by Sarah A. Peterson
Who knew that meeting at a Limp Bizkit audition ten years ago would lead to the eventual formation of Fresno new wave/pop band Brother Luke and the Comrades?
Certainly not lead vocalist/guitarist Luke Freeman. But that’s exactly what happened. “We all met trying out for Limp Bizkit at Guitar Center back in 2004,” Freeman says of himself, vocalist/percussionist Whitney Freeman, guitarist Aaron Johnson, bassist Colby Tibbet and drummer Mike Morris. “But we didn’t actually start playing together until the last couple of years.”
Freeman grew up listening to the likes of Will Smith, Vanilla Ice, Too Short, and Bone Thugs in Harmony, but never dreamed of being a musician. “I remember my friends started bringing around guitars and jamming together,” he says, “and I thought it sounded like garbage. I just wanted to skateboard but now they were sitting around making noise.”
But then he heard a certain song, and that sealed the deal for him. “Later I remember hearing ‘Teen Spirit’ by Nirvana and I thought, ‘I’ve got to learn to play the guitar.’”
It changed everything. Among the Comrades’ biggest musical influences are Nirvana, R.E.M., Tears for Fears, Gang of Four, and Fresno’s Strange Vine. Their sound, however, has evolved since they first began making music as a group. “It started off as folk/pop, but has transformed into new-wave/bedroom/pop,” Freeman says.
And when it comes to song-writing, what starts out as a one-man operation becomes a collaborative process. “I usually start with a general idea and then bring that idea to the band,” says Freeman. “Every member adds their own piece. Sometimes it goes really quickly, and sometimes it can take a lot longer. Beer helps.”
Brother Luke and the Comrades have performed all over Fresno, including performances at Fulton 55, Peeve’s Public House, Audie’s Olympic, Kuppajoe, and Tokyo Gardens, among others. “But we’ve also played in people’s backyards and basements.”
And what about the band’s name? “My actual name is Luke,” Freeman says, “and when you add words like ‘brother’ and ‘comrade’, you get a sense of togetherness. Inclusive, not exclusive, is what I hope people remember.”
For more information on Brother Luke and the Comrades, please visit their Facebook page.
Check out more local band & musician profiles in KRL’s music section.