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The Wonder Years’ Dan Campbell to Play Concert at Temple University

January 30, 2018 //

There’s a first time for everything—that includes playing a live show at your alma mater.

Dan Campbell, EDU ’11, has made a name for himself as the lead singer of The Wonder Years. He and his band have toured extensively throughout the U.S. and around the world. For all of the concerts Campbell has played, none has taken place on Temple University’s Main Campus.

That changes next month.

Campbell will visit Main Campus as the Fox School of Business presents his side project, Aaron West and The Roaring Twenties, for a students-only concert.

The Friday, Feb. 16 event at the Temple Performing Arts Center begins at 5 p.m. It is part of the Fox School’s ongoing 100th anniversary celebration throughout 2018. The exclusive acoustic set will feature a question-and-answer session with Campbell, who will share personal lessons on the business of managing and marketing a band, “from garages and basements to international tours,” he said.

“I’ve never played music on Temple’s campus before this,” Campbell said. “Coming back to campus is a somewhat rare occurrence, but it’s always marked with a trip to the Bagel Hut and a lot of gawking at all the new buildings and expanded pieces of campus. The growth at Temple in the last seven or eight years has been unbelievable.”

The Fox School spoke with Campbell recently, for details about his upcoming show and his connection to the business school:

Most music fans know you from The Wonder Years, so what can students expect when they come to an Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties show?

“Generally, the biggest change with an Aaron West show is that I do them in character. For those unaware, Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties is a work of fiction told through music. It follows the story of a man named Aaron through a tumultuous time in his life and, to do the story justice, I play the shows as Aaron, totally through including between-song banter. This isn’t really an Aaron West show, though. This is more of a Q+A panel with an acoustic set mixed in. So, in this instance, I won’t be in character. Instead, I’ll be appearing as myself, playing mostly Aaron West songs and answering questions from the audience, collected before the show begins.”

This show is part of the Fox School’s 100-year anniversary. What’s your connection to Fox?

“My main connection to Fox is that my step-mom (Debbie Campbell) is the school’s senior vice dean. She asked me to come and be a part of the celebration and I was happy to oblige. Otherwise, the connection goes only as far as Alter Hall providing me a warm building to eat lunch in during the winter months when I was a student.”

The show supports Symphony for a Broken Orchestra. What can you tell us about that charitable cause?

“My dad actually brought the charity to my attention. It’s a Temple Contemporary program attempting to repair the thousands of broken instruments owned by the School District of Philadelphia. The idea is to put functioning instruments back into the hands of Philadelphia public school students and encourage expression through music.”

Have you found applications for your English literature degree in your lyric writing?

“This is a difficult thing to quantify because my time spent studying literature has obviously had a major impact on the way that I communicate, in general. By exposing me to new voices and ideas, my time at Temple helped me hone and refine my voice. If I had to pin down one thing that most altered my course as a writer, it would be an independent study I took with Stan McDonald, (associate professor at Temple’s College of Liberal Arts), who critiqued my poetry and helped me shape my style with a specific audience in mind.”

At your show, you’ll also be discussing the business side of managing and promoting a band. What’s the No. 1 lesson you’ve learned from your experiences?

“I’ve learned to never stop trying to find ways to do ‘it’ better, no matter what ‘it’ is. Is there a better option for getting our equipment to overseas shows? Is there a better t-shirt blank we should consider printing on? Is it more beneficial to bring a photographer on tour to create content or another stage tech to help the show run more smoothly? Should we consider playing two nights in a smaller room over one night in a bigger one? We’ve never been afraid to question the way we do anything to find an option that offers us more upside.”

While Dan Campbell’s Feb. 16 concert is free of charge, donations in any $5 increment to Symphony for a Broken Orchestra are required to secure tickets. Here’s how to donate:

  • In-person. Visit Alter Hall either Jan. 30 or Feb. 15, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., and make a donation at the table near the first-floor security desk.
  • Online. Donate at Symphony for a Broken Orchestra’s website and email your receipt to dcampbell@temple.edu.
  • Social media. Tickets also will be available through the Fox School’s social media channels.
Learn more about the Fox School’s Centennial celebration.
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