Quirky? Check. Folk? Check. Rock n roll? Check. Awesome live show? Check. It’s about time you meet this next badass band. They will not only get you groovin’, but they’ll put a goofy grin on your face for the entirety of their set. Meet Badass Band 104, Bones Muhroni!
I can’t exactly remember the first time I saw Bones Muhroni (as its been at least a handful of times at this point), but I heard about them via members of the LA River Bend, in fact, Emily often plays a couple of songs with them. Anyway, what you get is folky, rock n roll, intertwined with both serious and quirky lyrics. Their live show is full of passion, energy, extreme honesty and hilarious little quips. Between Crew and Chris on lead vocals, you get a unique range that few other bands can offer up and its something you need to hear rather than take my word for it. Add their harmonies piping along to quite the array of instrumentation, guitars (acoustic and electric), drums, keys, and at times cello and sax, Bones Muhroni quite the eargasm!
They released an EP last year titled Habits. Some favorite tracks from Habits include:
- “Habits”- A fun folky/country tune with twinkling keys, powerful harmonica, sweet guitar melodies, and is just catchy as hell with lines like, “All my habits haven’t killed me yet, I wish I could just stop and forget it at the end of the day.”
- “GWOTD”- This track is quite the journey starting with mechanical guitar riffs and slow beats which move into a psychedelic-esque pre chorus, then build to poignant chorus climaxes boasting the lyrics, “This girl without the drink is still a dream to me, still a dream to me and I don’t know why. And I try as I do, but the love going through my mind right now, it ain’t makin’ sense.” There is even a little reggae vibey breakdown mixed right on into the middle of this track. And it all just fucking works.
Bones Muhroni is the total package kids, do yourself a favor and catch ‘em live! But first read on, as I recently sat down to chat with Crew, Ryan, Chris and Taylor. Find out what a rocket has to do with their sound, who started playing music to get all the babes, and what they believe the biggest challenges are for bands in Los Angeles.
When and why did each of you start playing music?
Chris: Basically, I’ve been singing my entire life, as long as I can remember, and then I started playing music when I was about 12 years old. I remember the moment I wanted to play guitar. I saw this thing with Eddie Van Halen on TV and I was probably like 11 or 12 years old and there were just swarms of girls all over Eddie Van Halen. I walked out of the living room just like, “I want a guitar for Christmas.” So, I got me a guitar and then I really didn’t really play it that seriously for a couple more years…
Crew: It can all be summed up in one word, really, though.
Chris: Yeah, babes.
Crew: I was 16. I was at boarding school. I was really into wrestling. I really wanted to be a wrestler, and then I was diagnosed with a back disease called Sherman’s Disease so my lower vertebrae were deformed and the doctor said I couldn’t play contact sports. I was in the dorm and you weren’t allowed to be on the Internet or watch TV during the hours that everyone was at sports practice, so I would have my guitar, and I started writing. It came a lot easier to me than wrestling ever did, and I remember thinking if I just keep writing songs, eventually, there has to be a good one.
Ryan: I started playing drums in fifth grade, so I was probably like 11, and I played piano before that. My dad played guitar and my mom played piano, and my mom wanted me to play the piano and take piano lessons, and I always sucked at it. I remember one lesson in particular where my piano teacher was like, “You suck at reading rhythm so just ignore these notes and play these bongos.” I was playing the bongos and just reading the rhythms. I thought, “This is way better. This is way cooler.”
Another thing though, at school one day a music store brought in a bunch of instruments and we tried all of them out. I couldn’t play anything, and then I got to the drums, and it was actually like, “I could probably play this.” I don’t remember if I was first like into drummers or just liked drums in general because after that happened, I discovered John Bonham and Travis Barker, and I was like, “I want to do that shit.”
What bands did you listen to growing up and how does that maybe differ now?
Chris: I grew up listening to the Grateful Dead. My father was a Deadhead, basically. It was one of the first bands that I felt like that made me want to play music. I heard so much of it that as soon as I started playing guitar, the first songs that I started to learn were Grateful Dead songs. That and the songs that I was learning at church; those were like the first collections of songs that I really knew.
Jo: I like the contrast there the Grateful Dead and church.
Chris: Yeah. For years and years I played in worship bands at church and my mother is still a worship pastor. From about age 15 or 16, I was in mom’s band at church, and that was cool. I got to play with some really good players. That was the best thing that came of all that
Crew: You used to say your dad’s church was the Dead for a long time.
Chris: My mother loved Jesus and my dad loved Jerry Garcia. A lot of classic rock that came out of that world and before I touched any drugs, I became really interested in drug culture, and the music that surrounded it. Then, of course, came bands like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd.
Crew: I love the Blues Brothers soundtrack. I got it from my Poppy and he always loved Motown and stuff. My dad also, I mean, what he has he got here? [Pulled out some tapes]Buddy Holly, the Monkees, Cats the musical, I love this, actually.
This is the first collection of music I had. The next musical memory was my dad telling me about Guns ‘N’ Roses and he’s like, “Oh, Slash.” I was like, “Slash?” He said, “That’s his name. His name is Slash and that is Axle. They are a band, and then Axle disappeared and his voice got destroyed or something and just ran off. They haven’t made a record in forever.” My dad just told me these cool-ass stories about these bands.
Chris: Both of our dads played a big role in our musical taste.
Crew: As I got into high school, I got more into Carl Rivers and Brian Adams, and before that my dad and his buddy Chuck took me to see Bob Dylan, and that’s when I really got into song writing. Initially, Carl Rivers especially was somebody that his voice was not very good, but it was just his words. I was starting music at 16 so I was like, “Anyone can write good words. You don’t have to be the best musician to do it.” So that’s what made me confident enough to start playing it.
Ryan: I also grew up listening to the Beatles because of my dad. I have really vivid memories of like being on road trips listening to the Beatles. It was cool. As I got older, I don’t know. I went to school for jazz for a long time, so I got really into that for a while. I was really into metal before I went to college and I played in metal bands. Yeah. It’s aggressive and I was like a hyperactive-assed little teenage kid. All I wanted to do was mosh and do crazy shit. I went to punk shows in Denver when I was 16.
It totally blew my mind that people could do that. Even still, when I’m at those shows and it’s like quiet or whatever or it’s just like rock, I still want to have that same energy and attitude to it
Crew: I think the biggest change that happened was just for so many years of life it was like such steady classic rock and when I was 18 or 19, I started listening to a lot of jazz and jazz was something that I still listen to a lot.
Chris: Yeah. Jazz is crazy because you think that you know something about it and then you’ll listen to some jazz and it’s just like, “What the fuck is this?”
How did you guys all meet?
Chris: At a party at my house-
Chris: At least that was how me and Crew met.
Crew: Chris met me sophomore year in college.
Chris: Yeah. It was about my first or second day of school. I had just transferred there from another college and had no idea where I was. I went to this one classroom that was very poorly marked and I didn’t know if I was in the right place, so I asked. There was like a semicircle of people in there and I asked them if I was in the right room. There is this guy sitting there and he’s got his cowboy boots on and skinny jeans and they’re all tucked into the boots, and he’s got like this windbreaker on halfway zipped up with sunglasses on, and this big, bouffant hair, and he was like, “No. You’re not in the right place.” I’m like, “OK,” and I turn around to leave.
He was like, “Oh, I was just kidding.” Come back in here. It was Crew. I remember him making jokes. I told my sister. I was like, “This guy just loves everybody to love him. What is up with this guy?” Then we became, of course, the best of friends.
Crew: I don’t even remember that story.
Chris: Yeah. Crew was so hyped up.
Crew: Oh, yeah. I remember just like Chris playing guitar with a bunch of ladies around him, and I was like, “I should get that guy in my band.” That year we became friends and jammed a little bit.
Chris: Mostly at some drunken parties, but it wasn’t until that summer when there was no one there. We ended up hanging out. We’re like, “Let’s record something together.” We recorded four songs, which I should still put on You Tube. We call them the “Regent Sessions,” and made 100 copies each.
Crew: We just passed them around town and this was the first people were like, “Oh, this is actually really… This is sick.” There was maybe about three months of Chris and I jamming together at these gigs at the Jaeger. There was like this house next door that had like 16 rooms in it. It was student housing. I went to a party over there. I just loved to wander into those parties and see what’s up, and who the new people were in there. About five minutes into conversation with Ryan, he was like, “Hey, man, do you know any local bands looking for a drummer?” I was like, “Dude, I’m in a local band. Yeah. We’re looking for a drummer.”
Ryan: I remember just being like, “Fuck yeah, the search is over.” It took me like five seconds because I had just moved there at that point, and I moved from this town in Wyoming where I was like the drummer in everyone’s band. Not because I was good, but I just wanted to. I just would find all the bands in town and just be like, “Let me play drums in your band.” Then I moved to Greely and I knew nobody so I was like, “I need to remedy this situation.”
Chris: As soon as we started playing with Ryan, it gave us like the legitimacy to take it up a little bit to that semi rock and roll level, and then as we started playing with Ryan more and more I slowly started pulling out my electric guitar more and more. We just became a rock band eventually.
Why the name Bones Muhroni?
Crew: Initially, it was a nickname for me when I was a little kid…and we had gone through a lot of names.
Chris: A lot of names. It was like, “Oh, Bones Muhroni is a cool name.” Culturally, it’s a rhythm and blues reference, which we caught later.
Crew: Yeah. When we heard that Ray Charles song and he was just like, “Do the Bony Muhroni.”
What does your band sound like?
Chris: Oh, I love this question.
Taylor: It sounds like shit!
Chris: Meet the newest member of our band…
Crew: Yeah. That’s Taylor Plenn back there, saxophonist extraordinaire. Actually, I one time when I was really drunk wrote in my phone of like the perfect response to this question-
Our response is it took a while, and then one day we realized it. If you stick your dick in a rocket and you ShamWow it all the way to Venus, but with all the intentions of getting to Pluto, then you’ve got it. That’s rock and roll and that’s the sound.
Chris: It’s gone through so many explanations like I used to tell people all the time that it was like funky folk rock, and then kind of like rowdy folk rock.
Being as you guys aren’t from LA, what do you think the biggest challenge is for a band in Los Angeles?
Chris: To not be broke as hell.
Ryan: Yeah. Having money is a huge.
Crew: There was a moment for me where it was like, “How do I put up with this day job, paying rent, and all this stuff, and then still have the band and try to get gigs?” It takes a lot of work. But, at the same time, it keeps you sane. That was my epiphany. I was like, “Hell yeah.”
Chris: The band is the reason why I moved to the city and it’s the reason why I am staying in it, because I love the band.
Crew: Yeah. That’s the thing. The second I feel like we’re not growing in this city then I’ll pack my bags and head back to Colorado.
Chris: The biggest thing that I thought was a struggle with as a band is getting publicity. It is so difficult and there is so much do-it-yourself publicity available to everyone that it’s almost just like a wash. There is no way to get on top of it all at the same time. You have to start really small and that’s incredibly discouraging.
Ryan: One of the best things a band can do is surround themselves with a strong body of other like-minded musicians or people into the same industry. Making real friends is hard, especially in a city like LA.
One song you never get tired of listening to.
Ryan: I would say my favorite song for a few years now has been “Impossible Germany” by Wilco. I will never get tired of that song. I listened to that song at least once a day for years, I probably missed a few days recently. I don’t know why. Mostly because of Nels Cline. I just fucking love that song. That is one of my favorite songs ever.
Chris: “Flamenco Sketches” from A Kind of Blue, a Miles Davis tune. There is something super sexy and soothing about that song. It just strikes like the right chord in my heart.
Crew: It’s really always changing. Right now, it’s really embarrassing, but it’s “I Want You” by Savage Garden.
Chris: That’s what our band sounds like. We are slowly putting together the puzzle. Blue Brothers and Savage Garden.
Best live show you’ve ever gone to?
Crew: Chris and I both have to mention that we were at this concert together before we even knew each other.
Crew: Bob Dylan, Red Rocks, I was fifth row.
Chris: I was like 19th row. Yeah. It was pretty good. Dylan was like half there, but I feel like that’s how he is nowadays.
Crew: His presence alone, though.
Chris: Yeah. It was crazy to be like, “That’s motherfucking Bob Dylan.” That’s the guy that still put on an electric guitar after people threw things at him.
Ryan: He smoked a few with the Beatles.
Chris: He smoked weed with the Beatles. My God. That was pretty crazy. His band was really good. He was like Okay. I would hate for him to hear me say that. I’m like, “Fuck you, Bob Dylan.”
Crew: You’re allowed to have your opinions on Bob Dylan, but he’s still Bob Dylan.
Chris: The most awesome live show I’ve ever been to…the band was really good, but the show itself was just such a spectacle that it has to be maybe at least the craziest show I’ve ever been to. I won tickets to see George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic at The Fillmore in Denver. George Clinton came out in a big fucking diaper. There were half naked dudes on the speakers like swinging from ropes, and there were 20 people on stage, and Boostie Collins is just like jumping around, and it was a crazy show. It was like four white dudes, and then a sea of bald, black guys with little glasses as far as you could see. I was just like, “Whoa.” It was awesome.
Ryan: I think one of the best shows I’ve ever been to…I don’t know. It just feels like a weird one to be the best one, but just everything about this show was perfect. It was like a great day and it was at the Fillmore, too, in Denver, and, at the time, it was one of my favorite bands ever. It was the Fleet Foxes. They are just such a fucking good band and they are so good live, and it was one of those shows where I didn’t do any drugs at all the whole show, but I left that show feeling like I was on this whole other level.
Chris: The music fucked you up, bro.
Crew: I mean, recently I saw Conor Oberst and Ryan Adams on the same stage and that was crazy. I never thought I would see that. Maybe that, or Die Antwoord. That was one of my favorite bands, actually. I saw them like early the first show in Denver, and it was wild as hell. Ryan was there, too.
Ryan: I saw you afterwards. I remember you saying you like rang out your shirt.
Crew: Yeah. I was dancing. I loved it.
Taylor: I would say Ornette Coleman 2007 at the UCLA Royce Hall. It was really amazing. Yeah. There was a lot a whole, long story. The whole band remembers that show many years afterwards. It was just totally synchronous experience of musicians, music and audience all making that triangle.
Favorite things to do not musically related?
Crew: I feel like I have to walk listening to music.
Chris: This is may be a bogus answer, but I love watching movies. I really do. That was another thing we met in school as acting majors. I love a good fucking movie. Just the other night, I watched “The Wolf of Wall Street” for the first time. I saw it in the theaters, but then it was like the first I had seen it since then. It was so good, like, so fucking good. Leonardo DiCaprio should win everything until the end of time as far as I’m concerned.
Ryan: I would say, and I haven’t done this in a few years, which is kind of a bummer, but snowboarding was always one of my favorite things. Growing up in Wyoming, I was like 15 minutes away from this mountain that we could snowboard on, and Colorado has great snowboarding. You can do it out here. Still, it’s just like a trek to get out there and I don’t have my gear out here
I love to play some video games too. I took a really long hiatus from video game playing right around the time that PlayStation 3 came out. Seriously, I had the PS2 and I was stoked on that for a while and then I just sort of petered off. It was kind of when I became more serious with music. Music replaced video games in my life. Now, I’m back in it.
Taylor: I like to do a lot of things other than music. I love gardening, composting.I love to play disc golf. I love to play ultimate frisbee. I love tequila.
If you could be a fictional character, who would you be?
Ryan: The white one or the gray one?
Chris: The white one, motherfucker, with all the power.
Taylor: I’d have to be the Undertaker.
Crew: Just like the Undertaker? That’s a real thing though.
Taylor: His character is fictional.
Crew: Yeah, but he’s a dude, though.
Ryan: Well, so is Gandalf, dude.
Chris: Yeah, well-
Ryan: I don’t know what mine would be, but I always thought Spiderman was sick. I liked his powers. I like swinging on stuff. I’d be Spiderman.
Taylor: I’d like to be the Ken doll from Barbie. He’s got the chicks. He’s got the beach house. He’s got the car. He doesn’t have any genitals.
Jo: I was going to say he doesn’t really have any equipment though.
Taylor: At least it’s not affecting his mental state.
If you ran a Badass bands blog, what are some bands that you would feature?
Chris: I know a band back in Colorado called The Burroughs that is really cool. They’re like a total like Motown revival style with just like mad horns and it’s really funky.
Taylor: Check out Maroon 5.
Crew: They could use a plug. Also, you’ve got to check out my FOF mix tapes with my buddy Alex who produces all the music.
Ryan: There is a band. There is a new one called ANTIMASQUE that is out now, and it’s Cedrick and Omar from At the Drive In and Mars Volta.
Crew: Drug Cabin. They’re one of my favorite LA bands right now. They’re records, seriously, go to the beach and then just ride up the Pacific Coast highway and put on the music, and it’s like perfect. Also, those guys from Town and the City are really awesome.
FIND BONES MUHRONI HERE: