Rock It: Maltreated or muscled, local rockers share lifestyle habits

Posted on November 21, 2013


Top left: Andrea Santos of The Splendid Trend, bottom left: Ryan Peutz of Tigerfox, Justin Kerkhoff of PLOT, right: Zech Baumhover of Tigerfox / Photo illustration by Thomas Maxfield/Journal & Courier

Top left: Andrea Santos of The Splendid Trend, bottom left: Ryan Peutz of Tigerfox, Justin Kerkhoff of PLOT, right: Zech Baumhover of Tigerfox / Photo illustration by Thomas Maxfield/Journal & Courier

By Rachael Mattice

Lights are beaming, the guitars are resonating in the amps and all eyes are glaring at the stage – the audience is about to witness a rock show. The patrons want the musicians to yell and strum with confidence to energize their movement.

The lifestyle of a rock star — traveling or just living up to the persona — is demanding and full of habits that ravage the body.

Before the encore, tuning and hauling of equipment onto stages, what else do rockers practice to ensure they will knock out the photographs taken at a gig or make the groupies stare when the sweaty drummer takes off their shirt? What do the fit musicians do to safeguard that entertainment expectation?

I was inspired from a previous interview I conducted with Lita Ford to find out how musicians stay healthy (or if they allow the ravage to take hold).

Maltreated or muscled like Manowar, here is what local Lafayette rockers Joe Yakimicki, 35, of The Gestalts Andrea Santos, 35, ofThe Splendid Trend, Justin Kerkhoff, 29, of PLOT, Ryan Peutz, 26, of Tigerfox, and Zech Baumhover, 22, of Tigerfox said.

Do you consider yourself to be in “good shape?”

Joe: “Pretty good shape for a modern Midwest American, but a recovering nicotine addict. I’m working on regaining lung function.”

Andrea: “Never been better, still in a human shape.”

Ryan: “I can see all 10 of my toes every morning and my reproductive parts, so I am somewhat in shape.”

Justin: “I’ve been in the best shape of my life.”

Zech: “I’m slender. I feel pretty good because I haven’t been drinking as much.”

Do “sex, drugs and rock n’ roll” contribute to your physical state now?

Zech: “Playing rock n’ roll gets you all worked up and gets a lot of energy going, you may not need to eat. Sex and drugs can do that also.”

Andrea: “Two out of three – Rock n’roll always, no drugs, the other part is personal.”

Joe: “Married with children, sometimes take aspirin if I have a headache and am pro-rock-n-roll.”

What do you do to work out?

Justin: “Every other day I do about 100 to 200 pushups and sit-ups and once a week I’ll ride 13 miles on BMX to get cardio in. In your house, on the road, in hotels – you can do calisthenics anywhere with different variations.”

Andrea: “Playing drums and loading in and out of a venue or studio. It helps when band members do not show up for loading.”

Ryan: “I am very fortunate because my band has seven people. Being the circus leader is probably one of the most stressful things that I’ve ever done. So I pace a lot, I frantically pace at all times. Rain, sleet or shine, I get about 40 miles of walking in a day because it is basically anxiety.”

Joe: “I go through phases of doing nothing or doing a lot. Biking, jogging, good old fashioned body weight exercises.”

Zech: “Whenever I feel like I need to work out I ride my bicycle. I also like to walk, I live downtown for a reason.”

What music motivates you?

Justin: “Old school gangster rap like N.W.A or old Ice Cube, Westside Connection,

Justin Kerkhoff, 29, of PLOT

Justin Kerkhoff, 29, of PLOT

‘Bow Down,’ sometimes Deftones.”

Andrea: “ ‘Chickpea’ by Popular Ego, ‘Kidney Bean’ by Popular Ego and ‘Maniac’ from the ‘Flashdance’ movie soundtrack.”

Ryan: “Frank Sinatra or Burt Bacharach”

Joe: “If I’m running, The Clash, Cock Sparrer, The Specials, NOi!SE or flute folk metal all seem to set the pace. Unless it’s the middle of winter then some epic sounding stuff from Scandinavia usually does the trick.”

Zech: “I don’t have an iPod anymore, mostly I try and think about my songs when I’m walking or riding my bike. You kind of get a rhythm when you are walking or riding and I use that rhythm to dream up songs.”

Tell me what other habits you have that would contribute to your state of health. Do you smoke cigarettes, don’t get much sleep, maybe are too broke to afford much food, vegetarian etc. Describe what you eat on a normal, not overstressed day.

Andrea: “I have 4 rules: 1. Eat small portions. 2. You must have at least five colors in your plate (and I hate yellow). 3. Do not eat anything that comes in a box. 4. Do not drink anything that is blue.”

Ryan: “60 percent is genetics, 30 percent anxiety, the other 10 is people in general exhaust my appetite.”

“I also have a pregnant girlfriend so she has a very strict, healthy diet. I try to keep up with her, but I eat a lot of fruit and drink coffee. You don’t keep a woman of such beauty by letting yourself go.”

Zech: “I don’t smoke cigarettes, I am health conscious about the things I eat, but I am still pretty poor. I like to eat vegetables, fruit and rice and I try to stay away from cheese and bread a lot, although that’s all I can eat sometimes. I drink a lot of tea too.”

Justin: “I probably only eat once a day- sometimes it is only a few packs of beef Ramon noodles with hot sauce. A lot of beer or whiskey (Jameson) and I just eat when I can. Money plays a big role in it.”

Joe: “I am a strict vegetarian. No meat, no dairy, no eggs, no chickens, no sausage, no bacon, no ice cream. Nothing that was ever part of anything that once had 2 eyes. My wife and I make most of our food from scratch.”

Being a musician, you are up late and hung-over, when do you find time to take care of yourself?

Joe: “I work a full-time day job, play in a band, run a record label plus hang out with the family. If I have time to cook every meal from scratch, anyone can.”

Zech Baumhover, 22, of Tigerfox

Zech Baumhover, 22, of Tigerfox

What is your alcoholic drink of choice and your late night chow down?

Andrea: “Wine is always good and keeps you in shape. I would eat whatever the venue provides, as far as I do not violate rules No. 1 and 2, but rules are there to be broken.”

Zech: “The go-to is always gin and tonic, sometimes a bloody mary and beer. I will always eat Chinese food.”

Justin: “Usually before shows I tend to drink quite a bit to calm nerves and even afterward to calm down. Weapon of choice is Jameson.”

“Tacos and Mexican food I cannot give up. I usually try not to eat before bed because I know it’s real bad for you, so I drink a lot of water and sleep it off.”

Ryan: “I am never one to turn down tacos at any time of the day. Anybody that tells you tacos aren’t their weak point is a liar. Vegan or whatever, everyone can have tacos. Fortunately with not drinking, I have some self-control. I think about eating a lot and dream about food.”

Do musicians have an expectation to attract?

Ryan: “Anyone that is involved with music in a serious way knows that 60 percent of it is what you look like, especially now. Any band that isn’t trying to look good regardless of their habits is just blowing it.”

Justin: “When you see pictures of yourself from the night of a show and you’re not okay with how you look, it plays a strong role in how you perform. I don’t think anyone wants to look big in the public eye. You are putting on a show for the audience so all eyes are on you.”

Mattice is a producer and music journalist for the Journal & Courier. She can be reached at or on Twitter@RachaelM_JC.

Posted in: "Rock It" Column