This year's Boston Calling music festival will have something for just about every type of music fan, from the hip-hop connoisseurs who will line up for Chance the Rapper and Migos, the pop and EDM lovers who will bop along to Major Lazer and Tegan and Sara, and the indie fans who will vibe with Whitney and Bon Iver. For those who want to reminisce with tried and true tunes, there will be homegrown rock band Buffalo Tom.

“We’re a band that’s been around for 30 years,” frontman Bill Janovitz said. “We’re not trying to win over new converts. We’re a trio, very no-nonsense, there’s not going to be a light show or anything.”

Janovitz and his bandmates Chris Colbourn and Tom Maginnis go back to their college days at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where they met and became friends after running into one another at various rock concerts on campus and in the surrounding area.

“We were all interested in the same kinds of music," Janovitz said. "We would see each other at different shows, like the Pixies in a basement bar, and there would be like 20 people and three of them would be us."

It was challenging to get gigs, but I would go to the student concert committee and beg for us to be in the bill.

Towards the end of their UMass Amherst days, the three young men lived close to one another in Northampton in houses filled with other guys who played in bands and the equipment they left lying around. Janovitz, Colbourn and Maginnis would play the equipment, and eventually they formed their own band, throwing together a name that combined “Buffalo Bill” (which was not necessarily a nickname for Janovitz) and Tom Maginnis’ name. At first, it was difficult finding a place for their music on campus.

“UMass Amherst was very 80s, hair metal and dance music,” Janovitz said. “People weren’t interested in rock bands. It was challenging to get gigs, but I would go to the student concert committee and beg for us to be in the bill.”

Buffalo Tom performs live at the Bowery Ballroom in Manhattan, New York on May 13.
Good People Bad Habits

Once they all graduated in the late 1980s, they began touring around Boston and New England. Their fan base grew, and eventually they found themselves performing at venues as far Australia and Japan.

Janovitz says each of the band’s members brings their own musical influences to the table, a list he describes as endless and often overlapping among the three of them. Some of the most notable are R.E.M., the Gun Club, Neil Young and Led Zeppelin. And though their music never quite topped the charts, Buffalo Tom stayed true to their art form.

“Classic and mainstream rockers were on TV,” Janovitz said. “Our type of music was truly underground, you know, on college radio, Village Voice, the Boston Phoenix.”

But over time, as Janovitz says the people who had been playing their music got older and into positions of power, they began promoting music they loved –– music like Buffalo Tom’s –– to the forefront. Buffalo Tom took advantage of this moment, hoping to push some of their records out and go on tour before they all got regular jobs.

The wave they rode was a fun one. Janovitz recalled times when the band got to hang out with music legends who would stop by their studio, such as David Lynch, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, Gene Simmons and Rick James.

“Rick James was always in the studio,” Janovitz said. “I have this picture of Chris Colbourn watching the last episode of Cheers with [him].”

“Those were the craziest moments for me,” he continued. “David Lynch would sometimes lean over and say, ‘Sounds like it’s gonna be a hit, boys.’”

Rick James (left) watches the final episode of "Cheers" with Buffalo Tom's Chris Colbourn (right).
Courtesy of Bill Janovitz

As the turn of the 20th century approached, Janovitz says wave the band was riding crashed as underground, grunge rock got washed away under mainstream music. Buffalo Tom eventually took a hiatus from their music to focus on other aspects of their lives.

“We were going 10 years solid until 1999,” Janovitz said. “Tom had already had a couple kids, my first child had been born, and the music industry had changed. We were burned out, and wanted to settle down. We’d never sold millions, so we had to recalibrate what we were doing.”

They resurfaced in the mid-2000s, this time with the ability to pursue their music more freely and passionately.

“When we got back, it was doing what we’d always done,” Janovitz said. “We were less concerned about the commercial stuff and more concerned about writing and doing what we love.”

Bill Janovitz performs with Buffalo Tom at the Bowery Ballroom in Manhattan, New York on May 13.
Good People Bad Habits

Outside of working with the band, Janovitz works as a real estate agent in Boston and pursues another passion of his, writing. He wrote about the Rolling Stones’ album “Exile on Main Street” for  “33 1/3,” a book series in which each volume is composed of an essay about a single album. He followed that up with his book “Rocks Off: 50 Stories That Tell the Story of the Rolling Stones.”

Chris Colbourn runs a booking agency out of Somerville called Concerted Efforts, which allows him to work with artists like the Carolina Chocolate Drops and the Pacific Mambo Orchestra. Tom Maginnis lives in Newburyport and works for a visa processing center in New Hampshire. Every now and then, the trio takes time off from those jobs to work on their music, like they will this weekend.

Always do what you love and don't worry about making money.

Janovitz says he’s excited for the festival and is looking forward to hearing acts like Frightened Rabbit, Weezer, Converge and others with his teenage daughter. After Buffalo Tom performs Sunday afternoon, they’ll be heading on a tour through Europe in early June. Then, they’ll be back to work on their ninth album, which they hope to release in the fall. (They are asking fans to support them in making the album through PledgeMusic.) All of this comes during the 25th anniversary of their breakthrough album, “Let Me Come Over.”

As Buffalo Tom takes the stage Sunday, they’ll definitely be catering to their longtime fans, but will also be welcoming new ones. And if there are any budding musicians in the crowd, Janovitz has some advice for them, which he learned from his uncle.

“Always do what you love and don’t worry about making money,” Janovitz said. “You’ll always figure out how. Never stop doing what you love as your main thing and you’ll always find ways to fill the gaps.”