From the heart of Texas, the BURDEN BROTHERS are a big sounding, hard-hitting band that are a rare independent breed making impact on the radio and on the road. This five-piece band has come a long way from being an Internet-only project, now having a groundswell building with its debut fulllength album, Buried In Your Black Heart, into a full-fledged whirlwind of epic proportions. "We put the pressure on ourselves to make music that is fun and interesting for us as musicians," says the intense, lanky singer, Vaden Todd Lewis. "This band is a blast."
Formed by the ex-Toadies vocalist and acclaimed drummer Taz Bentley (Reverend Horton Heat, Tenderloin, Izzy Stradlin) the band was not thinking big when they first started. "Initially we were interested in keeping a fairly low profile online and a show here and there," says Lewis. "We wanted to put music out over the Internet for our fans to find. We came up with the idea to sell 'Packages' instead of just music," Bentley explains. "The packages would always include a CD, a T-shirt and other items such as coasters, shot glass and stickers. This gave us the freedom to create music for the sake of creating music. The purest music I've ever written for sure!"
While the band may have started off as a duo, they found support not just from guest musicians for the band's concerts. "The first members of the street team were there the minute we announced we would do a show (SXSW '02)," reflects Lewis. "I have no idea how many there are now, but they help hype shows by downloading and passing out flyers, they go to other band's chat forums – they kick all kinds of ass. They dubbed themselves 'LAMF' for 'like a motherf---er.' Not a show goes by that we don't meet at least a few."
After winning on-air "smash or trash" radio competitions in Austin, Texas for several consecutive weeks with a demo of "Beautiful Night," the single became added into heavy rotation. "I remember Toby Ryan [from KROX] calling me personally on my cell phone to tell me we had been added to 'A' rotation," grins Bentley. "I asked what that meant, and he replied, 'that means you're going straight in at 45 spins a week. So it blew up for us that quickly.'" The band managed to release two collectible "Packages" before being officially pulled back into the business.
With the success continuing on at Dallas and Tulsa radio stations, and Lewis now out of the Toadies, Bentley and Lewis signed with a rising new national independent label, Kirtland Records, based in Dallas. "We still utilize the net," states Lewis, "but we were reminded of the potential of radio play and we didn't want to limit ourselves to one avenue."
"We didn't put the band together until after the CD was recorded," says Bentley. "Once we began discussing the band in national terms we started considering possible full-timers," reveals Lewis. "Casey Orr [GWAR, Ministry, Rigor Mortis and Hellions] and Rizzo [Clumsy] had already played several shows with us and appears on the CD. Immediately after the recording was completed Casey Hess [Doosu, Jump Rope Girls] became available (his band had just broken up), and after one audition he was in." "Orr wanted out of the [GWAR] costume and happened to be right there when we needed him," grins Bentley.
Co-produced with David Castell (Space Cadet, The Buck Pets), Buried In Your Black Heart, shows a band with no fear to push the decibels and an admiration for the history of rock 'n' roll. With an underlying darkness there is also a lot of beauty and optimism running through the tracks. "For me the album reflects what we were going through in the months to year prior," reflects Lewis. "Setting the past aside and jumping headlong into the project." With hard-edged rock, catchy heartfelt melodies and a serious low end, the BURDEN BROTHERS truly rock with an unequivocal instinct and cathartic ferocity! "I'm constantly amazed that we have five guys who have been around the block and are looking forward to another lap," Lewis smiles.
With the independent spirit, the band's founders have continued to take charge on the direction and music of the BURDEN BROTHERS. "We're totally in charge with the sound and feel of the band, and that has continued in the studio," states Bentley. "In most cases we knew what we wanted," says Lewis, "and sometimes we kept trying ideas until we knew what worked."
The title track, "Buried In Your Black Heart," hits you hard and never lets up with its explosive tripleguitar attack. "It's kind of a co-dependant thing based on a couple of professional relationships I had that went sour," explains Lewis. "It's more 'in-my-face' than anything else."
"Beautiful Night," the debut single, has been a radio staple for 2004 on many stations across the U.S., hitting the top #30 on the rock charts and top #40 on the alternative charts. The song ironically is about "defining yourself," and this poignant single has done just that for the band with its sweet melody that transcends into a full rock 'n' roll onslaught. "Lyrically, I tapped into what was going on in my life," reveals Lewis. "It's about the realization that no matter how lonely, pissed off, alienated, whatever, there are a thousand people feeling the exact same way at the exact same moment." (" All good friends stood by you, one at a time they fall down. And this is the time of your life that defines you").
With the release to radio of the second single, "Shadow," the BURDEN BROTHERS are poised to bring their sonic intensity up the charts and to an ever-growing national audience. The driving energetic rocker envelopes with personal warmth and a compelling fortitude. While this may appear at first impression to be a stalker story (" Let me follow/And I am the shadow at your side"), nothing could be further from the truth. "I wrote this song to my infant daughter," explains Lewis, "hoping to be home enough to get to know her." With the beautiful ballad "If You're Going To Heaven" Lewis writes and sings reflecting his emotional nuances with passion and humility. "I prefer to let people glean their own meanings from any music." There is no doubt that his songwriting has matured. "I feel that I've gotten to a point with my writing where I'm confident with my storytelling and being very personal," says Lewis.
Some songs may be easier to dissect the lyrical intent than others such as the guilt-ridden "Your Fault," about "being given blame for a situation," and the absolute rocker "You're So God Damn Beautiful." "This song really came alive in the studio. We went nuts trying every outlandish idea we came up with – we wound up keeping most." For Bentley, it has become a live favorite to perform.
The incredible hard and fast drumming style of Taz Bentley is just one part of his making the band distinctive. Bentley's influence can be seen in every aspect of the BURDEN BROTHERS from the graphics to the business decisions and the overall sound and songwriting. "I think Vaden and I work well together because he trusts my input which, for drummers, is a rarity in the music biz," Bentley explains. "I view it as an outlet for my soul. I feel I am offering ideas to someone I can trust to insure them. The band and the fans are my canvas. I love being as vulnerable as I am with this band."
While the BURDEN BROTHERS may sound amazing on the radio, they are "full of BIG ROCK" live in concert. "It must be seen to be understood fully," smiles Bentley. "This is the most fun I've had onstage ever," exclaims Lewis. "It's high energy. Interactive. Well dressed and incredibly sweaty," he laughs. "We go out of our way to meet people at our shows. When possible, we hang around before and after our set. We want everyone to know how much it means to us that they have gone out of their way to kill an hour and a half with the Burden Brothers."
The BURDEN BROTHERS are perennially on the road, and will hopefully soon be at a venue near you. In the meantime, a live concert DVD, entitled RYFO-LAMF, shot at the Gypsy Tearoom in Dallas and directed by Thomas Migone (Toadies, Slipknot, Kittie) is set for release this fall. The DVD will also include behind the scenes footage and music videos for the singles "Beautiful Night" and "Shadow."
"It's amazing to go to Buffalo or Des Moines and see people singing along to the songs that we recorded in Arlington, Texas," says Rozzoni, adding, "I'm having the time of my life and hope I get to play with these guys for the next 20 years." "All of the bands I've been with in the past have been great experiences and fun times, but I'm having a better time with these guys playing these songs than I ever did in the past," reveals Orr, adding "I've never felt closer to my band-mates." "The experience and chemistry of the five of us was crafted by our time in other bands, and a mutual love of beer and eyeliner," smiles Hess.
"We are children of the seventies and I think it comes through in most of the tunes. We were brought up on arena rock," states Bentley, "and it just comes out of us naturally." We bring that to the stage every night, too," says Lewis. "We try to make every club, no matter the size, an arena!"
--- from the official Burden Brothers website