Thursday, June 11, 2009

Q&A: Busted Creek

Bloomington, IN-based four-piece Busted Creek are gearing up to play Chicago for the first time this month with a show on June 25 at Elbo Room. The band recently recorded their debut EP, Suburban Skyline, which blends straightforward, Midwestern rock and roll with storytelling singer-songwriter qualities. In anticipation of their Windy City debut, they took some time out to fill us in on what they're all about and what people can expect at the show:

What’s the story behind Busted Creek? When and how did the band come together?

Chad Miller (lead vocals, rhythm guitar): Busted Creek was formed by accident. I was playing acoustically around northern Indiana and Alex was in the recording arts program in Bloomington. We had known each other from South Bend, and had played a few summer acoustic gigs together the year previous. Alex called me up earlier this fall and asked if I'd like to record some of my stuff for one of his projects. I said sure - free studio time is free studio time, after all. I told him I'd love to do some full band renditions of some of my songs, though, and asked if he knew a bass player and a drummer. So Alex called Ryan and Dave to see if they'd be down, and they were, so we got together one Saturday night and recorded the songs pretty much as we learned them. Alex started kidding around with me in the next few weeks about how we should form a band. We decided to do another all night recording session down in Bloomington about a month later, and after that one we figured what the hell. So I started commuting the three hours down to Bloomington and the band was formed.

The name came after much deliberation. We tried a variety of names, most of which either didn't work or were already taken. Busted Creek worked as a name because Creek is pastoral - we live in the Midwest so we all understand what pastoral is. Busted, well, aren't we all a bit busted down? Busted Creek, busted here in Midwest USA.

Online you’ve described your style as “rock with a social conscience.” What do you mean by that, and what can people expect from your music?

Ryan Dorgan (drums): Chad's songs resonate on the most basic, human level that we all live with every day. He's not really a fictitious kind of guy. The words he writes are the same words you'd expect to find in just about anybody's journal or diary or mind or whatever. His lyrics tell life as it is - sometimes looking down, sometimes looking up, but always looking forward.

You recently recorded a debut EP called Suburban Skyline. Tell us about some of the songs and the inspiration behind them.

Alex Sejdinaj (lead guitar): All of the songs on this EP were originally ideas that Chad had on an acoustic guitar that the rest of us changed and modified after we came up with our parts. The first song on the EP is "Sonny" which came together very nicely when we finally got together to write all of our parts to it. Chad had some really nice lyrics and vocals on it and the rest of us just wanted to create a nice rock-out song to groove to. The second song on the EP is Suburban Skyline, which turned into a bumping bass and drums driven song after we spent some time working on it. Chad had created the song based on his experience living in suburbia for the past couple years and the lyrics of that song tell a good story about that. "Tendencies" is probably the song that did it for us initially. This song was the first one we all wrote together and we did it in less than a couple hours. It was the song that made us all step back and think, "Man, this is sounding pretty cool." I think that song showcases each player in the band a little bit and it is a nice little chunk of our identity. "Buried Alive" is a song that shows a little bit of our heavier side. I think that one shows where our rock side meets our punk side. All of that being said, we have been writing more since then and have more songs on the way that I think a lot of people will enjoy.

Since your June 25 gig at Elbo Room will be your first time playing Chicago, what do you hope for from the show? Do you have any expectations about playing in the city and how it might differ from playing Indiana?

Chad: We are very excited to play in Chicago. Elbo Room is such a great place to start - it's an intimate venue that has seen the start of many bands’ careers. We really hope that if there is one place that our message is heard it is the City of Broad Shoulders. We hope to find some fans up here, and obviously you do that by getting your music heard. Chicago is a big city with a lot of diversity, and has been through a lot of hardships, from fires to this past winter's ice storms. So I would like to think there are people here that will really be into what we have to offer.

Alex: Overall we try not to have too many expectations of how things should be or how they are going to go. I think that for the most part we are all hoping for an audience that is willing to lend their ear to a new artist and actually give us a chance to be heard. Indiana hosts a lot of bar bands and cover bands and we are really trying to separate ourselves from being that and that alone.

Ryan: Chicago is the greatest city in the world. I've seen so much great music in Chicago and I feel like I'd be doing the city a disservice if we don't just play hard and have a great time. If the people at the show enjoy themselves and we enjoy ourselves, that's all I can really ask for.

What can people unfamiliar with the band expect from a Busted Creek show?

Chad: A Busted Creek show is full of energy, whether we play in a small pub with five people, or a club of a hundred, you will always get everything we have. We work hard and play harder, so come ready to play hard while we work hard at playing. We have meaningful lyrics, raging guitar solos and most of all, some good, loud, rock and roll.

Ryan: A really sweaty drummer. Like Robin Williams stand-up sweaty.

I noticed the band keeps a regularly-updated blog in addition to a Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and MySpace pages. What role do you think do you believe this type of online social networking plays in being a current indie band?

Chad: I just love the idea of being able to connect with an audience on a level that is more than just music. I talked about how our music is about life, well now people can see that life outside our music. To me it only makes our message stronger. Plus, we'd be crazy as an indie band to not take advantage of these free devices.

Alex: We have been really lucky to have our good friend Brooks Guthrie make our website and run it for us. He does a really good job with that and I just want to make sure he gets some recognition for it because he has put a lot of time into it. I think that the Internet is one of the most valuable tools for a band today. Having friends on a network like Facebook and MySpace really gives you a chance to meet people, gain potential fans and make a lot of contacts. It’s like the old saying goes, "It's not what you know, it's who you know." Those networks give you the potential to meet a lot of people and on top of that you can easily send show invites to them which is a lot easier than running around town trying to post fliers.

Dave Witucki (bass, background vocals): I don't think indie bands would stand as much of a chance if the Internet was not invented, and I think we take full advantage of that.

If you could play with any band, who would it be and why?

Chad: We'd love to play with Shooter Jennings. First, we're huge fans of his music and we play one of his songs from time to time. He has a great energy about him as a musician. Also, that guy is real - he adores music. He doesn't put on any airs, even though he's Waylon Jennings' son. He sings from the heart. He's a lover of other people’s music, not just his own.

Alex: I would also say the Rolling Stones, but I think Shooter Jennings is a little bit more realistic.

Ryan: I think a tour with the Black Crowes would be a pretty good time.

Dave: The Boss? That's a tough one...

What’s next for Busted Creek?

Chad: We will play for anyone who listens and write for anyone who cares. We'd love to get some more stuff going up here in Chicago, and hopefully next summer book a tour. Until then, we'll just keep writing, playing and learning.

Alex: Shows, shows, shows, and more shows. We really want to be able to get out there and play and meet people. We are also going into the studio soon to record a new single so keep your eyes on our website for that.

Ryan: More tunes. More shows. More beer.

How can people find out more and get your music?

Any information you could want about us can be found on

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