Austin rockers 'The Band of Heathens' talk tequila, 'bikini hammocks,' Texas roots at ACL
Despite their less-than angelic name, southern rockers The Band of Heathens kindly took time out of their Austin City Limits Music Festival schedule to chat with KVUE.
Founded right here in Austin in a night club that no longer exists, The Band of Heathens performed both weekends of the festival and found us after their sweaty set during weekend two.
Chilling out in the media tent, Bandmates Ed Jurdi and Gordy Quist kicked back, relaxed and dished on their Austin roots:
Can you give us a little history lesson about how and where The Band of Heathens got started?
Ed: It was the year of Texas Independence. What is that Gordy?
Gordy: Was it 1836? I think it was the year of the Alamo.
Ed: It was actually 2005. We had this gig at this club called Momo’s. We were all just sitting with each other. We started to jam and decided we should do it all at the same time. We played some songs, had some drinks and had some fun. That’s it.
Gordy: The plan was no plan.
Ed: And mas tequila, por favor.
How would you say Austin has influenced your music?
Gordy: I think Austin has been a huge part in the sound of the band. Honestly, we all moved here to pursue music because of the music scene that was happening here. The genesis of the band being this loose jam collaboration, really just a microchasm of the Austin scene in general. Artists collaborating and just having a good time. Really just going out and playing live all of the time. That’s really what this sound is all about.
Do you have any favorite Austin haunts you like to perform at?
Ed: Momo’s was a classic.
Gordy: Momo’s turned into Club Rio, which was like a weird scene with a pool on the roof. People would just walk around in swimsuits and sip on martinis. I’ve never been there but that’s what I heard it turned into.
Ed: Yeah, bikini hammocks dude.
Y’all have been in Austin all this time. What makes you decide to stick around?
Gordy: That’s a good question. We’ve kind of spread out as the band spends more time on the road outside of Texas. There’s a couple guys on the west coast, one guy on the east coast, a few of us still live here in Austin. I still live here. I love Austin. It’s a great place to live. The music’s great. The food is great. I have a bunch of great friends here.
Ed: We’re like the hands across America.
Gordy: We may be spread out as a band now but we still consider Austin our home.
But you've also played across the globe. Are there any favorite places you’ve visited on tour that have helped define The Band of Heathens while on the road?
Gordy: Amsterdam, Barcelona, San Francisco, New Orleans, Chicago, New York City. It’s hard to pick a favorite.
So, you’ve been called Americana, you’ve been called southern rock, but how would you define yourselves as a band?
Gordy: We’ve always just called it rock n’ roll. But Americana -- there’s a great scene going on around that.
Ed: We dabble!
Gordy: Yeah, we dabble. It’s music. There’s good and then there’s bad music. We try to play good music.
What are The Band of Heathens' plans after ACL and going into 2018?
Ed: We’re still in the initial stages, but I think we’ll be putting a few things out in 2018. We’re always trying to make new stuff, and getting into the studio is reward for touring. It helps facilitate us to keep putting out new records. We recorded a few things here in Austin, some in Nashville, North Carolina but most of it has been done here.
Who would you say are the Heathens' biggest influences?
Ed: Jack Kerouack [chuckles]
Gordy: [Laughs] Man, just recently I went to see Wilco and they blew my mind. They’re one of my biggest influences. Dylan, The Stones, The Beatles, Otis Redding. The band has a wide selection of influences depending on who you ask. We come from different ends of the spectrum of American music.
Any thing else you guys would like to share to festival goers?
Ed: Love, peace and happiness to the world. We need that right now.