Band of Heathens
By Joy Rimerez
Band of Heathens All in Good Time
Coming home is truly a reward when you’re a hard-working touring band playing 250 shows a year. For Gordy Quist of roots rock Austin darlings, Band of Heathens, it is even more rewarding now that his home is filled with the sounds of a 10-month old baby. It’s a winsome combination: a man just as comfortable with his leading role in a world-class rock n’ roll outfit as he is warming bottles and changing diapers.
“It’s great,” he said, describing his new role as father. “The stress (of the early days of parenting) is negated by the joy she brings,” he added. It has been a year or so of constant changes and upheavals for Quist and the band, the result of which is their insightful new album, Sunday Morning Record, their fourth studio album. After the departure in 2011 of founding member Colin Brooks, the band lost its rhythm section six months later.
Quist and longtime friend and co-founding member of the band, Ed Jurdi, along with keyboardist Trevor Nealon, found themselves in a position to take stock of what the band had done and look at where they were going. “We had been playing together for six or seven years, “ said Quist. “We were like a family. When there’s tension and life happens, we had to ask ourselves—is there still something left for the band to do? We decided that, yes, we still had things to say and records to make.”
For Sunday Morning Record the band went into the studio two to three weeks before Quist’s wife was due to give birth. At the same time, Jurdi was moving his family from Austin to Asheville, N.C. After a few logistical changes, the band settled into their new form. Live shows are still the bread and butter of the band’s existence and they’ve built a fiercely loyal fan base that seems to have rolled right along with them through all the changes.
“We are fortunate to have a fan base that supports us—our fans appreciate music the way we appreciate music,” said Quist. “There’s freedom in being able to artistically create what we want,” he added, referring to the more introspective and quieter side of their music evident in this new record. “The music we like percolates and builds,” he said, much like the friendships between the members of the band have grown and changed, taking their songwriting along with it. “When we (Ed and I) sing together it’s like one voice—like only people who have been singing together for a long time can do.”