Meet Low End Specialist Allen Bradley
photo by Ryan Hennessey
Allen Bradley is the bass player for both The Williams Brothers Band and Tight Thump. Taking a couple minutes out of his busy schedule, here is Bradlley's thoughts about forming Tight Thump, playing live shows, and what the Grand Junction music scene is really like.
1. Where did the idea for Tight Thump originate? How did the band come together?
The band started when Tim D'Andrea and Casey Dry approached me one night at Sabrosa and said, and I quote; "We know you aren't in a band right now, so how's about you start a funk band with us?" and with an offer like that who could refuse? We jammed together each week for awhile, but could never find a drummer that wasn't flaky...go figure. One day, a mutual friend of ours said that his neighbor played drums and was interested in playing with us sometime. Enter Mike Van Middendorp, who has proven to be precisely what we needed. The name Tight Thump comes from staying "Tight" or musicians slang for being precise and staying perfectly "in the pocket", and "Thump" is something I picked up from old Parliament albums which is a big influence on our sound.
2. Tight Thump’s music definitely has a fun attitude. Songs like “Salty Bacon” are just fun jams that are primed to set off an audience. How much of the band’s own personality comes through on your songs?
When someone brings a song or a riff to the table, the first thing we look for is something we call "Groove-ability". Our main goal is to keep people dancing. We love seeing people have a good time, and in turn that makes us have the BEST time. Although, we understand that its not an easy task to dance the entire night, so we sprinkle in a few slower floaty songs like "Stay" and "Chains" to give a break for the crowd, as well as us.
3. You guys jam a lot on stage. How do you strike that right balance between jamming out on a song vs staying with a riff for too long? How much of the music is strictly composed vs open ended for jamming?
It's all about the eye contact. Our songs have structures that we stick to, but we keep an eye on each other, and give the nod if its time to move to the next part, or shake your head "no" if say Tim wants to extend a guitar solo. It can be problematic at times, and has resulted in flubs before, but as they say, practice makes perfect.
4. It’s pretty obvious you put a lot of effort in to the live shows and have a lot of fun performing together. Did you start the band with the goal to be a killer live group?
The band came together from our mutual love of live music, and music in general. It started as us just getting together in my old basement and jamming while having a few beers, and over time more and more of our friends would start coming over during our practices and hanging out in the living room. Eventually, it turned into full on dance parties each week on Monday nights, and that's when we decided it was time to start booking shows.
5. You play a lot with Selector Trev. What is it about his style and approach to DJing that you like?
As I've said before in a Facebook post I tagged Trevor in, "I want Trevor Adams to DJ my life." A good DJ can string songs together to kind of "force" you to keep dancing. It's like, one song he plays will be great, and then he follows it up with another perfect song for dancing, and then after that, somehow he will play YOUR FAVORITE SONG OF ALL TIME, and just keep rolling along in a pattern as such, so I find it fitting to have him do the music for before and after the show and during the breaks. I am also an avid fan of hip-hop, and Trevor happens to be quite well versed on the subject.
6. What’s been the biggest challenge so far with Tight Thump?
The biggest challenge we've had so far is finding the most time to get together and keep the songs fresh in our minds. We've all got our own lives, and our own things going on, and sometimes that has to take priority over practice, but we work together on it and find ways around the obstacles when need be.
7. What do you make of the local music scene here (both musicians and audiences)? Where do you see it going in the future? Where do you see Tight Thump fitting in?
My favorite thing about the GJ music scene, is we're all friends, and very good friends at that. It's not competitive like bigger cities and we all work together and don't let ego's get in the way. That provides a big window of opportunity for the scene as a whole. Audience wise, Grand Junction knows how to throw down quite well, and Ive heard that much from bands that come play here from out of town such as The Blind Pets, who love coming here strictly for the fact that they know the crowd will be there, be friendly, and be as wild as possible. I've got high hopes for all of us musicians in the valley, and I think the coming months and years will bring lots of expansion, such as new bands, and bands going on tour together. We'll just have to see how big we can roll this snow ball.
8. What’s the biggest misnomer and pet peeve you have about the Grand Junction music scene?
My biggest pet peeve is the people who claim that we don't have a scene around here. There is some fantastic talent here, and anyone who says other wise obviously hasn't made it out to any shows. There is a little bit for any style of music you are looking for, from folk, to death metal, to reggae, punk, bluegrass, hip-hop, you name it. Also, you really don't have to look TOO hard to find it.
9. Anything you'd like to add?
My only closing comments is, we are in the process of recording our first E.P entitled "Shaken Booty Syndrome" and it will be released sometime this summer. We used Taylor Riley over at Fusion Audio Solutions, and he does some masterful work. He was the sound engineer for the Zolopht album, which sounds absolutely stellar, and if you haven't gotten it, you more than likely should.