BoDeans in Breckenridge: All about live music
summit daily news
The BoDeans, a band formed in Waukesha, Wis., in 1983, is still going strong, albeit from a more mature perspective.
Their latest album, “Mr. Sad Clown,” released in April, departs from their earlier themes designed to impress girls and leans toward a more middle-aged viewpoint – looking back on past decisions and behavior and moving forward. Founder Kurt Neumann hopes it’s something fans who grew up with the BoDeans can appreciate.
“We kept the subject light before – (it was) about fun,” Neumann said in a phone interview.
Now, songs like “Headed for the End of the World” talk about how polarized the nation is in terms of Right and Left politics and how the media tells viewers what to believe rather than providing facts upon which to decide for themselves – something Neumann finds “sickening.”
“We’re really in trouble if people don’t get back to middle ground and unite in the ‘United States,'” he said.
Other tunes speak of family issues, struggles and depression.
“I’m all for escapism in music – our live concerts are still all about that escapism and fun and people singing and dancing – but I certainly felt like on this record, there was nothing I could do to fight (the urge to speak about deeper issues),” he said. “For me, it’s like how I’ve grown as a person.”
On a You Tube video, co-founder Sam Llanas sums up the shift by saying, “We’re moving forward. We’re not an oldies act.”
The pair have played together for 27 years, and in that time, they’ve ebbed and flowed, like any partnership. Though they often come from different perspectives, they’ve learned to bounce ideas off a third party to get other opinions. With “Mr. Sad Clown,” both musicians had written songs they wanted to include on the album, and sometimes, they weren’t much different.
“He would play a song for me, and I’d say, ‘oh my god, I’ve got a song just like that,'” Neumann said.
The two musicians also rely on each other to share the “weight” of carrying a show and entertaining crowds. And they’re on the same page when it comes to their live act.
“We have an old-school approach – playing it all instead of machines doing it,” Neumann said. “People are surprised and shocked when we can play and sound so good. Our voices work together in a real magical way. You can still bank on getting a good performance and sound. Anybody who appreciates live music should come out and see us.”
Which is the reason Breckenridge Music Festival brought the band up here.
“The BoDeans have been one of my favorite bands since I was in junior high, and I have been wanting to bring them up to Breckenridge for a while,” said Blue River Series promoter Rick Hansen. “I talked around town and a lot of people said they’ve been waiting to see them in the Riverwalk Center, so I decided it was time to finally get them up here.”
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