- TOONS, TUNES: Andy, Chad and Johnny D.
On the heels of the release of Brother Andy & His Big Damn Mouth's first album, the esoteric, hilarious, often filthy and always great “Mystic Indian Hitmakers,” it seemed time to get with the town's best rock trio for a Times session. So Friday night took me to a garage in North Little Rock and Saturday morning around 7 a.m. finally took me to bed. No doubt, Little Rock's newest mega-band is made of some tenacious, brass livered drinkers. Brother Andy, the lumbering, gentle giant of a songwriter, and His Big Damn Mouth, that is, Chad Conder, the drummer with a quiver full of tongue-in-cheek drum licks, and the man known as Johnny D., flailing bassist took to lawn chairs for a night of BSing and shop talk with me. Here's seven hours of chat distilled.
You make it huge and Hollywood can't wait three decades to make your biopic. Who's playing who in the adaptation?
Brother Andy: Brian Posehn, no question.
Chad Conder: Tyler Nance.
Johnny D: A Baldwin brother, man. Bill Baldwin?
CC: Or, y'know, Rolf the Dog.
So how did the band start?
CC: I mean, that's kinda hard to say. We all grew up on the same street together in Cabot, so we've been friends for 20 years. Like, my parents have Andy's senior picture on their refrigerator. Anyway, Andy and I have always been friends, but Johnny D was a few years older than us and, y'know, kinda mean.
BA: Yeah, he got this Epiphone Les Paul when he was 16 so we went over to his house when we were 11, and he was like “yeah, here it is, whatever, go away.”
JD: We've always heard Andy play his songs on a porch and they're accessible and awesome, we knew the words to them, so finally he bucked up and played them with a band and now it's awesome.
BA: I can't say enough about the White Water crew. Like, their one night off after having to sit through six nights of bands they'd come see a show. Kevin Creasy, Matt White, Sean Ikon, those guys. And, y'know, I love that people loved it then, love it now.
JD: And it's about time people heard it. Some of these songs have been around for five years.
Talk about the lyrics. It's not often you see a band that rocks so hard and can be considered lyrically driven all at once. They're ironic, hilarious and have a Henry Miller filthy streak running through the religious overtones. What's up with that, guys?
JD: He's like Doug Martsch plus Dimebag Darrell.
BA: It's not intentional. I don't sit down to write a single story per song; there may be four or five different things going on in one song that aren't really tied to each other literally but sounds good together.
CC: I mean, there's definitely some funny takes on sexual and religious guilt.
BA: Yeah, man. I was raised Church of Christ but bred to feel, I dunno, all Catholic-y. Whatever. I'm super-foul.
CC: There are parts in the songs that aren't anything resembling pretty. It's blunt stuff, but if you coat it in humor and people sing along to it, it makes it acceptable.
BA: Yeah, there are some times where it's like “holy shit,” y'know? “I can't believe people are singing ‘you got your midnight oil all over me.' ” When we opened up for Exene Cervenka, she walked up to me when I was in my car and quoted me to myself. Nuts. That was awesome. I dunno. I'm just trying to write songs and make them sound like “Master of Puppets” as much as possible.
Can you describe your band in a mathematical equation?
(After a few seconds.)
All: Dinosaur Jr. plus Modest Mouse minus Modest Mouse.
The prolific Brother Andy and His Big Damn Mouth will follow up their debut album “Mystic Indian Hitmakers” with the almost-completed “Hell's Angles,” the second part in their “Mystic Hell Gaze” trilogy to be completed by year's end. The band plays the Thick Syrup Birthday Show Saturday at White Water, next Saturday at Maxine's in Hot Springs and Sunday afternoon at Riverfest.
An Andy by any other name:
Before BA&HBDM, the guys sported some of the best band names the state's ever seen while gigging around Russellville. Here are some highlights
-Resin Hit Evil
-Fat, on Speed
-Inner Beauty Salon
-Russellkill Murder Squad (Andy's old rap project)
-PCP: Pussy City Pimps