By Deaglan Howlett | Posted Tuesday, August 13, 2019
Connor Bracken and the Mother Leeds Band are the culmination of everything we love about the Asbury Park Sound. Connor Bracken fearlessly leads his Mother Leeds band with hip-shaking, rock and roll, reminiscent of Southside Johnny and early Springsteen. However, Connor and the boys have taken their own spin on the typical Asbury Bar Band sound, bringing in louder guitars and energy like no other. Connor was kind enough to answer some questions about his band, amidst the release of their latest music video “Read On You.” Thanks again, Connor!
When did the Mother Leeds band first form?
The formation of this band is a long, arduous story in which I will save you most of the pain. Long story short, awhile back we were LEEDS, and then we weren't. So if you consider that the start of the band I guess we just came to be serendipitously.
How has it changed through the years? I.e., style, influences, lineup
We're actually pretty similar to how we started out, just a lot tighter, a bit less dumb, and have gained a bit of wisdom that comes with being taken advantage of by the music "Industry."
This band has gone through a lot of line ups. Life happens. People realize that being on the road in a rock n' roll band isn't as great as they thought it would be. There's a lot of driving . A lot of thinking. Thinking sometimes leads to thinking of home and thinking of home sometimes leads to staying there. Needless to say, it took a while to find a crew that's about as crazy as me to want to stay out on that road, even when home was calling. For a good stretch, that line up had been Rich Seyffart, Mat Cobb, and Jesse Fogerty. Soon after we rebranded, the call of service came to Mat and he left to become a Marine. Now we got one of my closest friends in the world, Matt Sandelman, behind the bass. For now, we're pretty happy being crazy.
Who are your biggest influences?
I love a lot of music. Probably too much for my own good. Typically whenever I am not making it I am listening and learning from it. So it's hard to give you three or four bands. But lately, in my rotation, it's been Thin Lizzy, Van Morrison, Tom Waits, Rory Gallagher, and Sam Cooke. But that's just this week.
What is your songwriting process like?
It can vary. I typically have to move the location where I am writing songs as the well tends to dry up after two or three songs. But my toolbox usually consists of a notebook (typically half destroyed from my travel/ doodles), an acoustic guitar (typically my father's old fender), and every little line I've written onto the back of a bar napkin, gas station receipt, or scrap paper. I get all of those elements together and I make myself available to what comes out. What's going to come out, I'm never sure of.
What was it like filming the music video for "Read On You"?
That day was great. We had one of our good friends, Kris Khunachak, behind the lens on that one. My main thing is music but, if I could mess around with my friends in a diner all day, I would. It was a nice change of pace from our usual gig, plus we brought out even more amps than usual!
Huge thanks to Frank’s Deli on Main Street for that.
Favorite show you've played?
Favorite show ever? That always changes. The goal of every show is to make it the best you've ever done, because who knows if you'll make the next? So as of now, it's the last show we did at the Danny Clinch Gallery. That was really special . Or maybe the first show we did under the new name. It was at the Wonder Bar for Joey Henderson's "Wonderful Year" party. That night we were hungry to show what we've become over the past year. I remember talking with Dan Apy from The Mercury Brothers about it. Everyone in Asbury was there and it felt like a High School Reunion, except with people you actually want to see.
We have tons in the works. I'm incredibly proud of what this band's been able to accomplish and that does nothing but fuel us to go even further. As of now, it's about time to announce our next record, Wonderful Year: Live at the Wonderbar, and to keep working the live show. That's where we do our real work and it's where things feel right. The music I write is meant to be played live. As of now no breaks ‘till we get where we want to be. Not sure where that is yet though.
Make sure you catch Connor Bracken and the Mother Leeds Band at their upcoming show! Also be sure to check out their latest single, “When The World Stops Turning”!
8/28 Asbury Park Live Summer Concert Series - 1st Avenue Green Space, Asbury Park, NJ