Local band Scuffed rethinks alternative music


Collegian | Michael Marquardt

Billy Kero and Alex Merklein of Fort Collins-based alternative punk-rock band Scuffed perform “Slept In” during Fools Fest at the Lory Student Center April 7, 2023. The festival featured seven local bands in a collaboration between Blast N Scrap and KCSU Radio.

Sophia Masia, Staff Reporter

Scuffed is a Fort Collins-based indie-punk band that has been putting their own spin on alternative music since 2019.

The band was founded by lead singer and guitarist Billy Kero and bassist Ian Youngs, who met in middle school and enjoyed making music together. But it wasn’t until guitarist and vocalist Erich Albrecht and drummer Alex Merklein joined that Scuffed became official.


All members have been playing music since they were young and were greatly influenced by rock and alternative music. 

“The reason I do this is because I love my band mates, they’re my closest friends, I like spending time with them and I have fun with them and it’s exciting to see them become better musicians with me.” –Billy Kero, lead singer and guitarist of Scuffed

Having four different minds writing their music has given the band a unique and distinctive sound that has something for all kinds of alt music lovers. The band describes their sound as a blend of punk, emo, indie rock, hardcore, metal and hyperpop. 

“We fit into the alternative punk genre, alternative-rock kind of stuff, but we have a lot of songs that cross genres,” Merklein said. “We have metal songs, we have punk songs, alternative rock songs — there is something for everybody.” 

The band drew inspiration from previous greats like NOFX, Rise Against, System of a Down, Deftones and Nirvana.

“I usually tell people it’s like a more complicated Green Day,” Kero joked. “That pretty much sums it up.” 

Scuffed takes direct inspiration from multiple genres and subgenres of alternative music and admits to being very in touch with the current rock scene as well as its many evolutions. However, they still want to integrate their own sound and locality into their music.

“We split the song writing process,” Albrecht said. “It mostly comes down to Billy and I writing a song, and Ian and Alex take it from there. We all have creative stuff come to us alone, and it can get complicated when four chefs are cooking one meal, but we are able to work together and make it blend.”

They have produced a handful of songs but hope to further expand their discography with new EPs and an album, and they plan to go on tour in the near future. 

When asked what motivates them, each member went into detail about their love and enjoyment of music just for the sake of playing music, and they have no plans to slow down any time soon. 


“It’s really, really, really fun,” Albrecht said. “The high I get from playing shows is unmatched to anything, and I just want to do it again and again. I always want to get better and better as well. To see yourself, as a musician climb, this ladder with your talent, skills and technical ability as well as gain some local notoriety is such a trip.” 

Being local to both Colorado and Fort Collins is something that is important to each member of Scuffed, the local scene and their relationships with not only their listeners but other bands in their genre. 

“What motivates me, aside from the drive for fame and a mansion, is it’s just fun,” Youngs said. “I would continue to play music even if I wasn’t in the band. It’s a good time, and we’ve met so many cool people through this experience. I love playing music, and I had no idea Fort Collins has such a big local music scene. It’s very connected, and people are nice.”

Although they each love the music, the members said that, above everything, Scuffed is truly about the community and the people who make it. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame greats, up-and-coming Fort Collins bands and their listeners are the soul of the band. 

“I just enjoy being a part of this community,” Merklein said. “One of our favorite places to play is house shows where we don’t make a lot of money, but it’s more fun to engage with people and play for people we know will really appreciate the music.” 

Scuffed can be streamed on all current popular streaming platforms, and more information about where they will be playing next, music releases and their upcoming tour can be found on their Instagram

“The reason I do this is because I love my bandmates,” Kero said. “They’re my closest friends. I like spending time with them, and I have fun with them, and it’s exciting to see them become better musicians with me.”

Reach Sophia Masia at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @CSUCollegian.