November 17, they released their first EP Rise. Fall. Repeat.[29] From this time into the first half of 2010, Bobby Withers, Ron DeChant, Derek Snowden, and Brandon Zano were in the band for a short amount of time.[30][31][32][33]

Line-up change and record deal (2010–2011)[edit]

The band signed with In De Goot Management in April 2010 and went on their first major tour with Puddle of Mudd and Sevendust.[34] In June, the band signed with Epic Records.[35][36][37] Immediately after, Bates went to Los Angeles to begin writing the first major-label debut. "We're the first hard rock band to sign with Epic Records in the last five years," said Bates.[38] Throughout this period, Downplay accumulated the lineup of Trevor Connor, Evan Mckeever, Brian Patrick and Corey Catlett.[39][40] As a holder of an electrical engineering degree and a master's degree in avionic engineering, Bates said he was moving toward a PhD at Ohio University, "clear up until the record deal."[41]

In January 2011, Downplay began recording their third record with producer Dave Fortman (Evanescence, Slipknot, Mudvayne, Godsmack)[42][43][44] in New Orleans where they cut their first album. The working title was Sleep and the album would have had 12 songs and two bonus tracks available for download from iTunes as well as a different track from Amazon.[45][46] It was finished in May. Downplay played with a number of rock bands, including Chevelle, 10 Years, Theory of a Deadman, Crossfade and on a number of major rock festivals including Rock on the Range in Columbus and XFest in Dayton.[47] In October 2011, after realizing that the album that was recorded for Epic would not come out until 2012, the band quickly got in the studio and recorded an album that was to be released on December 1 for all the fans that they had promised a record to by the end of 2011, which turned out to be their third studio album Beyond the Machine.[48][49] Then later in the month, the band was dropped by Epic Records so the label could sign bands from the new TV show The X-Factor.[50] In December, Downplay released their first music video for their song, 'Digging It Out.'[51] After the release of Beyond the Machine, their song 'Hated You From Hello' was used by WWE.[52][53]

Extended plays and Connor's departure and death (2012–2013)[edit]

In 2012, Downplay released their second EP Radiocalypse in May.[54] Their second music video, 'Where Did You Go,' was released the following month.[55] During this time, DeChant rejoined the band.

In July, Downplay announced that Connor was leaving the band to pursue other interests. On the day before the release of Downplay's third EP The Human Condition, Connor died.[56] Later in the week, the band performed a tribute to Connor on 99.7 The Blitz.

Stripped (2013–present)[edit]

In July 2013, Downplay announced on their website that they had "recently signed a licensing contract with NASCAR" allowing them to use over a dozen of their songs and that the band would be going on a short break and would likely go into the studio "sooner than later."[57] On the following day, the band released an acoustic record, their fourth studio album, entitled Stripped.[58]

During an AMA on Reddit in August 2014, Bates revealed that he's still working on new music for Downplay, but hasn't received the "blessing" of the label to release it.[59]

On February 6, 2016, DeChant posted a band reunion photo of himself and Bates together with former members of Downplay including Hill, Kiser, McKeever, Mealey and White.[60]

Band members[edit]

  • Dustin Bates – lead vocals, guitar (2001–present)
  • Ron DeChant – keyboard, bass, backup vocals (2009-2010) (2012–present)
  • Brian Patrick – drums, percussion (2009–present)
Past members
  • George Andres – bass (2003)
  • Greg Huzyak – guitar (2003)
  • Brandon Hill – drums (2003–2008)
  • Nick Kiser – guitar (2003–2008)
  • Chad White – bass (2003–2008)
  • Mike Mealey – bass (2009–2010)
  • Bobby Withers – lead guitar (2009–2010)
  • Derek Snowden – rhythm guitar (2010)
  • Brandon Zano – rhythm guitar (2010)
  • Trevor Connor – guitar (2010–2012; died 2012)
  • Corey Catlett – bass (2010–2012)
  • Evan McKeever – guitar, backup vocals (2011–2012)


  • Saturday (2005)
  • A Day Without Gravity (2007)
  • Beyond the Machine (2011)
  • Stripped (2013)
  • Rise. Fall. Repeat (2009)
  • Radiocalypse (2012)
  • The Human Condition (2012)
  • "Hated You From Hello" (2011)
  • "Dark on Me" (2012)

Notable appearances[edit]


  1. ^ "About Downplay". Sonicbids. Retrieved 2 April 2016. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-02-15. Retrieved 2016-02-09. 
  4. ^ "Discography of Downplay". Musikear. Retrieved 2 April 2016. 
  5. ^ Larry Shields. "'Epic' achievement -". The Review. Retrieved 2 April 2016. 
  6. ^ Meredith Miles. "Video local rockers fly to stardom". The Lantern. Retrieved 2 April 2016. 
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  8. ^ "About Downplay". Sonicbids. Retrieved 2 April 2016. 
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  22. ^ "About Downplay". Sonicbids. Retrieved 3 April 2016. 
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  24. ^ Kevin Howell. "Band with Salem ties gets chance at big time record contract; concert set". Morning Journal News. Retrieved 3 April 2016. 
  25. ^ Guy D'Astolfo. "Downplay to perform for Capitol Records scout". Vindy. Retrieved 3 April 2016. 
  26. ^ Bates, Jay (December 2008). "Downplay displays talent" (PDF). Salem History. Quaker Newspapers. p. 3. Retrieved 3 April 2016. 
  27. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-02-15. Retrieved 2016-02-09. 
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  29. ^ "Downplay on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2016-04-08. 
  30. ^ Wagner, Adam. "Downplay aims to hit it big" (PDF). The Post. Retrieved 3 April 2016. 
  31. ^ "Downplay". WorldNews. Retrieved 3 April 2016. 
  32. ^ Kevin Joy (25 March 2010). "Downplay". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 3 April 2016. 
  33. ^ "Interview – DOWNPLAY | Musician Photo Journal". Retrieved 2016-04-04. 
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  35. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-02-15. Retrieved 2016-02-09. 
  36. ^ "Downplay signs with Epic, will release debut". Vindy. 29 July 2010. Retrieved 3 April 2016. 
  37. ^ "A&R Briefs...". RM64. 3 August 2010. Retrieved 3 April 2016. 
  38. ^ Larry Shields (4 July 2011). "'Epic' achievement". Morning Journal News. Retrieved 3 April 2016. 
  39. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-02-15. Retrieved 2016-02-09. 
  40. ^ Anne Erickson (21 May 2012). "NOISE: Local Music Bet - Q&A with Downplay Singer Dustin Bates, Playing Uli's Haus of Rock Thursday". Lansing State Journal. Typepad. Retrieved 3 April 2016. 
  41. ^ Larry Shields (4 July 2011). "'Epic' achievement". Morning Journal News. Retrieved 3 April 2016. 
  42. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-02-15. Retrieved 2016-02-09. 
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  44. ^ Heather Gross (18 May 2011). "Downplay at Rock on the Range". Columbus Alive. Retrieved 3 April 2016. 
  45. ^ Larry Shields (4 July 2011). "'Epic' achievement". Morning Journal News. Retrieved 3 April 2016. 
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  47. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-02-15. Retrieved 2016-02-09. 
  48. ^ "DOWNPLAY". Onesheet. Retrieved 3 April 2016. 
  49. ^ "Clip Syndicate Video: Dustin Bates interview". WYTV ABC 33. Clip Syndicate. 30 November 2011. Retrieved 3 April 2016. 
  50. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-02-15. Retrieved 2016-02-09. 
  51. ^ "DOWNPLAY's debut video". Retrieved 2016-04-04. 
  52. ^ "Downplay". ReverbNation. Retrieved 2016-04-04. 
  53. ^ "Downplay on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2016-04-08. 
  54. ^ "Downplay is upbeat about new freedom and projects". Retrieved 2016-04-04. 
  55. ^ "Downplay on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2016-04-08. 
  56. ^ "Former Downplay guitarist Trevor Connor passes away". Alternanoise. Retrieved 2016-04-04. 
  57. ^!?p=33
  58. ^ "Downplay | Rock from Columbus, OH". ReverbNation. Retrieved 2016-04-04. 
  59. ^ "I am Dustin Bates, the singer and primary songwriter of the cinematic rock band STARSET from Columbus, OH, and this is my AMA. • /r/Music". reddit. Retrieved 2016-04-05. 
  60. ^ "Instagram photo by @rondechant • Feb 6, 2016 at 5:42pm UTC". Instagram. Retrieved 2016-04-17.

External links[edit]