Brooks Long and the Mad Dog No Good
Oct 17, 2012 06:00PM
● By Anonymous
At first listen, their music is the kind of stuff that makes you want to get up and dance. After a few times through, though, you realize that the lyrics offer more than just a fun time. They’re nuanced and occasionally satirical.
The subjects vary, but touch on empathy, understanding, love, starting trouble, and breaking stuff, if that’s what needs to happen. The band, which consists of Brooks Long on vocals, guitar, and mouth trumpet, Ian Trusheim on bass, and Dan Samuels on drums and percussion, came together through a series of already established connections.
“Ian and I were in a four-piece band at Washington College [in Chestertown], The Took,” says Long. “About a year after we released our EP, I moved back to Baltimore and started writing and playing more streamlined blues-soul/soul-folk sort-of songs; just me and my acoustic guitar. It was scary, but I learned a lot.”
Trusheim made the move to Charm City shortly after, and joined Long when he was ready to form a band. Samuels, who the two knew from the group J Pope and Funk Friday, completed Brooks Long and the Mad Dog No Good about six months later.
For each band member, music is a family affair. They’d all be good candidates for NPR’s “Mom and Dad’s Record Collection” series. Trusheim’s family encouraged him to do plenty of musical exploring throughout his childhood, Long grew up surrounded by preachers and gospel, and Samuels got a little bit of everything from everyone.
“I grew up listening to everything from The Beatles, Paul Simon, and Vivaldi's The Four Seasons with my dad to BB King, Aretha Franklin, and Eric Clapton with my mom,” says Samuels. “As I got older my brother played a pivotal role in introducing me to new music and teaching me about musicianship.”
Long attributes his musical growth to the help of others, too. “In high school, I just inhaled everything—mostly blues and ’50s and ’60s soul, rock, and pop. Being a black kid on the bus listening to The Beach Boys feels a bit weird,” he says. “Ten years ago, a black artist named Cody Chesnutt released an album and showed me how to wield all these influences and still be myself. A few years later, I met Kentavius Jones at school and he showed me the same thing. Those guys are my heroes.”
And their influence shows. Brooks Long and the Mad Dog No Good still combine genres to create their own unique sound. “Music-wise, I try to use soul and blues both to try to be a part of timeless traditions and to keep the focus on expressing and connecting, which is the real goal,” says Long. “And you gotta dance on a Saturday night.”
Which is something the group gets their audiences to do. “We have a great time putting on an interactive show,” says Trusheim. “That fun energy is contagious!”
If you get the chance, check out Brooks Long and the Mad Dog No Good at Brasserie Brightwell in Easton on October 20th at 10 p.m. Otherwise, you can find out more at Reverbnation.com/brookslong, where their EP Let’s Make Out To Otis Redding is available for purchase. You can also find it on iTunes.