PLAINFIELD – Over the Sun’s website calls band members “musical misfits,” which found their niche through not fitting in.
The band’s current passion is raising money for the USO through benefit concerts
The band members are Joe Brunker of Plainfield (lead vocals, lyrics) ,Nick Stubblefield of Oswego (guitar), Colin Mackenzie of Naperville (bass) and Christopher Marszalek of Plainfield (drums).
In an email interview, members Brunker and Marszalek discuss the band’s inception, identity and intentions. For information, visit
BARAN-UNLAND: Tell me a little about each individual member and how the four of you came to be Over the Sun.
BRUNKER: Well, Nick Stubblefield and Christopher Marszalek met at church when they were younger. They became a guitar and drum duo for worship in middle school and have been playing together ever since. Everyone met fully on a church mission trip.
I was a major drug addict before I had gone on this mission trip. My parents offered to get me a lawyer if went on the trip. I went through rehab and soon started to lead worship in the youth group with Chris and Nick. Three years ago, we decided to turn it into a band.
We have grown so much since the old days. We added Colin on two years ago. He had been close friends with us in church for years, and we needed a bassist. It has been like one big messed-up family ever since. Wouldn’t trade it for the world.
BARAN-UNLAND: How did you four decide on the band name and why?
MARSZALEK: Ecclesiastes 1 talks a lot about how nothing is new “under the sun” and everything is meaningless. So Stubblefield thought up the idea of calling ourselves Over the Sun, because we don’t want to be something unoriginal and definitely don’t want to be meaningless. It’s a good constant reminder for us on why we do what we do.
BARAN-UNLAND: Your website says, “ through trial and error, from reggae to grunge, found their fit in not fitting in.” Can you elaborate?
MARSZALEK: Over the sun started as a reggae band then slow formed into a grunge band then back into a reggae band, and now we are just trying to create our own unique style in the genre of rock ‘n’ roll.
BARAN-UNLAND: So who would you say are the band’s main musical influences?
MARSZALEK: This is a hard one because all four of us come from different influences and musical tastes.
I think that is why it is so hard for us to narrow down a genre and style. For example, some of Chris’s influences range from everywhere from Slipknot to Sublime to Dawes to Mumford & Sons and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
I don’t want to speak for the rest of the guys, but I think we can agree that ’50s, ’60s and ’70s rock ‘n’ roll is where we get most of our inspiration. Bands like the Beatles, Led Zeppelin and even Cat Stevens.
BARAN-UNLAND: It sounds like playing at House of Blues was Over the Sun’s big break. How did that happen?
BRUNKER: House of Blues has definitely brought a lot of momentum to us as a band. We never thought in our wildest dreams that our first big concert would be at such a stellar venue. I actually had messaged one of my friends if he knew of any dive bars we could play to get a little exposure and experience.
He connected me with Jacob Rosas, formerly of Two Weeks Notice and Gatsby. He asked us right away, to play HOB. Shows after gave us more desire to make this hobby into our life. Slowly, but surely, we are getting there.
BARAN-UNLAND: Is that what led to playing at Disney in 2016?
BRUNKER: Disney World was actually an audition to play at the Night of Joy festival. We went down to Florida and tried out. The judges loved us so much, that we were the only band that was given a four-song slot rather than a three-song slot. It was very surreal.
BARAN-UNLAND: You’ve shared the stage with Switchfoot, Red, and Thousand Foot Krutch (Disney) and Tonic, 3 Doors Down and Gin Blossoms (Naperville’s Rib Fest). Was that a bit surreal, too?
MARSZALEK: Sharing the stage with a lot of big-name bands has really helped Over the Sun develop a professionalism that we think a lot of local bands don’t quite have yet.
When somebody tells you that there’s a possibility that one of the other bands playing tonight is Switchfoot or whoever might be at your show, you do your very best to conduct yourself with a professionalism and vigor that definitely wasn’t there before.
It is a surreal experience but we have those experiences to thank for our awesome live shows.
BARAN-UNLAND: What led you to perform benefit concerts for the USO?
BRUNKER: We had actually played a show with Arthur Liceaga at the Elbo Room. He is the lead singer of Tomorrow’s Alliance. They started doing benefit concerts about a decade ago, and recently linked up with the USO. We were beyond stoked to be involved with such an amazing organization that helps raise funds and awareness for our troops and veterans.
BARAN-UNLAND: You’ve also championed other causes, too, correct? Why?
BRUNKER: We have tried to get involved with as many benefit concerts as possible – from Hurricane Relief, to Veteran Dogs. We all realized that we wanted to use our music to not only impact people lyrically, but also fiscally through these awesome concerts.
BARAN-UNLAND: What can people expect at your concert?
BRUNKER: One thing we hear most from fans is the energy we bring. Many people love our stage presence and interaction with one another and the crowd. We try to be as professional as possible, and bring people what they came for: a good show, and some great jams.