site logo

Cadet Biography

Last updated: 06/27/2011 12:00:00 PM

The band, Cadet is made up of four guys from Eugene/Springfield, OR. Ryan Smith plays guitar, sings and writes about 95.7% of the songs. Chad Basom plays the drums and sings background vocals. Jason Kennedy plays bass and has been known to occasionally yell from stage. Matt Lenhart is the newest member of Cadet and he plays keyboards, guitars, sings and has been seen using a tambourine once or twice.

While leading worship for Campus Crusade for Christ at Oregon State University, Ryan felt the call to pursue ministry through music. He also thought it would be cool to do music for a living. Duh! He then turned to his friend and former drummer, Chad. Both he and Chad originally played together in the band, Narrowgate. Most of you won't remember Narrowgate. They never had a hit song and their album was only 16 minutes long. (Rumor has it, you can find their self-titled CD at various west coast, used record stores for the bargain basement price of one U.S. dollar.) Chad and Ryan then called on Jason to join the group after his band, Pillar broke up. (Jason was the only bass player left in Eugene who did not have a mullet.) Now, if you thought Narrowgate was obscure, they were a super group compared to Pillar. And that is no knock on Pillar. You can only be so big when you play music in the great state of Oregon. Now, please don't make the mistake of confusing this Pillar with the Dove award-winning group Pillar, who resides on Flicker Records. The band that Jason played for was split up before the Pillar that you now know and love even started to practice. But is this a history of the band, Pillar? I think not.

Soon after, the guys began working on the songs that Ryan had written and before they knew it, they were playing two shows every three months. After a year of playing youth groups and church camps, the guys tried to get a demo together to see if they had what it took to "be a real band." Anyway, they worked with their new friend and producer, Chris Stevens and recorded a 10 song demo which they peddled at various concerts and festivals. BEC Recordings founder, Brandon Ebel got word of Cadet through his younger brother, Seth who at the time was attending OSU with Ryan. After Brandon heard the demo, he was thoroughly impressed.

In September of 2000, the group signed a record deal with BEC Recordings and went into a Vancouver, B.C. studio that same month. There, they spent almost a month with producer Neill King (Green Day, Elvis Costello, O.C. Supertones, The Undecided) and recorded their self-titled debut. But before they released that to stores, they returned to Eugene and teamed up once again with Chris Stevens to record their worship album, Any Given Day: Earth to Heaven. Both albums released in the Spring of 2001 while the band was touring.

Fast forward to the winter of 2002 where the band called on Matt to join the group. Matt had long hair and dressed much cooler than the other guys so they thought it would be good for their image to add a fourth member. After touring for a few months, they decided to actually teach Matt the songs to make the concert experience "tighter." (That last part was a joke.) Soon after, they began working on their 3rd studio album, The Observatory. They returned to Fabmusic Studios to once again call on Chris Stevens to produce. After four months, the guys finished the eleven song album.

Fast forward even further and you get to today where the guys are awaiting the release of The Observatory.