Baltimore-based rockers Bond and Bentley will close out their fall tour at the Bullfrog Brewery, 229 W. Fourth St., on Monday alongside York-based band The Substance. The free, four-hour, two-band show starts at 8 p.m.
Bond and Bentley began a six-week fall tour in support of their new album "Hold Steady" at the Bullfrog in late September. Since then, the band - the name sounds like a duo, but the moniker is taken from a Baltimore intersection - has played gigs in 15 states, as far south as Florida and north to New York. The Sun-Gazette spoke to drummer Alex Watts on the phone. The percussionist was taking advantage of a rare stop at home to clean his set in preparation for a trip west to Omaha.
JOSH BROKAW: Bond and Bentley is touring in support of your new album "Hold Steady." Which album is this for the group?
Baltimore-based rockers Bond and Bentley will close out their fall tour at the Bullfrog Brewery, 229 W. Fourth St., on Monday alongside York-based band The Substance. The free, four-hour, two band show starts at 8 p.m.
ALEX WATTS: Technically, it's our third album in the studio. We did a bunch of radio on-air shows when we were gathering money to make "Hold Steady" last year. People were asking when we were going to put something out and when we were waiting to get that out, we decided to put out those appearances as a collection on download via iTunes. A lot of it was recorded in Ocean City, Maryland, at a radio station there. You get a little bit of correspondence between the DJ and the band on there, fun stuff like that. (The album is called "Airwaves").
JB: How big is your touring group? You have a lot of guys listed in the group on your site.
AW: We're a five-piece on the road. It's me, Ray Wroten (vocals, guitar); Stan Wetters (bass); Ian McFie (keyboards, vocals); and Jarrett Kobin (lead guitar). As a seven-piece it comes and goes, usually at shows at home.
JB: How did you all record "Hold Steady?"
AW: We only spent two weeks in the studio. We were playing the songs live in different variations for three or four months. We took a week to work the kinks out and put the songs together before we went into the studio. It was my first studio album with them.
JB: What's your songwriting process? Does everyone bring something in or do one or two guys do most of the writing?
AW: We just recently started writing as a band. "Hold Steady" is the best example of our writing as a band. There's a noticeable influence from Ray, as a singer-songwriter - he's bringing the most to the table, as far as how many songs. We then get together and write riffs and bridges and so forth.
JB: How far out have you all played on the "Hold Steady" tour?
AW: Omaha's about the furthest west, I think. Chicago's one of the most northern places - it's our second time out to Chicago, first time to Omaha, third or fourth out through Indianapolis. We did a CD release at the 8x10 in Baltimore back in May, I think - I'm kind of fuzzy on that.
JB: How does Baltimore treat you as a home city?
AW: Baltimore for us is really, really good. We have such a strong grass-roots fan base, it's pretty unbelievable. It'd be nice to get more regional attention. We have a very strong music scene in Baltimore - that needs to be focused on a little more. We love coming home and playing shows back for our fans because it's very warm and welcoming. Everyone in the band grew up in Baltimore City or within 15 miles; Ray and Stan both went to Mount St. Joseph (High School), that's how they met and the other three of us went to Chesapeake.
JB: And how have you found Williamsport?
AW: Central Pennsylvania's been good to us, though we haven't played as many shows as we'd like in that area - it seems like we have the great start of a strong following. There was a very community feel in Williamsport, everyone hung out after they finished dinner when we were there - it was nice to get some new confidence on the first couple nights of a tour. It seems like a cool town, there's a down to earth little hippie vibe going on.
Music from Bond and Bentley is available at their website, Bondand bentley.com.