Milwaukee indie rock band I’m Not A Pilot takes its name from frontman Mark Glatzel’s musings on the idea of the control - or lack of it - one has over life. Mark often alludes to being a passenger on a plane knowing the destination of his journey, but uncertain of what the route will bring him through. With a cache of intricately melodic songs about uncertainty and lack of control, Mark recruited his brother Matthew Glatzel on bass guitar and drummer Steve Vorass Jr. (both formerly from Stükenberg) to complement his keyboard and vocals, and to help realize his vision through these songs. Peter Thomas, a cellist with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, began to sit in on weekly band practices and soon his involvement turned into an invitation to join the band. The line-up complete, I’m Not A Pilot released its first self-titled EP in 2009 on Branch Records. Explosive with the rolls and crashes of Vorass’ drums and lush textures of piano and cello, the EP introduces Mark’s dark lyrical content, warm vocal melodies, and a very unique sound.
After a year of local recognition as “Milwaukee’s guitar-less rock band,” and with a full-length album nearly completed, INAP’s Matthew Glatzel handed the bass strings over to songwriter Adrian Esguerra, who had recently moved from Seattle to Milwaukee. With Adrian contributing new bass parts, INAP finished and independently self-released its first full-length album Need Money for Rocket Fuel in November 2010. Live appearances on local radio stations, television, and summer festivals helped quickly establish the band as local favorites garnering INAP an impressively diverse fan base.
Voted Best Rock Band 2010, 2011, and 2013 in Milwaukee’s Shepherd Express Weekly, Best Rock Band 2011 at WYMS 88.9fm Radio Milwaukee Music Awards (Song of the Year 2014 nomination), and nominated for a plethora of awards including Band of the Year 2012 at the Wisconsin Area Music Awards, I’m Not A Pilot has toured the Midwest (and Texas, Tennessee) extensively performing at colleges, high schools, performing arts centers, opera houses, music venues/clubs, music festivals, juried showcases and house concerts.
In November 2013, I’m Not A Pilot independently self-released its second EP entitled The Story So Far. Soon after, a national radio campaign helped place INAP’s music across the country and through word of mouth, an independent feature film called The Surface (starring Sean Astin, Chris Mulkey, and Mimi Rogers, directed by Gil Cates, Jr., written by Jeff Gendelman) placed two of I’m Not A Pilot’s songs (A Lot To Say and Ami’s Song from Need Money For Rocket Fuel) in crucial moments in the film that was premiered at the 2014 Milwaukee Film Festival.
Huge advocators of music programs in schools, I’m Not A Pilot is extremely active in music education. Between 2010-2013, INAP performed family concerts for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s nationally acclaimed Arts in Community Education program. In the fall of 2013, INAP commissioned Nashville arranger/composer, Jim Gray, to fully orchestrate (for winds, brass, percussion, strings) eight original songs by I’m Not A Pilot. The concept behind the commission is simply to bring a one-of-a-kind educational experience to high school musicians across the country through performing side-by-side with I’m Not A Pilot in concert. The orchestrated songs/charts were completed in February 2014 and premiered on April 25th, 2014 at the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center featuring 90+ students from The Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra (MYSO). In June 2014, INAP self-released their fourth album entitled I’m Not A Pilot LIVE featuring the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra. Since then, INAP has performed with the Sun Prairie, West Bend, Waukesha South, and Marshfield High School Orchestras and future collaborations will include concerts and educational classes with the high school orchestras of Kettle Moraine and Greendale, and the Oconomowoc and LaCrosse Youth Symphony Orchestras.
“I'm Not A Pilot is four musicians coalescing to reach a state of gestalt by exploring new sonic territories,” writes Charles Nevsimal of INFO* Magazine, “and in doing so, they're charting a course to the stars."
I’m Not A Pilot’s music can be heard on iTunes, YouTube, Pandora, Spotify, Rdio, Amazon, and CD Baby.