Student newspaper of Kirkwood High School.

Figuring out FreeThinker

Grant McKenna, photographer

Anna Edwards, copy editor

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In one corner of the room sits a ‘70s beige and brown-striped couch holding beat up, gold symbols and a table covered in wires and amps. On the other side, a lopsided stool, an over-filled trash can with crumpled chip bags and empty soda bottles, and an aquarium with two clownfish on a pool table. In the middle, an emerald green drum set, keyboard piano and microphone. Molly Giessing, Cody Diehl and Shane Perry, juniors, beat, sing and strum here in Cody’s basement 10 hours a week. This is FreeThinker’s playground.

During practice, FreeThinker plays around with different chords and riffs, trying to put together the perfect song. This process takes a couple of tries and some bruised fingers.

“Molly and Cody will be playing, and I just won’t be playing anything because I don’t like it,” Shane said.

Molly, a little more optimistic, explains the process.

“We have a riff or a main idea, and then we just jam with it,” Molly said. “And then we just go back and play it again and again until it we have it right.”

Shane, lead singer and guitarist, and Cody, drummer, can’t read music. Molly, guitarist, has been playing piano since she was 10 years old and sometimes helps Shane by telling him what notes are on the guitar. Both Molly and Shane learned how to play guitar in an unusual way, from the video game Guitar Hero.

“I can get the gist of it depending on if it’s simple or not,” Shane said. “I already understand how my guitar works.”

Even though the band knows their songs down to the last note, waves of anxiety pass before, during and after their performances without fail. They all agree their worst fear is not sounding the way they want and having the audience be unimpressed.

“I always think, ‘Don’t mess up. You’re going to die if you mess up,’” Cody said.

But, even if their beat is off or a note is out of tune, the band continues to play and support each other. They never look back on their concerts or get upset if a mistake was made.

“We don’t really care that much [about messing up],” Molly said. “It’s in the past, and there’s not much we can do about it now.”

This summer, FreeThinker is driving 571 miles to Cleveland, OH, for two weeks to record and do a photoshoot and music video. BluePrint Artist Development ( will consult and manage the band. As a result, FreeThinker will be  heard across the globe with their music going on 500 websites in more than 79 countries. Every time a song is downloaded, three 17-year-olds add money to their bank account.

The band has only been playing together since Nov. 2012, but, according to Molly, Shane and Cody, they are family.

“We’re a tripod,” Cody said. “One leaves, we all fall.”

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Student newspaper of Kirkwood High School.
Figuring out FreeThinker