The brainchild of Vaden Todd Lewis and longtime friend Taz Bentley, The Burden Brothers have evolved from an indie experiment born Of major-label frustration to a full-blown rock band with a soaring hit single “Beautiful Night” and a debut album, BURIED IN YOUR BLACK HEART (Kirtland Records/Trauma Records) in less than two years.
Not that the Burden Brothers’ amazing success can be chalked up to taking short-cuts because when it comes to paying dues in the music industry, both Lewis and Bentley could write a book. Following a fitful decade-long stint with 90’s post-punk cult icons The Toadies, Lewis had just two popular and critically acclaimed albums under his belt and a lifetime of disappointment in the business side of making music. Returning to his native Dallas/Ft. Worth home at the end of 2000, Vaden found a thriving music scene and reconnected with ex- Rev. Horton Heat drummer Taz Bentley. Taz, a veteran drummer with crushing power and clockwork timing who also kept pace for such diverse groups as Tenderloin and Izzy Stradlin, was equally disappointed with the business aspect. Upon finding common ground and a hunger to make music, the two began writing. The creative chemistry between Lewis and Bentley was instant and within a very short time they had an EP of songs and were gigging regularly as The Burden Brothers throughout Texas and the Southwest, recording and releasing songs fast and furiously and developing a die-hard fan base along the way.
“We had songs on several compilations, plus an ep and two Burden Brothers ‘packages’ written, recorded and put out in such a short time,” Lewis says in wonderment. “That’s never happened to me before, and it felt really good to be able to just go in the studio and put a song out that fast. I mean, I would still be waiting for approval at any major label.”
Before long, buzz coming off the Burden Brothers shows reached Dallas-area producer/engineer John Kirtland, who had been developing a small roster of local artists getting ready to break out nationally. Kirtland, as drummer for alterna-pop hitmakers Deep Blue Something in the 90s, knew a little bit about the peaks and valleys of making music himself and found he could instantly relate to the independent, no frills road the band was driving down. The fact that they had some great songs might have had something to do with it as well. The Burden Brothers signed to Kirtland Records and quickly set forth putting together an album’s worth of material, most of which would be new and some that had been previously released via the internet.
Kirtland was looking for a joint venture partner to release the first Burden Brothers album in Summer 2003 when a chance Conversation with an old friend led him to Trauma Records president Rob Kahane. Kahane and Trauma, credited with breaking Bush and No Doubt in the 90s, liked what he heard and partnered up with Kirtland Records and The Burden Brothers to release their debut CD “BURIED IN YOUR BLACK HEART”.
“Trauma was a perfect fit for us,” said Vaden Lewis. “They knew a lot about me and my music from my Toadies days of touring with Bush, and Taz with fellow label mates The Rev. Horton Heat, so we were instantly comfortable with them. Rob also understood that Taz and I really needed complete autonomy in the studio and was willing to give it to us.”
“The band wasn’t really up for signing with a major label,” said Kirtland, “but Trauma offered them the flexibility they wanted and also the strong retail and radio relationships I needed to make things work on the business side.”
Unified by Lewis’ throaty, tough and melodic riffing and Bentley’s dynamic and driving drums, BURIED IN YOUR BLACK HEART is exactly what the Burden Brothers wanted it to be – straightforward. Produced by Lewis, Bentley and David Castell, the songs, co-written by Lewis and Bentley, are ragged and personal; well-crafted and memorable but not tricked-out or over-produced in the way that so many of the songs on the rock and alternative charts are these days. And the breakout success of the group’s first single “Beautiful Night” proves once again that there is an audience for great songwriting and passionate, hard-rocking music.
Tipping their hat to contemporaries like Foo Fighters and Queens Of The Stone Age and such legends as Led Zeppelin, The Stooges and the Pixies, the CD is impossible to define within a single genre. From the pulse-pounding rave-ups of the track “Come On Down” to the glam-ish stomp of “Your So God Damn Beautiful” to the country twang of “Your Fault” and plaintive “Conditional,” BURIED IN YOUR BLACK HEART is the work of a band with amazingly broad musical talent and taste.
“Right now, the idea is to not have a style,” says Lewis. “We’ll fall into a sound eventually, but we want it to be a natural progression.”
“We’re having fun experimenting. Vaden and I have been through the circus,” muses Bentley. ” In both of our cases, we got to go farther than we ever thought possible in this business. So at this point we’re just like a couple of guys getting out in the garage to work on the car, just having fun with it.”
Filling out the lineup with considerable talent:
Casey Orr / bass, (GWAR, Ministry, Rigor Mortis and Hellion)
Corey Rozzoni / guitar, (Happiness Factor and Clumsy)
Casey Hess / guitar, (Doosu)
More to come on these great players soon!