Thursday, July 10, 2008
Most bands prefer to travel to their gigs in cruise liner-sized tour buses with air conditioning and deli trays. But the five guys in Sacramento’s The Fryed Bros Band would rather be stretched out on their Harleys riding to the show with wind in their grizzled beards.
Lead vocalist, fiddler and harmonica player Harry Fryed of The Fryed Bros Band said his group were bikers before they ever started to play music seriously. But in 1980 Harry Fryed and guitarist Tommy Fryed formed the band as a tribute to their musician brother Mark, who passed away. “Whenever we played, it felt like he was with us,” Harry says.
Since then The Fryed Bros Band have played the largest bike gatherings in the world, including the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota, which draws over 507,000 motorcycle fans. “There’s people who come from all over the world to see us play,” Harry says of the band’s Sturgis gig.
The quintet also has secured an impressive stable of high-profile fans– Charlie Daniels, Waylon Jennings and Leon Russell among them. In addition, country legend Willie Nelson released the band’s 2000 CD The Roar of Dirty Thunder on his Pedernales Records and duetted with Harry on the outlaw country inspired title track. There’s also Billy Idol, who met the band at a bike rally in Central California and declared The Fryed Bros band “the most dangerous band in the world.”
It’s easy to understand why The Fryed Bros Band are gaining attention outside of the biker world. The group can go effortlessly from genres including country, rock and blues as easy as a Harley can switch lanes on a wide-open Texas highway. Their “Hot Summer Morning” is a blues-rock rave-up with harmonica, while “Not Feeling Lonesome” is a twangy, fiddle-heavy country ditty. They can even do an unexpectedly tender song like “Slow Down,” which has lyrics including: “You are my kind of baby/ I think you are so sweet.”
The Fryed Bros Band might be able to reach an even bigger audience with the upcoming release of a documentary about the group titled I Ride. Directed by Daron Ker, who is also working on a documentary about The Doobie Brothers, I Ride will premiere at The Fryed Bros Band’s Saturday show at the Fox Theater.
THE FRYED BROS BAND play 6:30pm Saturday, July 12, at the Fox Theater, 241 South Main St., Salinas. $20-$45. 758-8459.