If the Burden Brothers are carrying a weight, it’s that in their ongoing game of hide-and-seek with the music industry, they somehow keep getting found.
When former Toadies singer Vaden Todd Lewis and ex-Izzy Stradlin drummer Taz Bentley joined forces, both were tired of the music-business rat race and initially had small ambitions for their new band. Lewis had left his mark on the early 1990s grunge scene with the Toadies, but the group broke up in 2001 after recording only two studio albums. Bentley had made the rounds himself, playing with both the Reverend Horton Heat and Tenderloin in addition to Stradlin.
“Taz and I started out on a whim ’cause we were both a little frustrated with the biz,” Lewis explained. “We wanted to do something totally out there, that we just wanted to do for kicks. And that’s the vibe we try to keep with it.”
When the two first got together, the plan was simple: Record a few tracks, do some shows and put the songs out on the Internet. They put together an EP and gigged regularly throughout Texas and the Southwest. But despite their attempts at keeping a low profile for the project, the Dallas-based band played the role of indie rockers about as well as Britney Spears played a demure Southern belle, and soon their song “Beautiful Night” was in heavy rotation on an Austin, Texas, radio station.
“At that time, we both started to feel that we had something that we just weren’t able to pursue the way we wanted to on the Internet,” Lewis said. “That’s why we decided to dive back in. And, you know, I think both of us just got the itch.”
They scratched that itch by signing with a label that allowed them to record music on their own terms. Dallas-area producer/engineer John Kirtland (formerly drummer with Deep Blue Something) was intrigued by the Burden Brothers and signed them to his label, Kirtland Records.
Left primarily to its own devices, the group made Buried in Your Black Heart, an album of no-frills rock that teeters between tough, driving metal and head-bobbing arena rock, fueled by the anthemic “Beautiful Night.”
The band’s concerts live up to that description too. “We want every show to be a freakin’ arena-rock show,” Lewis said. “I’m tired of f—ing around! I want to do a rock show that I would want to see. And I want to see somebody who looks like they didn’t just wake up, and is going to go up there and play a nice guitar and kick some a–!”
With Casey Orr (formerly of GWAR, Ministry and Rigor Mortis) on bass, along with guitarists Corey Rozzoni and Casey Hess, the Burden Brothers are greeting their growing success with awe generally reserved for a young band that has just gotten its first taste of fame.
“Both of us wanted to get out of it for a while, so we did,” Lewis said. “It was just a matter of realizing what you’re doing here on the planet. And that’s what we do and it’s great, because my purpose is just to waste my time and do rock and roll. Once you realize that, it’s great.”
Burden Brothers tour dates, according to their publicist:
- 6/23 – Chicago, IL @ Schuba’s
- 6/24 – Milwaukee, WI @ Summerfest
- 6/25 – Madison, WI @ Annex
- 6/26 – Flint, MI @ Machine Shop
- 6/28 – Columbia, MO @ Mojo’s
- 7/9 – Dallas, TX @ Taste of Dallas
- 7/22 – Harker Heights, TX @ Hero’s
- 7/23 – Helotes, TX @ City Limits Cantina
- 7/24 – San Marcos, TX @ Lucy’s
- 7/29 – Albuquerque, NM @ Launch Pad
- 7/30 – Phoenix, AZ @ Mason Jar