Student Band Gains Traction, Plans First Album Release


Photo courtesy of Bobby Fellman

Junior Bobby Fellman, one of the founding members of the band, sings lead at a live show as his bandmates play the bass, guitar and drums behind him. The group has performed all over the greater D.C. metropolitan area at a variety of venues.

Alex Levy, Staff Writer

Odyssey, an up and coming psychedelic rock band made up of RHS students, dropped their first single on December 13, 2019 on Spotify, Apple Music, and Soundcloud, among other music streaming services. Now that they feel that they have established a name for themselves, they plan to release an album in early 2020.

Juniors Bobby Fellman, James Schmidtlein and Ali Abdelmaksoud, and former RHS student Michael Bellusicio–the band members– make music a big part of their lives. They have sold tickets to shows all over the greater D.C. area. While they typically play in relatively small venues, they hope to start booking bigger gigs. Music has become very influential for them and changed the way they think about different aspects of life and how they approach problems. 

 At its inception, the band started out with both a different sound and name. In 2017, juniors Bobby Fellman, Michael Belluscio and Diego Vasquez formed a hard punk and metal band called BadTime. They were a part of RHS’ Rockville’s Got Talent, where they one-third place, before Vasquez left the group due to differences in commitment.

“Well, originally there was just a band known as BadTime, that was made up of me, Diego Vasquez, and Micheal Bellusicio. While Micheal and I started taking the band more seriously, Diego was doing it more of a hobby and honestly, we couldn’t really accept this. We decided to let go of him in a professional manner. There were no hard feelings or feelings of anger and jealousy. To this day, he still is a close friend of ours,” Fellman said

Schmidtlein and Abdelmaksoud joined the band in April of 2018. They had been playing together purely for fun since the winter of 2017, and after Vasquez left BadTime, Fellman asked the duo if they would join, and they agreed. 

“We saw a really good opportunity, and our music styles were very similar, and we wanted to be part of something bigger than ourselves,” Abdelmaksoud said.

The addition of Schmidtlein and Abdelmaksoud was the catalyst to change their sound and name. 

“We decided to change the sound of our band because we didn’t really enjoy the current [hard punk] sound and decided to create a  [hard rock and psychedelic sound] sound we really enjoy,” Fellman said. 

After Abdelmaksoud and Schmidtlein joined, the band started to take off. They were consistently making music and booking bigger venues. They’ve performed in places like The SongByrd, as well as other local bars and music venues. They’ve performed together a total of 25 shows and were able to make some money while doing so.

“I would say that the money we made from the shows is fairly decent for high school students. We do, however, have to split the total amount of four ways so that everyone gets a fair share. After we have our cut, we can either keep the four-way split or pool our money together to buy something big,” Schmidtlein said.

Despite their successes and the whirlwind of emotions, the group is excited for the future and the release of their album. 

“The album is really coming together and the whole album writing process has been stressful, rage inducing, but most of all a total blast to write and record and we can’t wait for you guys to hear it,” Fellman said.