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Claiming Innocence, a hardcore band from Illinois, is, in my opinion, one of the best examples for any band to follow. The members of this band are Jimmy Bettinger, lead vocalist, age 16; Mark Bell, guitarist and vocalist, age 19; Tom Achacoso, guitarist and vocalist, age 19; Jerry Schulz, bassist, age 17; and Miguel Martinez, drummer, age 17. This band is exactly what I love to see in the music scene. The original plan of this interview was to just interview Jimmy, the vocalist, but he insisted an entire band interview. According to Jimmy, this band is like a family, so everyone in the band should be included. Honestly, there is nothing that I hate more than bands that are only in it for the money and have no relationships between band members. Claiming Innocence has that bond, and you can see that in their interview.
Where did you come up with the name, Claiming Innocence?
JB: Well basically we were throwing names around and we liked the name. One night we had a crazy time that shouldn’t have happened technically. We were all just driving really fast. We all yelled “Claiming Innocence!” right there. We kind of knew that that’s the name we should pick because we’re all like best friends. It just kind of symbolized the friendship we made.
When was the band started?
JB: We actually started this time last year. We met around this time. We became a band around January. It was Miguel, Jerry, and I. And Tom and Mark came to a practice one day with chicken. Tom smelled like a dog. We just kind of met from there. It was a few jam sessions then we got really serious.
What’s the best thing about shows?
MM: I’d have to say the adrenaline rush; just the fans and everyone getting excited about our music and just enjoying it.
TA: The people!
JB: We get to go on stage and do what we love. It gives you such an adrenaline rush. You feel like you’re on top of the world.
MB: Our close fan bases. They always come out to our shows no matter what. They’re always there for us, which is awesome. We love them… and the adrenaline rush. It’s awesome!
Where do you get inspiration for your songs?
MB: Each one is completely different. “Darling, I Fear I’ve Made a Mistake” is about any girl or any guy that’s been cheated on.
JB: It’s basically things I like that I feel strongly about in the moment. I write about it and add more onto that. I bring it and they’re like “Yeah, I like that idea. Let’s go with it.” We just continue on from there.
Who do you think is the most talented in the group?
TA: Miguel learned drums in a year. Jimmy learned how to scream in less than a year. I taught Mark guitar, and Mark’s gotten so much better.
JB: Everyone is special in their own way, and no one is better than the other.
What are your influences, music wise?
TA: BIG TIME RUSH!
JB: Bring Me The Horizon. I listened to Bring Me The Horizon and I was like “Oh hell yeah!” I worked hard to learn how to scream.
MB: Avenged Sevenfold and the Devil Wears Prada.
TA: Avenged Sevenfold.
MM: Avenged Sevenfold and We Came as Romans.
JS: My biggest influences would be A Day to Remember and We Came as Romans.
What do you do in your free time?
JB: I write lyrics during school. After school, I hang out with the guys. I go home and eat and then sleep.
If you want to take a look at one of their shows, simply look up “theMusicNoteOnline”, and there you will see Claiming Innocence’s entire set from November 12 at the Elk Grove Community Center. You can keep up with this lively band on Facebook by “Liking” their page. Also, their EP was recently released, so I advise you to go out and get your hands on it! It’s definitely worth it.