Fronted by Jeff and Keef Debonzo, Raleigh’s indie/Americana five-piece Debonzo Brothers often earns comparisons to The Wallflowers, but alt-country and Southern rock subtleties also shine through in their music.
The band’s 2010 EP Places got a boost with contributions from Joe Kwon of the Avett Brothers and Grammy nominated Rick Keen on dobro, The debut LP One Damn Heart continues to push the Debonzo Bros.’ sound. We caught up with Jeff Debonzo to see what’s new with the band and find out his take on the local music scene.
How would you describe your sound?
Tough question, although it’s important to commit to something so listeners can find you. Early alt-country with the emphasis on heavy electric guitar sounds and organ makes up the majority of our material.
Even though I’ve never listened to much Wallflowers, that comparison is always there because of Keef’s rasp and Jay’s organ. If Americana is our major, our minor would be older school melodic indie rock like Belle and Sebastian, Yo La Tengo, Voxtrot and Piebald.
What do you like most about the music scene in Raleigh and what would you change?
Definitely the tight-knit communal feel is a big plus. Whether it’s lending gear, pulling together for a benefit or simply attending each others’ shows, people are very supportive of each other.
This scene isn’t limited to musicians, but especially the bartenders, venue owners and sound folks as well. I’m not sure I would change anything, except acknowledge the disparity between the media buzz around certain bands, regardless of show attendance, substance, etc. But even with this reality, it works because music fans have different reasons motivating them. Some are fans of the buzz, needing to be told what to like and some are color blind to it, paying respect to the art.
What are your favorite bars and clubs for live music?
Where is the best late-night meal?
Snoopy’s. The Wake Forest Rd location was a short walk from our old place near Five Points. Double cheeseburger, two chili-dogs, fries and Diet Coke after an evening at Bickett Gallery was a good habit.
Where’s your go-to spot for new clothes?
My go-to would be Time After Time in Chapel Hill. They’ve come through many times, after time. A close second is Father and Son in Raleigh.
What is the best place for new or used musical instruments?
Most purchases are through Craigslist or word of mouth. Keef’s setup is always changing. Effects pedals are his own adult version of baseball cards. Harry’s Guitar Shop on Glenwood has always taken good care of us.
What’s Raleigh’s best kept secret?
24/7 Comedy Radio on 570 AM. The $2 beer special at Busy Bee, along with their Caesar with steak can’t be beat.
Where can we find you next?
The Station in Carrboro, Tuesday, August 7 at 9pm.