Interview with Brothers Keeper's Scott Rednor
Brian Ripple | Wednesday Dec. 31st, 2014
The core band consists of Scott Rednor on guitar, Michael Jude on bass, and John Michel on drums. All three, hailing from an attitude ridden east coast background, have transplanted to the Vail and Roaring Fork Valleys in Colorado for both the mountains and the music.
For the past 15 years, Michael and John have steadily played with the John Oates Band (Hall and Oates) and many other world renown musicians, while Scott has been involved in recording and touring projects on a national level for more than 20 years. Scott now owns Shakedown Bar in Vail where he serves as Music Director bringing in national talent for locals and tourists from around the world. It is there that the trio has made their home amongst an amazing cast of rotating musicians as well as several “ Brothers Keeper Featuring Series” shows. The first of the series featured John Popper of Blues Traveler, and Jono Manson.
Rednor had met Popper at the HORDE festivals in the mid 90’s and they had done quite a bit of touring together. Jono Manson is from New York City and helped pioneer the Nightingales/Wetlands uprising that had spawned Phish, Blues Traveler, Spin Doctors, and many more successful bands. Rednor had opened up for High Plains Drifter, which was a super group of sorts, fronted by Manson, featuring members of a few of these bands. It was the recollection of that raucous rock and roll that inspired this initial collaboration with Brothers Keeper.
After that first show in which Popper and Manson joined Brothers Keeper, Popper brought into play the idea of doing a project together, which led the band to write and record the album that was released on 8150 Records late summer 2014, entitled “Todd Meadows”. This debut from the band is an Americana/Rock n Roll album, featuring 5 lead singers, bringing together their wealth of experience, and a wide range of musical styles. The LP was written by the band in Santa Fe in April of 2013, and recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis, Tennessee in June of 2013. Other guests on the album include Jason Crosby (Phil Lesh and Friends), Glenn McClelland (Ween), DJ Logic, Joel Guzman, and Rob Eaton Jr. This is a Rock n roll outfit like you haven’t seen in a long, long time!
Recently Bozeman Magazine music editor Brian Ripple had the chance to catch up via phone with Brothers Keeper Guitarist, Scott Rednor to get to the bottom of the new project, in all of it’s glory...
Brian Ripple - We are here today with Scott Rednor from the new band: Brothers Keeper. Hello Scott, Thanks for taking the time to talk to us today.
Scott Rednor - Thanks, How are you?
BR - Great, thanks. Would you mind sharing with our readers a rundown of your personal musical resume?
SR - I started playing when I was four. I played violin and ventured into some other instruments landing on the guitar around eleven years old. That was basically it for everything else in life. I started listening to Pink Floyd, Grateful Dead, Eric Clapton and Led Zeppelin. Once all that was going on I was focused on how they got the thing to sound that way.
I ventured off to Colorado after high school to ski and enjoy life in the mountains and formed my first band ‘Dear Liza’ that ended up being picked up by Blues Travelers management in like ‘94. We were sent out on the road doing the HOARDE festival opening for Blues Traveller. It was a great experience. But as things happen to kids in a band that is escalating fast, it all blew up in our faces when somebody slept with the wrong person.
Next I got into some recording and touring projects for a while all over the country really, but ended up back in Colorado about six years ago. I was playing acoustic gigs and started looking for a rhythm section to get out of the acoustic world again. I somehow stumbled onto Michael Jude and John Michel who are the rhythm section for the John Oates band from Hall and Oates. I tracked them down at a gig and pulled up in my truck as they were loading in and told them ‘you are the rhythm section I am looking for’. They kinda looked at me strangely but took my solo CD from 2009. They checked it out and gave me a call a couple days later and said ‘lets give it a try’. We got together and sang a couple songs from the band and looked at each other and said ‘we’ve got something here’.
BR - It says in your bio for the band that it formed in Vail, Colorado?
SR - Those guys live in the Roaring Fork Valley, Aspen and Carbondale, and I live in Vail and we met in the middle for a rehearsal.
BR - Nice, and you have also known John Popper for at least twenty five years or so, since the HOARDE tour?
SR - Yes, all those guys were so good to us when we were in our young twenties. They just took us under their wing. Finally one night, I had this project together and it was like a real rock n roll deal, and I remembered this band that we opened for called ‘High Plains Drifter’ that consisted of John Popper, Erik Shenkman from the Spin Doctors, Bobby Sheehan from Blues Traveller on bass, Mark Clark on drums, and Jono Manson was the front man for the band. We actually opened up for them a couple times in Vail and they just had this raw, killer rock n roll energy about them and it reminded me of where we were coming from. The kind of rock n roll sound that was growing out of Brothers Keeper.
So I called up Jono and John and asked if they wanted to do the first of this ‘Brothers Keeper Featuring’ thing scenario. I own a bar in Vail called the Shakedown and we are sort of the house band there and kinda cut our teeth playing there two or three times a week. They were the first ones we called in to do this featuring thing and right after the first gig Popper looks at me and says “We gotta do a record together” so that’s how that was born.
So we ended up going down to Santa Fe’ which is where Jono is from. We rented out a house down there and the five of us went down for two weeks and wrote the whole record together.
Then a month later we went down to Memphis TN, to Ardent Studios and cut the record over a two week period.
BR - Wow that’s cool. It just seems like it all fell together quite nicely.
SR - Yeah, Yeah, that’s the best way you know. None of it was forced. We all wrote so well together and the recording was smooth and it was pretty easy.
BR - Sounds good to me, Now for the obvious question... Lets talk about where the name Brothers Keeper comes from?
SR - The ever asked question. Trying to pick a band name is sort of a nightmare. We were just sitting around talking and we are a bit older now. I am the youngest at 42. But we were just talking and the bassist Michael was like ‘We look out for each other, we are our Brothers Keeper”. We are not young kids fighting for the spotlight, we are fighting for the music, that’s what we are fighting for. So there it was, Brothers Keeper.
The Todd Meadows thing (album title) is a place or a thing that was born out of our writing session and that somehow made its way to the album title. It is perhaps the home for the horse which is all over our album artwork, it goes with that I guess, it keeps them guessing.
BR - Sure and speaking of that it looks like you have a tour coming up this month...... It looks like a lot of theatres, breweries and even an opera house. You say you cut your teeth in Colorado, but as you venture outside the state what do you anticipate the crowds cross section to look like?
SR - We always hope for the best. We have real good radio play with over 90 stations across the country that have picked us up and have us spinning. We have Dennis McNally from the Grateful Dead doing our publicity so the word is spreading and we are just doing everything we can to get it out there. We are willing to do all the promo we need to in order to let people know there is this great rock n roll band with five lead singers. It is real good high energy. Real good songwriting. The music business is so clogged up these days with so much stuff and it is hard to pick who or what you want to see but if you like things that are real, this is real men on stage playing rock n roll. Everybody is singing. I mean harmonies I don’t think people have heard for a long time in rock n roll.
BR - So you will probably be looking at some big festivals this summer for touring?
SR - Yes we are working out our summer stuff right now. I am currently doing all the booking for the band. We haven’t approached anyone to help us with that job yet. I want it to grow so they approach us. A lot of people have emailed us to see if we want to play their stuff so I am thankful for that. And it looks like we are going to be doing some touring with Billy Gibbins from ZZ Topp sometime this summer as well.
We played a show recently with him in New York and he showed interest in hitting the road with Brothers Keeper.
BR - I’m interested in your take on popular music.... Do you think its harder for uniquely talented musicians to “make it” in todays market, since popular music seems so watered down (homogenized)?
SR - Well, you got to go with what you believe in and you gotta do what you do. This is what we do and this is what we believe in so we are fortunate enough to have found one another and be able to create what we do live, you know, nothings pre recorded, there are no backing tracks. If you hear the songs on the radio and hear the harmonies and then come see us it is the same thing. It is us doing it. So I just say stay strong in what you believe in and do, and that’s the honest fight for rock n roll. People are often shocked when they come see us live. They are like “the singing” it’s like vintage instruments. Real rock n roll. There is not enough of that going on. There are a few bands here and there but the rest is like this processed...
BR - We appreciate your time today and look forward to seeing you at the Filling Station. The show is Thursday, January 15, 2015 at 9pm. Tickets $22 advance, $26 at the door and are available now at Cactus Records & Gifts and cactusrecords.net/event/brothers-keeper/
SR - Thanks Brian. Everyone should go to www.broskeeper.net and check it out. You can get the CD there and spread the word to your friends and come see the show, you won’t be disappointed.