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Weskan native in Grammy-nominated group

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

They might have snubbed Justin Bieber, but the Grammy nominations certainly didn't pass over the band whose bass guitarist hails from western Kansas.

In fact, the band Fun. -- complete with a period at the end of the name -- picked up six Grammy nominations in essentially all of the main categories, including best new artist and both record and song of the year for the hugely popular song "We are Young."

Weskan native Nate Harold is the bass guitarist, and proud parents Ed and Cindy Harold have been beaming like a beacon shining from the highest point in Kansas.

The Harolds do, in fact, hail from the state's highest point, Mount Sunflower, northwest of Weskan and a strong stone's throw from the Colorado border.

That's where Nate Harold has his roots in music, an exuberant Ed Harold said.

"He's pretty much self-taught," Ed Harold said. "His mother is a musician. His dad can't hardly play the radio."

Currently on a whirlwind tour, Fun. plays Broomfield, Colo., this evening, drawing proud parents to the relatively close location.

"He is living his dream," Harold said of his son.

But it draws him away from home, both in Weskan and in Lawrence, where Nate Harold lives.

"He still answers his mother's messages, but he doesn't call very often," Ed Harold said.

But with such a tight schedule, it's no surprise.

Fun. was in Los Angeles on Sunday, St. Louis on Tuesday, over to Portland, Ore., on Wednesday and then Broomfield. Concert dates already are set through June, including tours in Europe and Japan.

That means a lot of time on a plane, and little time to slow down.

"To be honest, our schedule doesn't really allow any time to be excited," Nate Harold said of the Grammy nominations. "But the closer we get to it, I'm sure the reality of it will settle in."

He made the comments via email as he set off for yet another concert appearance.

Harold said the nominations are more than he ever had hoped for.

"Definitely never expected to be a part of something like this," he said in an email sent via cellphone. "But we've all worked very hard for a long time in this industry, so it feels relatively natural in the progression of our careers."

Ed Harold marveled at the group's appearance on Saturday Night Live recently, saying it might have been the highlight of his son's career.

But the group's also playing Radio City Music Hall in New York and soon will play the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, the bastion of the Grand Old Opry rather than rock.

"They're a very dynamic young group," Ed Harold said. "They are very grounded and very nice young people.

Despite their excitement, the Harolds have tried to remain fairly low key, especially about the Grammys.

"It's been pretty cool," Ed Harold said. "We haven't said a lot."

They will, however, be watching the Grammys when it airs Feb. 10.