For many, the ‘60s and ‘70s are looked upon as the epitome of rock ‘n’ roll, bringing us some of the best music in recent history. The era marked a pivotal moment for America and artists responded with new and innovative music. As Dylan said, “The times, they are a changin’.”
“There was no other era where so much great music came out in such a short time,” said Steve Randall, who plays guitar and keys for Strangebrewd, a local band that pays tribute to the classic rock era. Strangebrewd will play this week’s Friday Night Live at Atlantic Station, a free concert series in Central Park.
Randall started the band with guitarist Jim Marks around 2002, after the two had played together for a number of years. Randall credits Marks with getting him back into music; he’d been bogged down in his job for some time and music had fallen by the wayside. Meeting Marks made him start playing again.
“It was a time in my life when music really meant a lot to me,” he said.
After a few lineup changes, the band now includes bassist Paul Johnson and drummer Joe DiPalma. Randall says they also often enlist friend and vocalist Davis Sandling from The Brotherland, to perform with them.
Randall says they pick music to play based on what they like and what will fit their lineup. Strangebrewd is more diverse than a standard rock band, given that Randall can switch from guitar to the Hammond organ, but it still has limitations based on its size. The band rearranges songs to fit its lineup and showcase the musicians’ skills.
Classic rock songs just fit the band members’ personalities, Randall says. They play a wide array of music including Crosby, Stills and Nash, Jimi Hendrix, The Allman Brothers and Eric Clapton. Still, Randall says their set list isn’t all about the classic rock hits that everyone plays, and Strangebrewd definitely puts its own “signature” spin on every song it plays.
“Our songs don’t sound like anybody other than us,” he said.
Strangebrewd is spending a lot of time in the studio these days, preparing original music to spread its repertoire. But for now, the band members are just happy to be playing music.
“Playing music is always something to look forward to,” Randall said. “There’s hardly a better feeling than that. In these times, it’s hard to get that from anything else.”