Hot off the heels of their debut release, Love and Hurricanes, the Dolan Brotherhood got together to discuss inspiration, direction, and stone soup. Their debut effort proves to be a soulful, groovy, and heartfelt powerhouse rock record. The band is reminiscent of various acts such as Alice In Chains, Audioslave, and Foo Fighters. Based out of Southern California, the band consists of Arnold Sears – vocals, James Brady – guitar, Dave Garcia – bass, and Tom Wallace – drums. Brady, Garcia, and Sears shed some light on what is going on.
Alison Richter: Where does the name Dolan Brotherhood come from?
James Brady: That would be one Frank Dolan. Frank and I met by chance through an ad in the SD Reader and we formed New Day Mile together. Frank fell ill in early 2010. He was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and New Day Mile was immediately put on an indefinite hiatus. Frank fought hard and so did his wife, Christy. I’ve never witnessed such a display of strength. He wanted to ensure everyone would be OK. Friendship, brotherhood, and music will always tie us together. Frank passed on August 26, 2011. In December 2012, I got a call from Arnold Sears. Arnold’s band, Method Rising, and New Day Mile played several dates together. Arnold and I began writing a song together called “Sky.” Throughout the session, I would mention Frank’s name several times. Arnold made a suggestion: “We should call the band Dolan Brotherhood.” It’s an amazing tribute. With Christy’s blessing, we moved forward with the name.
AR: How did the band members meet?
Dave Garcia: James and I worked at Carvin together for a while, close to 15 years ago. We kept in touch after that and wound up playing together with the band’s namesake, Frank Dolan, until he passed. We went our separate ways after that until early 2014, when he came to me with a new project he was working on with Arnold. They had put together a really great-sounding demo and were even working with some material that James and I had started with Frank, but never had the chance to finish. I wasn’t about to turn down the chance to work with both of them. The time was right to get together, revisit the unfinished material, and create something new. Everything fell into place the right way.
JB: Tom and I met on Facebook. I don’t even know who friended who, but we found ourselves sharing common ground in many of those heated threads on there. Arnold and I had just recorded a song at The Rock and Roll House (Arnold’s pad), and I uploaded it to Soundcloud and shared it, looking for a drummer. Tom had just parted company with the band Symbolic and was looking for another project. So we started jamming other riffs and songs we had laying around. This essentially became a large majority of what makes up our debut, Love and Hurricanes.
How was the collaboration between band members on this record?
Arnold Sears: Ever heard of the old folk story “Stone Soup”? Basically it’s about this small village in which each of the members was running low on food. Individually they didn’t have much, but collectively they had enough for a good meal. So one day someone in the village suggests that they all pitch in to make a big pot of soup for the village, stone soup as it were. The soup started with someone putting a rock in some boiling water. Then someone pitched in some cabbage, then some carrots, then a few kernels of corn and so on. As the soup grew in ingredients, it gradually became more appealing to those involved. Eventually there was a bunch of smiling faces as everyone happily feasted on a good meal, a meal better than any of them would have had individually. We got together and made musical stone soup.
AR: What did the band look towards for inspiration while writing Love and Hurricanes?
DG: The inspiration was built into the project from the word go. It was all about paying tribute to Frank by putting something out that allowed us all to show our influences without being forced. We made sure to set no boundaries and just go with whatever felt right.
JB: Another inspiration was working with Alan Sanderson at Pacific Beat Recording, where we tracked the album. He’s walking enthusiasm and brings the best out in everybody. We achieved the best tones I’ve ever been a part of in a recording — on every instrument. That in itself made you bring your best at every session. We took our time on this record, especially on the vocals. We wanted it to be the best we could deliver in every aspect.
AR: “Deliver that vibe” is a motto of the band. Can you expand on that?
DG: That was definitely Alan, the producer and engineer we worked with. He created an environment that was perfect for us to be productive in, and he always summed it up with “vibe.” When we were tracking, whether it was good or not was identified by “the vibe.” Alan makes sure you’re feeling what you’re doing. It’s an intangible that he was all about.
AS: I think it means something a little different for each member of the band. I can’t tell you how many shows I’ve played in my room, by myself, with an imaginary crowd. Ha! For me, delivering the vibe is letting the crowd in the room with me, and being just as honest and giving with them as I am with myself when I’m in the room alone.
JB: For me, I guess it means always bring your best. Be willing to be dangerous and take chances. If you listen to our stuff, there are hints of R&B, there’s a light progressive element, there’s chicken pickin’, there’s odd tempos, etc. We like to take chances to be a little bit different. We certainly have no interest in being one-dimensional, yet we do want to have “a sound.” I like to think we do.
AR: What different bands and styles of music are influences on the Dolan Brotherhood’s sound?
DG: We all live on and draw influence from very different ends of the spectrum, and the areas where those influences overlap come out screaming. I was raised a metalhead, but I listen to a lot of progressive and ambient, among other things. You’ll hear what I like to call our “Rex and Dimebag moment” on one track, and that’s the Pantera influence. I think the one we all probably agree on the most is Black Sabbath, although I’m not too sure how much of that comes through. We’re a pretty ridiculous melting pot.
JB: I’m a King’s X junkie. Ty Tabor was a pretty huge influence. Zakk Wylde, Jeff Beck, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin of course, but also bands like Soundgarden, Pantera, etc. The fact is, there’s a lot more, but you’d be here a while if I ran down the list, and I really don’t want to bore anyone any more than I already have!
AS: For me, I think the last two great and lasting revolutions in rock music came from the 70’s and early 90’s. A lot of music from those two eras gives me the same chills and inspiration as it did the first time I laid ears on it.
AR: Is there one particular song on the album that means more to the band than others?
JB: For myself, it’s “One New Years Day.” It’s new ground musically, and the subject matter is from personal experience. Let’s call it a tribute to an amazing little boy who endured the unimaginable and bounced back.
DG: For me, it’s either “The Lesson” or “Show Me The Way,” for different reasons. Both came from riffs that James and I worked on ages ago and took very different turns years later. “Show Me The Way” just has that heavy, slow march to it that I love, and then opens up beautifully, yet marches on like an unstoppable juggernaut. The solo is probably one of my favorites of all time, from anyone. “The Lesson” is just epic on every level. It starts off ethereal and ends huge. It’s a masterpiece that I’d gladly allow to be the one piece that defines me or us. It feels good to love music you’ve been a part of that much.
AS: I love them all equally as if they were my children.
AR: Do you plan on recording a second album?
DG: God willing. When we do, it’ll be something we stand behind confidently, just like Love and Hurricanes. There are definitely more musical statements to be made. We’re just getting started.
JB: The riffs keep on coming, so I imagine we will at some point. Excited to see what this one does!