Butler County band releases new single, music video in hopes of landing more gigs after coronavirus

Rick McCrabb, Journal-News, Hamilton, Ohio
·2 min read

Feb. 21—Even though the coronavirus pandemic has cancelled most live shows, a Butler County band continues making music and shooting videos in hopes of growing its following before the summer concert season begins.

The Wonderlands recently released their newest single, "The Push," with a music video that was shot mostly in the Middletown area by Cameron Ridge, a 2014 Fenwick High School graduate who owns Cameron Ridge Media.

In the video, the five-member band is shown in a Cincinnati warehouse, riding around Middletown in a white Camaro convertible even though it's snowing, ordering food at The Jug and playing in the garage that belongs to Jeff and Carrie Jena, parents of Miles Jena, the band's lead singer.

Jena, 21, a 2017 Fenwick graduate and senior at Ball State University, said the video "totally exceeded exceptions." In less than one week, it has more than 7,000 views on YouTube.

Since the band has made limited appearances due to COVID-19, it's using social media to expand its fans base, Jena said. The band is scheduled to perform July 16 at the Redmoor in Cincinnati and this summer at Swire Inn in Middletown.

Jena said he's been in contact with numerous venues and talent buyers in hopes of booking more shows after the pandemic restrictions are reduced.

"It has been rough," he said. "We wanted to get our feet wet before the summer run but that hasn't happened."

Jena said the video highlights the personalities of band members, including Adam Steele, 23, a 2015 Middletown High School graduate who plays bass and sings; Jillian Gavigan, a 2019 Fenwick graduate who sings and plays keyboard; Derek Johnson, a 2018 Ross High School graduate who plays drums; and Patrick Oakes, a 2019 Turpin High graduate, who plays guitar and sings.

For one shot, Ridge sat in the trunk of his car, fastened himself with a seatbelt and filmed the band driving 50 mph through Middletown. Jena was instructed by Ridge how close to drive to the other vehicle.

"About one foot away," Jena said. "That was pretty insane."

At one point the two cars drove by a Middletown police cruiser.

"That could have ended the operation pretty quickly," Jena said with a laugh.

In another scene, the band pulls into The Jug, a hamburger drive-in and Middletown landmark. Band members order food partially named after some of their songs, including Morning, Mourning Milkshake, Wide-Eyed Fries, Spicy Wonder Wings, Wonder Burger and Digital Salad.