Band of Heathens' Ed Jurdi on Doing Things "Ass Backward" and Working with Kid Rock
Referring to the Band of Heathens as an overnight sensation isn't exactly accurate, even though, by the band's own admission, it ascended into the spotlight fairly quickly.
What began initially as a series of Wednesday-night jam sessions at a club in its native Austin -- an event the group dubbed "The Good Time Supper Club" -- coalesced into an outfit that quickly gained national attention and soon after, climbed to the top of the Americana charts. It was due in large part to the fact that it possessed all the goods it needed from the very beginning, thanks to a pair of seasoned singer/songwriters in Ed Jurdi and Gordy Quist, each of whom had pursued solo careers prior to participating in those impromptu gatherings.
Not surprisingly, then, the group's initial albums were recorded live prior to releasing its eponymous studio debut in 2008. And while concert recordings continue to find a place in its catalog, Band of Heathens has shown a decided studio savvy as well. With the core outfit currently consisting of Jurdi and Quist on vocals and guitar and later recruits Richard Milsap and Trevor Nealon -- on drums and keyboards, respectively -- it can proudly lay claim to its most fully realized effort to date, Sunday Morning Record.
"I think everything about our band, in terms of the way things are usually done, has been ass backward," Jurdi told us earlier this year.
"We all were doing solo stuff and then this thing came together and took on a life of its own. You have moments in your life where things just sort of happen. We were all doing our own thing and just happened to start playing together, and it just sort of took off.
"It was a pretty unique sound, and we all agreed it might be something worth exploring. It wasn't like a discussion ever happened early on, but as we got into it, we were kind of getting back what we put into it. We were feeling good about where it was taking us, so following that muse led us to where we are now."
Indeed, its momentum has been increasing at a rapid rate in 2014. The past year Band of Heathens has toured consistently, both here and abroad, and entered the studio on a couple of occasions, first in April to work on some sessions for Kid Rock's upcoming album and, more recently, to record a new single, a rollicking and robust new titled "Carry Your Love."
"Kid Rock was a fan of the band, and we ended up connecting with him last year," Jurdi explained recently. "He's invited us to play on his Kid Rock cruise the last couple of years and then asked us to open a few of his shows. We just generally had a good time hanging out and jamming on old tunes together. So then he gave us a call and asked us if we'd come up to his studio outside Detroit and do some recording. So the whole band went up there for a week and we made some music and generally had a great time, just hanging out as friends. He enjoyed our aesthetic and wanted to capture it for the songs he was working on."
About the tune, he continued, "We really wanted to capture the vibe of an endless-summer type of rock 'n' roll song. I think the song evokes that joy that comes with being wild and free in the summertime but also has a wistful sentiment where you know it can't last forever."
Most important -- at least as far as fans are concerned -- the band is currently writing and compiling new material that it plans to demo before the end of the year. "That's ultimately the most exciting part for me, writing and recording new material," Jurdi confided in that earlier interview. "That's a very satisfying part of this whole world for me."
Band of Heathens, 10 p.m. Saturday, November 15, at Funky Biscuit, 303 SE Mizner Blvd., Royal Palm Place, Boca Raton. Tickets cost $25 to $45. Visit funkybiscuit.com.
Get the Music Newsletter
Find out about upcoming concerts and special offers happening in the South Florida music scene.