Coleman Kuseliauskas and Christopher Schweissguth have been in bands since they were in high school. Before they founded Big Tobacco, they were members of rival bands. On March 30, the garage rock band will headline a show on campus.
“We were in different bands for a long time, and I was always jealous of Coleman’s band,” Schweissguth said.
The two members started playing together after members of Schweissguth’s previous band, Mr. Mime, left to go to school three hours outside St. Louis. As Schweissguth’s band was ending, Kuseliauskas received a copy of Schweissguth’s solo album and was impressed. Kuseliauskas made contact with Schweissguth, and they decided to start playing together.
“I was like ‘Oh, I’ve never known anyone to personally record an album by themselves,’” Kuseliauskas said. “It was cool. And that’s how it started.”
Member Daniel Young joined Big Tobacco after meeting Kuseliauskas during Webster’s orientation. The two members live on the same floor of their dorm. Another member, Maxwell Hansman, was in Kuseliauskas’ previous bands Good Kids and Great Plains. He is the only member of the band who does not attend Webster.
Adrianna Dreckmann is in charge of planning the show. Dreckmann said she has always wanted to throw a concert at some point in her life. When she was hired at Campus Activities, it provided the opportunity to accomplish her goal.
“I’ve been going to shows since I was a preteen, so I have the motivation to put them on now,” Dreckmann said. “I want people to feel how I feel when I go to shows, where it’s just that sense of community.”
Dreckmann said she first brought up the idea when she was interviewed for the job. After being hired, she reached out to bands on campus including Big Tobacco, the Sigmund Freuds and Handsome Boy. Handsome Boy will be opening, with the Freuds going next and Big Tobacco headlining. The show will be held in Sunnen Lounge from 7 to 9:30 p.m.
Kuseliauskas said Dreckmann messaged him about performing the show after hearing about the band through people who lived on his floor.
“It was cool,” Kuseliauskas said. “We’ve never got the opportunity to place on campus. I think being able to be so close to our friends so everyone can just come out and see us easily is really cool.”
Hansman said his favorite part of playing live music is the audience’s reaction. He said he enjoys that his music has the power to bring someone joy.
“My favorite part about live shows, just looking out and seeing people that are visibly into it,” Hansman said. “That makes me feel really nice because that’s the effect I like to have on people.”
All four members of Big Tobacco said they plan to be involved in the music industry for their entire career. Young said that he knows so many people who do not know what they want to do with their life, and he feels fortunate to have found that as a college freshman. He said he feels most comfortable when he is performing and playing music.
“This is what I feel most at home with, this is what I’m told I do best and this is what I enjoy the most,” Young said. “You add that with the family that comes with playing with these guys and it’s really the best thing. There’s nothing that compares.”