Default Risk: Meteoric Rise Propels Band to Fame, Fortune and Dubious Chinese Restaurant Gigs

More spine-tingling performances than Live Aid at Wembley in 1985. More good looking musicians than a Backstreet Boys concert at Giants Stadium. And more panties thrown than at a Tom Jones show at Caesar’s. Default Risk rocked the Hong Kong Friday, April 29 amidst of sea of frenzied fans downing Scorpion Bowls.

And to think this band formed only six short months ago with a simple email. The writer, Jon “Chirac” Pastor (sax), was looking for a few good musicians from NH with whom to form a band. Little did Jon know that five future teen idols would answer his call: Bud Bhattacharyya (vocals), Robert Carey (drums), Chris Garcia (guitar), Mike Graffeo (lead vocals and guitar) and Jason Young (guitar).

Their first task: choosing a name. After discarding WACC’D, the Dangerous Triad, and Fiduciary Duty, the boys settled on Default Risk, likely earning them all 1’s from their FIN1 and FIN2 Professors. Smart guys, these six. The band’s first gig was Hollidazzle, where they did indeed dazzle with an original tune, “Welcome to Aldrich 111” set to the tune of the Eagles Classic “Hotel California.”

But one appearance at Hollidazzle was not enough for their rabid fans. On behalf of music-lovers everywhere, the members of Section H begged for more from Default Risk. And more they got at the Battle of the Bands TGIF. Armed with a larger repertoire of covers, Default Risk wowed the large crowd, a mix of current students and admits. At least one female admit was overheard saying, “This does it. I’m coming to HBS next year. They don’t make guys like this out at Stanford.”

What can come next after starring at TGIF? Only the Kong. With a crowd of MBA first-year students front and center, Default Risk opened up with Smashing Pumpkin’s Cherub Rock. The crowd sang along and waved signs high in the air supplied by Kelly Cheng (NH). With slogans such as “Robert, Carey me home” and “A Kiss 4 Chris,” the signs inspired the members of Default Risk to play their very best.

More inspiration came in the form of Jason Young’s mom who despite the late hour and Kong locale sang along to every tune. And the songs spanned the rock gamut: from U2’s “Vertigo” to Stone Temple Pilot’s “Plush” to the Gin Blossoms “Hey Jealousy.” A particular crowd pleaser was the Counting Crows’ “Mr. Jones,” which brought most of the men of NH to the dancefloor.

But no doubt the highlight of the evening was the band’s rendition of Aerosmith’s “Cryin” with special guest vocalist Marni Weil (ND) giving Steven Tyler a real run for his money. Continuing this high, new dad Graffeo channeled the boys of AC/DC on the next number, “Shook Me All Night Long.” Lots of shaking was being done by the crowd.

The band’s last song was the classic Neil Young “Rockin’ in the Free World.” Oh, irony: the world proved to be far from free as the clock struck midnight and the Kong told the band they had to pack up. This despite hundreds of fans chanting for an encore.

After the mind-blowing performance at the Kong, Default Risk’s services have been in high demand. They are scheduled to play Yusuke Watanabe’s (NH) wedding as well as Shyam Ayengar (NH)’s next party and many TGIFs next year. Teen People is looking to do a cover story on them. And Gwyneth Paltrow is quoted in next week’s US magazine as saying, “Default Risk is better than Coldplay.” May their meteoric rise continue!!!