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Math professor gets radical with band

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Auxiliary assistant professor at Ohio State, Bart Snapp, also plays in rock band Minions of Mayhem. Credit: Nina Budeiri / Lantern Reporter

Auxiliary assistant professor at OSU, Bart Snapp, also plays in rock band Minions of Mayhem.
Credit: Nina Budeiri / Lantern Reporter

Auxiliary assistant professor Bart Snapp has 17 different geometry books scattered around his office. He wears a tweed blazer and sits in front of adjacent computer screens, clicking around different shapes and diagrams. He says he loves teaching math.

But when the school week ends, Snapp’s energy and effort shift toward an aspect of his life that most of his students know little about — playing guitar in his rock band Minions of Mayhem.

“In class, he is the center of attention, and he nerds out a lot. At band practice, he’s more about checking in with all of us and being part of the whole,” said OSU alumnus Danny Lemmon, Minions of Mayhem’s drummer and former student of Snapp’s. “He’s still a nerd at band practice, it’s just more ‘you guys are so awesome’ rather than ‘this proof is so awesome.’”

Minions bassist Cole Frank said Snapp is a teacher in the band as well as in the classroom.

“I think he might take the band the most seriously out of the four of us,” Frank said. “We’re a fairly new group, but right away he wanted to start printing merch and making a legitimate website. It was his idea to start practicing with a metronome at practices, which has undoubtedly made us a better group.”

Snapp earned his undergraduate degree at OSU while he played baritone in the marching band, but his interest in music began even earlier in life.

“In high school, I taught myself to play the guitar. I only had one song book — a Paul Simon song book. If I wanted to learn a new chord, I would have to find a Paul Simon song that had that chord, and then write it down in my little book of chords,” he said.

While he was studying physics and math in college, Snapp was also in a ragtag rock band called Xanadu, which he now refers to as “the worst band name ever.”

“In one show, I’m pretty sure that all of our instruments just fell apart,” he said.

Hannah Bayham, the band’s lead singer-songwriter and guitarist, said Snapp approached her after one of her solo performances last summer and asked if she wanted to start a band.

“I was just like, ‘Yep! Let’s do it!’” Bayham said. “And after we got Danny and Cole on board, the rest was history.”

It was also a no-brainer for Snapp who said, “I saw her performing and her songs were so catchy and so funny. I just thought, ‘It’d be really cool if that girl had a band.’”

After meeting his minions and forming a band, Snapp said he can’t even imagine not making music with them every week and performing at shows, and that the excitement he gets from music directly affects his attitude as a teacher.

“When you’re playing music, you don’t have time to think about anything else,” he said. “You’re improving yourself at the same time, and I just think that’s really cool. It’s not just that I’m doing something, but I’m doing something with all of my focus for just a short amount of time. It’s a refreshing moment. Then I feel like I come back to work more energetic and enthused than ever.”

For Minions of Mayhem, making music at practice is fun, but performing is what makes their hard work come to life on a new level.

“You’ve gotta be performing,” Snapp said. “Practicing is fun, but performance is really where it’s at. You’re showing everyone what you’ve been doing. You want to share that with your friends and hopefully they’ll like it too.”

Despite Snapp’s love for his band, he said it is not something he likes to tell his students about or bring up during class time.

“They are paying money for me to teach them math,” Snapp said. “And I need to be working as hard as I can to be teaching them content the entire time. But sometimes students run into me at shows, and that’s always fun.”

Minions of Mayhem’s next show will be Saturday at Kafe Kerouac at 8:30 p.m.

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