WILLIAMSBURG — Student-led classic rock cover band Midnight Steel, featuring Williamsburg’s Matthew Stumpf on bass, was recently named the Best Band in Tuscaloosa 2022 after winning the first-ever Battle of the Bands at the University of Alabama.
Stumpf moved to Williamsburg when he was a junior in high school. His love of music began with playing the flute in middle school and high school. He also played in The Fifes and Drums of York Town before graduating from Jamestown High School and going on to pursue a degree at the University of Alabama.
“In Jamestown, I was in the band there. Not marching band, just the normal concert band, and played flute. I made it into the all-state Virginia band for flute my senior year,, which was really fun,” Stumpf said. “It was a really cool musical experience for me, which inspired me to keep playing.”
Originally, Stumpf had attended university with the intent of pursuing his finance degree, however, he soon found he missed music and added a music minor to his degree. At the same time, he roomed with several other students who would eventually become members of Midnight Steel.
At first, when the group was more casual — just Stumpf and the guitarists — he played the flute. He dabbled with electric guitar with the help of some of the members of the band, but hadn’t gotten very far along in practicing it, and hadn’t picked up the bass guitar.
“Once we began talking about starting a band, we knew we would have the lead guitar and rhythm guitar, so we needed a bass guitarist so I started learning right away for that,” Stumpf admitted. “Our first gig was about two weeks after that. So I kind of just kicked it into overtime, learning bass guitar for the band.”
Along with the title, the band won a $2,000 cash prize. The band’s future plan is to expand and take things as far as they can — looking to get gigs as regularly as once or twice a week. The group is also currently working on releasing an album, which was announced during the group’s win at the battle of the bands, and hopes to release the songs on streaming platforms in addition to performing them live.