Fastball to play free concert for Northeast State’s 50th anniversary

Northeast State continues its year-long 50th anniversary celebration Sept. 29 with a free concert by the Grammy-nominated band Fastball.

Festivities will start on the Blountville campus at 11:00 a.m. and include family amusement activities and food trucks. At 2:00 p.m., former Northeast State presidents and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey will gather at the amphitheater to commemorate the College’s anniversary. At 6:00 p.m., The Breakfast Club®, a popular 80’s tribute band from Atlanta, will perform followed by Fastball at 8:00 p.m.

For more information, visit and click on the homecoming tab.

Those in attendance will be offered free souvenirs and promotional items imprinted with Northeast State’s anniversary logo. Visitors are encouraged to bring chairs and/or blankets to sit on during the concert. No alcoholic beverages will be allowed.

With nearly 20 years of musical explorations and milestones under its belt, Fastball remains one of the most consistent and continuously celebrated rock bands on the road these days. After rising to prominence in 1996 with the debut disc Make Your Mama Proud, the Austin, Texas-based trio exploded into a household name with 1998’s breakthrough project All the Pain Money Can Buy.


Thanks in part to hits such as “The Way,” “Out Of My Head,” and “Fire Escape,” the record skyrocketed to platinum-plus sales in a mere six months, sending the band on a whirlwind tour of the world. Along the way, Fastball scored a pair of coveted Grammy nominations, an MTV Music Award nomination, and regular rotation on the late night talk show circuit.

That momentum continued into the next decade, starting with 2000’s The Harsh Light of Day, which the infectious single “You’re An Ocean,” and included a cavalcade of guest stars like the late, great legend Billy Preston, Stray Cats singer, Brian Setzer, and former Wallflowers guitarist, Michael Ward. Painting the Corners: The Best of Fastball was released in 2002.

With 2004’s Keep Your Wig On, which was produced by Spoon collaborator Mike McCarthy and Fountains of Wayne’s Adam Schlesinger, Fastball hit its stride. The album boasted influences ranging from British Invasion to the power pop to roots rock.

By 2009, the trio turned in Little White Lies entirely on its own terms, which didn’t just earn the veterans the best reviews of their career, but also multiple appearances at Austin’s SXSW conference and festival.

“I think we’ve grown into a really good rock n’ roll band that’s way better than we’ve ever been,” said Miles Zuniga, co-vocalist/guitarist/co-songwriter. “We have an audience that’s stuck with us the whole time and playing shows never feels like work because it’s a ton of fun. We know people want to hear the hits and we definitely have those in there, but we try to play something off every record, have some improvisational moments without turning into a jam band, and half the time, I start calling out the set list as we go. It all depends on the night and the barometric pressure of the audience.”

Opening the show will be The Breakfast Club®, which touts itself as the longest running, most recognized ’80s tribute band in the United States.

Formed in 1993, the band’s mission is to create the buoyant spirit of music and live performances of the MTV generation bands of the 1980’s. The group’s song list contains more than 100 tunes by artists such as The Cars, Duran Duran, The J. Geils Band, Huey Lewis and the News, Van Halen, and Wang Chung.

The homecoming and concert are also part of the Northeast State Foundation’s annual Because of You Campaign (BOYC) week, which runs Sept. 26 through Oct. 3. The week is designed to allow the College’s clubs and organizations to raise funds for scholarships, programs and projects. The week culminates with a check ceremony and celebration on Oct. 3.

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