HOMEGROWN HEROES’ POWER ROCK HURRICANE
Homegrown Hero is having a good year. They’ve shared the stage with alt-rockers Amberwood and London’s Texas King. Now they are set to open for the incomparable Bif Naked on the main stage at Maxwell’s.
“We are big ’90s guys,” notes lead singer Patrick Mullin. “Once we saw Bif was coming to town we got excited,” says Mullin.
Mullin and guitarist Corey O’Brien, have been in the local music scene for two decades. The two musicians have been friends for years.
“Corey and I met in 2001,” says Mullin. “We actually went to high school together at Bluevale Collegiate. We started getting into music together. I was singing in the choirs so have been a vocalist since I was a very young boy. One summer we got into guitar and we started playing in Corey’s basement. He would play and I would sing and that is where things started blossoming,” says Mullin. Back then he was listening to bands like Silverchair and ’90s grunge.
“I was into Dave Matthews at the time, John Major and Jason Mraz, actually, before he “blew up,” adds O’Brien. “I was listening to all of his underground stuff. Jack Johnson was another guitarist that I liked. My guitar influences also come from my father and uncles who listened to a lot of Stevie Ray Vaughan and into the blues area. John Major actually opened that up for me. If you look into more of his underground music, it was blues influenced.”
Both musicians have Irish ancestry and for a while, they toured in Florida as the duo Mullin and O’Brien. Back home they played with another band for a while which soon folded.
“Corey and I wanted to continue writing music,” says Mullin,
They met Homegrown Hero bassist Nick Holden in a bar. “He expressed interest in starting a project. Nick was in the scene but never really had anything solid going. He went to Bluevale as well but he was a few years younger than us.”
Drummer Alex Gondos was a friend of Holden’s. In 2016, Homegrown Hero added keys player Jen Capa.
“The last band we were in had a harder more aggressive side to it,” notes O’Brien. “We had a few songs that we had already written with a popular mainstream sound that we wanted to target. Rather than sticking in a second guitar player to make things heavier, we knew we wanted to go the route of including keys,” he adds.
“Pat wanted a female voice to partner with and help with the harmonies,” notes O’Brien.
“We knew that she had music theory because she is a music teacher. Jen understands music and multiple instruments. She jumped right in without us having to backtrack or show her each song. She could just go with the flow.
“At that time she did not really want to commit to anything too serious because she had school. Then as things progressed and we got more busy with gigs, Jen got more excited about it and really became a full-time member,” says O’Brien.
Homegrown Hero is known for their power rock sound inspired by their classic pop/rock roots. “After The Storm” is a potent rock ballad and Homegrown Hero’s debut single.
“After the Storm” was written during the time of Hurricane Irma in Florida,” O’Brien notes. “We wanted to relate the song to hope. The song is more about thinking the storm is going to pass. Things are going to be better and brighter. It was a rough time at that moment so that is where a lot of the lyrics originated
from,” he explains, adding the band went their separate ways to write and then regrouped.
The music comes from drummer Alex Gondos who composed a lilting opening piano riff that he wrote with band pal, creative producer and “Storm” video director, Dimitri Dimka.
Each band member put their part over the top of the piano part.
“We all sat down in the circle and hashed it out — we like this line — don’t like this line,” recalls O’Brien. “This fits well with this and it relates to the storm. In your life maybe it is the storm of your relationship so we tried to pick words that can relate to many things,” says O’Brien, adding that “After the Storm” will be released next month with a music video.
“The EP will probably come out in the fall,” says Mullin. “We have eight to nine original songs that we do play out at shows. But we have not really decided which ones we are going to put on the EP. We are still doing a lot of writing.”
Homegrown Hero: from left, Corey O’Brien, Patrick Mullin, Alex Gondos, Jen Capa, Nick Holden