of the swamp, the creature raised its greasy, filthy head—Stop,
Cut—this is not a B grade horror flick, but it does provide an
accurate description for the music of one of our country’s
The Band Of Heathens often, and justifiably so, garners comparisons to the iconic rock group, The Band, who were popular during the period from the 1960’s to the 1980’s. Brooks comments about those comparisons, “We love those allusions to The Band. That is high praise in our books. We hope that we are not just regurgitating and that the music come out in a new kind of way. Our music is definitely rootsie, older sounding music. I think that we sound more like a band from the seventies, than we sound like a band from now. Hopefully we are putting a new spin on it, and adding a spark to it.”
Brooks describes The Band Of Heathens’ music as, “It sounds swampy. Our music has lots of swampy, filthy grooves. It is kind of like white people trying to play black music. The stiffness of those grooves renders a certain charm to them. Most of the time, lyrically, we have a commitment to some kind of story.”
“I didn’t want to push myself on any of The Band Of Heathens’ songs, because I was producing the record. Colin came up to me and said, ‘We have this song that is just greasy and has a lot of grit to it. We would like you to play on it.’ That is my forte right now (the slide guitar). I have fallen into this bucket of grease. I just fell into “Cornbread,” because it is such a lazy, groovy, blues song. It was a lot of doing that song.”
“You just don’t
know where songs will come from. “Cornbread,” has such and old feel to it. It
alludes to a loose kind of vibe. It was just one of those songs that wanted to
be written. It didn’t take a lot of laboring over it. It was easy and it just
sort of landed on the page,” says Brooks, about a song that was inspired by a
conversation that he had with the owner of an
At the other end of the spectrum is the mellow ballad, “Maple Tears,” co-written by Brooks’ bandmates Gordy Quist and Adam Carroll. Caroll wrote the song a few yeas ago, when he was being detained by Canadian border officials, while trying to get his paperwork in order for a number of solo performances.
Take a group of great musicians and songwriters, put them
together with a knowledgeable producer and fabulous musician such as Hubbard,
and then add the coupe de grace with the highly respected singer Patty Griffin,
and it results in magic. The Band of Heathens reached out to
Revisiting a question that I had asked him earlier in our conversation, concerning the band’s feeling validation, Brooks says, “We talked about the validation of the band. It felt like that. I have Patty Griffin singing on my record. Pinch me. That’s pretty cool.”
As the Band Of Heathens start to receive the recognition
they deserve, one gets the impression it will not be long before some emerging
artist(s) says, ‘I can’t believe that I am opening for The Band Of Heathens.
Pinch me.’ At the beginning of June the
band was interviewed by Jessie Scott, from XM Satellite Radio’s X Country
(Channel 12). The band also performed live. The segment will be aired later in
the summer. Watch Riveting Riffs Magazines news page for the time and dates.
During the same week that the band taped their X Country
segment, they performed a rooftop show at Relix Magazine in
The formation of The Band Of Heathens is the stuff that gives birth to legends. The music venue Momo’s in Austin Texas, regularly featured four bands on Wednesday nights, three of those bands were fronted by current members of The Band Of Heathens, Gordy Quist (vocals, acoustic/electric guitars/percussion), Ed Jurdi, who plays guitars, Hammond B-3 and Wurlitzer Piano and Colin Brooks. The other members of the current band are drummer/vocalist/percussionist, John Chipman and bassist/vocalist Seth Whitney.
With that much talent in the band, and three strong songwriters, it prompts the question how do they give everybody a chance to shine and keep the egos in line. “I think there is a strong awareness of how good we are together, that is beyond what we can do by ourselves. I remember once saying to somebody, that I wanted to be in a band where everybody is writing and singing. I had forgotten that I had said that, until the idea first came up for the Heathens, but that is eventually what I got. There are times when I might think that I want to do something here or there, but if the band elects to do it differently, then you have to swallow your pride. Sometimes that’s not easy, but the underlying feeling is, this thing is great. It is really special. We have a special energy together, and that is something to safeguard, and not allow individual egos, or specifically my ego, to damage that in any way.”
The chemistry between producer and musicians is evident on the band’s album and the mutual respect that the band members have for their producer Ray Wylie Hubbard, and that he has for them, is evident when you talk to each.
“I was first introduced to these guys (The Band Of
Heathens) by Mattson Rainer, who is with a little radio station KMBT, in
“The thing that really impressed me was their songwriting. They have three different writers, and I thought that each of them had a lot of depth and weight. Each of them has different styles, but I was really impressed with their songwriting. They had taken the time to learn the craft of it, as well as taking whatever inspiration they were getting and joined the two together. (The Band Of Heathens) guitar playing, singing and harmonies are extra,” says Hubbard. .
As for how the band members view Hubbard, Brooks says, “Ray
is an interesting individual, and he is the quintessential personality in
“Ray brought great people into to work on the record with us. We couldn’t be happier. It is a great partnership,” says Brooks.