The long-running Grand Rapids band of buddies made a stop at River City Studios for a thought-provoking interview and compelling, intimate performance. Watch the video, listen to the podcast.
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When Big Dudee Roo plays Top of the Park tonight as part of the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, a Southeast Michigan audience will discover what Grand Rapids fans have known for years: Big Dudee Roo throttles up psychedelic and infectious, grunge-fueled folk-rock that stays with you long after the last reverb-drenched note has faded away.
Starting as a folkier project several years ago complete with a viola player, the band’s lineup eventually shifted and the remaining members’ rock influences took hold.
“We made the conscious decision to sort of go back to some of our rock ‘n’ roll roots, growing up listening to a lot of Neil Young, Pearl Jam, My Morning Jacket and things like that, and decided to take it in that direction and it felt pretty natural,” said frontman and bassist Max Lockwood, who first formed the band at Wayland High School with guitarists Nate Wagner and Justin Dore (along with former drummer Kurt Rizley).
“A lot of it is just the deep connection that we have, kind of a strong brotherhood that we’ve always had. That’s really the core of it: a shared interest in the music that we’re playing.”
Big Dudee Roo — Lockwood, Wagner, Dore and drummer Daine Hammerle — recently turned up their distinctive sonic approach for a session of HopCat presents Local Spins Live at River City Studios, performing in front of a cozy studio audience. Watch a video of the interview-and-performance session here, providing all sorts of insights into the band’s songwriting and performing, with the full podcast below.
VIDEO: Local Spins Live at River City Studios with Big Dudee Roo
Video by Brennan Heldt and the River City Video Team
One of the songs from that Big Dudee Roo session, “Islands of Light,” was chosen for the first-ever “Local Spins Live at River City Studios” compilation CD featuring some of the best tracks from 12 West Michigan bands taking part in these River City sessions over the past two years. (Purchase a copy of that CD online at this link, or download individual tracks via localspins.bandcamp.com.)
While band members such as Lockwood – who plays in a host of other Michigan projects, including touring regularly with Earthwork Music’s May Erlewine – certainly love exploring outside musical ventures, they regard Big Dudee Roo as their home base.
And their longstanding friendship surfaces in the way band members interact on stage or when they jokingly describe one of their songs as “a catchy little bummer”
Other highlights from the Local Spins Live session:
On the band’s collaborative songwriting process: “It usually comes together very naturally. That’s what’s really cool about. I feel we don’t have to work very hard. Stuff just comes together very well. It’s a pretty cool thing to be a part of.” – Wagner
On which influential band Big Dudee Roo most resembles: “I think we’ve always been kind of a Pink Floyd-type band, even the dynamic between me and Max – obviously, we don’t hate each other like Roger Waters and David Gilmour might – but there’s the lead singer, bass player, songwriter, lead guitar, heavy drummer.” – Dore
Listen to the full interview and podcast here. And for more about the band: Big Dudee Roo spices things up with its psychedelic folk-rock – from bars to bank lobbies to music festivals
PODCAST: Local Spins Live at River City Studios with Big Dudee Roo
Engineered by Roy Wallace
PHOTO GALLERY: Big Dudee Roo at River City Studios
Photos by Anna Sink