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Faculty-led band 'Daryl & the Beans' brings rock 'n' roll to Wellspring Literary Series


Daryl & the Beans rehearse in member Darrin Doyle's basement. From left to right: English language and literature faculty Darrin Doyle, Robert Fanning and Jeffrey Bean.

Students don’t really know where professors go or what they do when night falls over Central Michigan University.

Some professors would like students to assume that they lead normal lives outside of the classroom. The lives of three CMU faculty seem to prove otherwise.

When the moon rises, their days are just beginning.

For them, the nighttime is the right time – the right time to rock ‘n’ roll.

Daryl & the Beans is a band composed of English language and literature faculty Darrin Doyle (on guitar, banjo and drums), Robert Fanning (on guitar and occasional percussion) and Jeffrey Bean (on bass). All three members share vocal duties.

The band’s name is taken from a combination of the last name of Jeffrey Bean and a common accidental blend of Darrin Doyle’s name as Daryl.

The group formed in 2012 to play at a faculty talent show. They hoped to perform their three-part harmony acoustic cover of Slade’s “Cum On Feel the Noize” (as made popular by Quiet Riot) but their plan failed when the show was canceled because they were the only entrants.

As it turned out, Fanning’s Wellspring Literary Series turned out to be the perfect place for the band to showcase their talent.

“We thought, ‘Well, we worked up this song, maybe we can work up a whole set and play the very last Wellspring of the year,’” Bean said. “We did that, and then we decided, ‘We’ll make it a tradition. We’ll always play the last Wellspring of the year.’”

Since 2012, Daryl & the Beans have kept their tradition, playing the final Wellspring of each year. Other shows are rare, but the band usually plays a yearly slot at Max & Emily’s, the most significant of these being their opening slot for Jeff Daniels and The Ben Daniels Band, with a crowd of about 1,000.

Despite their success in winning over crowds yearly, the bandmates don’t want to get too serious about anything.

“We don’t want to ruin the mystique of not taking it seriously,” Fanning said. “We were all in bands before, and you take it so seriously and that kind of wrecks it.”

To some, the idea of a band of professors may sound trite, and Daryl & the Beans acknowledge that with their self-deprecating humor. However, they do their best to keep things interesting.

They cover artists from Prince to Beck to Low, transforming their works into something almost unrecognizable.

“I personally don’t want to be like a dad band,” Doyle said. “I think that’s my worst fear. We don’t want to get up there and just play old standards.”

This year, the band plans to perform an acoustic ballad version of Van Halen’s “Jump” at Wellspring. 

Alongside their covers, they have a handful of originals, many of which can be heard on their first album.

The band was a touring entity only until they entered the studio in 2016 with then-CMU student Daniel Metivier. They worked on and off from June to September, coming out of the sessions with their debut record “Burnin' the Eagle.”

That album, their only recording so far, is available digitally and on CD. The band also sells multiple t-shirt designs

All of the money from merchandise goes to the Daryl & the Beans Award, an official creative writing program award for fiction. Each year the amount awarded changes, with this year’s amount being $237.

To Daryl & the Beans, the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle is a nice escape from their day jobs.

“We don’t play in a softball league or anything,” Doyle said. “Don’t got a bowling team. This is our bowling team.”

Daryl & the Beans will be playing at this academic year’s final Wellspring Literary Series event on April 15 at 7 p.m. at the United Universalist Fellowship in Mount Pleasant on yet another stop on their World Domination Tour.

To see their 2017 Wellspring performance, click here. T-shirts and CDs can be purchased at the show or by getting in touch with a band member.