Goodbye June, above. From left, vocalist Landon Milbourn, Tyler Baker and Brandon Qualkenbush. (Photo: courtesy of Goodbye June/Big Hassle)
Just a few years ago, Southern Rock found its savior. More importantly American rock ‘n’ roll has gotten the kick in the pants it needs. It’s all thanks to guitarists Tyler Baker and Brandon Qualkenbush, and vocalist Landon Milbourn, who together make up Goodbye June.
The band’s debut album, “Nor The Wild Music Flow” was released in 2012, with its electric single entitled “Microscope” hitting streets right before the release of the album. Currently the trio is also releases a new EP, titled “Danger In The Morning” on August 26.
“We’ve gotten to a place, as musicians where we’ve found a way not to hold back,” said Qualkenbush, “and also really to blast off in a way in which we play musically what we want to say.”
“It feels like we’ve written about 3000 songs,” said Milbourn, who notes also that the band has played maybe that amount of live shows too. “And we’ve become way better musicians too!” adds Baker, prompting laughs.
Moreover, the band has a knack for getting entangled not only in songwriting and tons of live shows, but also with America’s favorite sport, football. Along with “Danger In The Morning”, you’ll hear plenty of Goodbye June, especially if you are a tapped into the gridiron game.
The band’s recent single “Man of The Moment” has been selected by ESPN’s TV program College Game Day, while “Oh No”, the band’s biggest hit on Spotify, is one of the songs selected for Madden NFL 17.
This is all good for Goodbye June who keep cranking out the songs while touring, and keeping tabs on football. Singer Milbourn is a Tennessee Titans fan, while Qualkenbush and Baker, both from Indiana, root primarily for the Indianapolis Colts.
“We’re all huge football fans,” says Milbourn. “But, we don’t have any special connection to the NFL or the football gods,” he said, hinting at the serendipity of it all.
“Of course it’s because of our wonderful football physiques,” jokes Qualkenbush. “Truth is, we think about football a lot this time of year,” the guitarist concludes, “so it works out, and maybe adds a little fire.”
While Goodbye June’s first album offered tinges of both hard rock and folk sounds from 1970s, the band’s upcoming full-length album, set to be released next year, draws influence, the band said, from rock as well as country, rockabilly and other sources of influence.
“We’re big fans of course of Led Zeppelin, and take influence from number of others like Jimi Hendrix, The Kings of Leon, The Black Keys and Hank Williams,“ said Milbourn. Their single, “Man of The Moment”, has its share of hard sounds reminiscent of Black Sabbath and solo-era Joe Walsh, cultivated in a well-paced, deliberate march that let Milbourn’s splendid vocals really soar.
Goodbye June formed not only out of a fire for music and close family relationships. The three cousins came closer together as a result of tragedy.
Back in 2005, Tyler’s younger brother, Private First Class Shane Baker had come home on leave from a military mission abroad. Shortly after his arrival Shane died in a car accident. This unexpected loss subsequently brought the three men and extended family together, and over the course of a few weeks following Shane’s death in June of that year, the trio strummed some guitars and wrote a few songs in the mix.
“Shane was kind of a pillar of our family, with a big personality. So from that perspective his death was just a huge shock to the whole family,” said Baker of his younger brother. “Shortly after Landon and Brandon kind of moved in with us for support after Shane’s death, and we started writing songs while hanging out just to sort of pass the time.”
Once set in place, the band relocated to Nashville in 2009, where Baker said at first they “starved a bit and stayed in some crappy apartments”. But the trio stayed focused on playing gigs and steeping themselves into songwriting.
“We all grew up in the country,” Milbourn said, “but we love aspects of the city, too. So for that Nashville is a perfect mix.”
Within three years the band were, you could say, at full speed. Goodbye June’s 2012 video for “Microscope” featured country music star Steve Holy and Los Angeles Rams coach Jeff Fisher. The clip depicts a high octane car chase and gun skirmish in the Tennessee woods, set to June’s thriving guitar licks, as “bad cops” Holy and Fisher chase the band through the countryside, firing shotguns.
“We were hanging around one night,” said Baker, “just throwing around ideas for the music video, and Jeff –who is friends with all of us—came by to just hangout. We talked about our crazy ideas about staging a car chase and he loved it”.
In the process the band totaled one of the cars — a 1990s model Mercedes sedan bought just for the shoot. (It’s OK, this was part of the plan).
Alongside the work on the new EP and next album, Goodbye June continue to tour the American south throughout September and October.