The Public

Are you ready for the post-punk sounds of a band born in the heart of St. CHarles Parish? You better be ... ‘cause The Public is about to take you on one heck of a ride.

Heather R. Breaux
February 20, 2008 at 12:17 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

THE PUBLIC. Pictured above are (l to r) Bryan Besse, Jack Champagne, Ryan Plattsmier and Travis Shuler.
Photo by Black Sails Photography
THE PUBLIC. Pictured above are (l to r) Bryan Besse, Jack Champagne, Ryan Plattsmier and Travis Shuler.
What would you say if I told you that the next song you downloaded onto your iPod or that the next CD you bought would be the creative collaboration of four guys all hailing from St. Charles Parish?

You'd probably say, "Wow, that's pretty cool." And you'd be right. It's very cool, because sealing the deal with a New York record company could be just the break a band by the name of The Public has been waiting for.

Five years ago and with a dream of making it in the music industry, Jack Champagne, Travis Shuler, Bryan Besse and Ryan Plattsmier creatively joined forces and pulled together their post-punk musical ensemble.

"Bryan, Ryan and I all started playing music around 10 years old," said Champagne.

"And I started playing in a band called Falling Janus when I was a senior in high school."

Champagne says that eventually he brought Bryan into the mix, but the group couldn't keep it going and dissolved.

"I kind of gave up on music, but a few years later I ran into Bryan who had just met Travis and decided to give playing music another shot," said Champagne, who plays guitar.

"I had only written three songs when Travis booked our first show. We didn't have a bassist, but Ryan had just moved back into the area and Bryan sort of forced him in. He had three days to write basslines."

The Public's first gig was staged at a popular New Orleans bar, called The Howlin' Wolf. And even though the group's strong passion and appreciation for music was there, not having a well-oiled machine definitely posed a challenge for the guys.

"I had some gigs booked for my old band, which had broken up, so I just put The Public in their place," said Shuler.

"We were still writing, so we had to adlib some of the lyrics and notes as we went along."

But the guys stuck it out and faithfully played a show locally at least once a month - that is, of course, until they decided to broaden the horizon and take their music to New York City.

"We decided to try a different tactic with touring and basically set up a residency in New York City's East Village," said Shuler, who plays guitar and belts out vocals for the band.

"We played five shows, got the chance to meet a lot of great people and created a small buzz for our group."

In August 2007, a friend and fan of The Public, told Tony Ramo, the head of Five03 Records in New York, about the band and urged him to fly to Atlanta to see them perform.

Ramo was impressed and without any hesitation or second guessing he signed the group on the spot.

"It's a small label who will basically distribute us, put our name out there and hope something bigger comes our way," said Champagne.

"The first CD, No Love Is Permanent, should come out in September and then the touring madness begins."

While there's no doubt that the four guys who make up The Public share a common interest in becoming successful performers, their reasons for wanting to be a musician uniquely vary.

Shuler, who moved from Kodiak, Alaska to Luling when he was 16, says that it was his parents' divorce and the culture shock of moving to the south that really made him focus on music.

"It was a very socially awkward time for me," said Shuler. "I retreated obsessively into my guitar and song writing."

Champagne says that as a child he looked at performing as something fun to do, but has realized that it's a lot of hard work.

"You can't just sit in a room, get drunk and hope something good comes out of it," said Champagne.

"You have to go over every note with a fine-tooth comb."
And for the band's bassist, it was his older brother who inspired him to give music a shot.

"I looked up to my brother, Derek, who played the drums when I was only 11," said Plattsmier.

"I'd always loved the bass and decided to play it."

This may be only the start of what's to come for The Public, but that doesn't stop these guys from setting the bar high for future success.

"We want to continue to reach new fans, have successful record sales and improve ourselves with each album we record," said Plattsmier.

And Shuler seconds that.

"We'd love to just be able to sustain ourselves with the music and, of course, we're going to try as hard as we can to be hugely successful.”

"I just want people to hear us," he said.

To learn more about The Public and catch a sneak peek of what's to come this September when the band releases their album, visit

Questions? Comments? Story ideas? Send an email to Lifestyles Editor Heather R. Breaux

View other articles written Heather R. Breaux

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