Student Spotlight: Guy Battaglia and 99 Regrets

entertainment-99-regretsFreshman Guy Battaglia has spent a lot of time on stage this semester. He played antagonistic redneck Owen Musser in “The Foreigner” at Woods Theatre, and he will take the stage in Anacon Hall on Friday night as the lead singer and guitarist of the band 99 Regrets.

The Park Ridge native has been playing music for nearly half of his life. Battaglia said that he grew up with many musicians in his family, so it wasn’t surprising when he developed an interest in music. “I began playing alto saxophone when I was in fifth grade, but then realized that I could not play the music that I enjoyed listening to on it. So, when I was 11 years old, I picked up the electric guitar and took lessons from my uncle,” Battaglia said.

 The type of music Battaglia enjoyed listening to was rock, and 99 Regrets is an alternative rock band. When asked to describe their sound, Battaglia said, “99 Regrets has the alternative sound similar to that of Green Day, Weezer, Foo Fighters, and even blink-182. To this sound, we have powerful guitar solos that make the songs unique in the genre.”

99 Regrets was formed two years ago while Battaglia was still attending Park Ridge High School. “Going through various lineups since my freshman year of high school, I finally discovered Samir Tawalare (drums) at the beginning of my sophomore year of high school.  Then junior year I asked fellow theatre/marching band friends Kevin Leone (bass) and Bryan Zeug (guitar) to join.” The band has been going strong ever since.

The four boys have played at many different local venues including The Stone Pony. Battaglia is particularly fond of that experience. “Playing The Stone Pony for the final round of the Break Contest (to play the Bamboozle Festival) was like a dream come true.  The sound system was incredible and it was definitely a performance we will never forget,” said Battaglia.

Battaglia said the lead singer of Green Day has been the most influential to him. “Billie Joe Armstrong is the reason why I play guitar and sing.  Aside from sharing the same birth date, I grew up listening to Green Day, and that will always be my favorite band no matter what they put out,” he said.

The musician also cites legends such as Jimi Hendrix, Slash, and Eddie Van Halen as influences. Battaglia said, “Each of them have created styles that separate them from everyone else and I know that I may not be the best guitar player in the world, but I really want to try to have my own distinguished sound.”

Battaglia’s talents extend beyond vocals and guitar. He also taught himself how to play bass guitar and drums five years ago and has recently started to learn piano at the University. He also writes 99 Regrets’ songs. “I mostly write all the songs and then show them to the band.  Once we play them, they write their own parts and we work on certain areas of the song such as a bridge or a breakdown.  I have been writing songs since I was 13 years old and I just keep writing as much as I can,” he said.

While graduation is a few years off for the music industry major, Battaglia has high hopes. He said, “I hope to make it somewhere with this band and my ultimate dream is to tour the world and perform my music for as many people as possible.”

That dream isn’t just about Battaglia wanting the spotlight. His reasons for wanting to play music are more about his audience. “Music has a certain way of affecting people in which it enlightens them and motivates a positive feeling.  I hope that my music will leave a positive effect on people all over the world,” Battaglia said.

You can listen to 99 Regrets at youtube.com/user/username270 or soundcloud.com/99regrets. Check out their Facebook page, facebook.com/99Regrets, for updates on their upcoming EP and future shows.

99 Regrets will play in Anacon Hall on Friday night at 7 pm for A Wave of Hope Benefit Concert, part of the Hawks Fly Together for Relief effort, alongside many other local bands. Tickets for the event, sponsored by SGA, are $7 and proceeds will benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy.