Badfeather took two years to perfect debut album
September 13, 2016
Salt Lake City's Badfeather has solid ties to Park City.
The rock, funk and soul quintet has played up and down Historic Main Street and its vocalist Rick Gerber plays every Wednesday at The Cabin.
So, it's fitting that the two-year-old band will perform a CD-release party, celebrating the release of its debut full-length, "Signal Path," at The Cabin on Sept. 16.
Making an album is something the band members have wanted to do since the early days, according to drummer Nate Barkdull.
"We always planned to do an album and some of the band members started recording the songs before we came together officially as Badfeather, a little more than two years ago," Barkdull told The Park Record. "Since then, the band has continued to hack away at the songs and the album. We would build up the song list for our live shows and then, whenever we could, we would get together and record."
It was a slow process that had some twists and turns, and included the departure of original bassist Josh Olsen.
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"We had to pull in a new bass player and found Dan Error," Barkdull said. "We caught him up on the songs and let him know what we had going."
Error brought in a whole different flavor and sound to the band.
"We decided we wanted to use him on the album, even though we already recorded the bass parts," Barkdull said. "So, we kind of restarted the process with him."
The band did keep Olsen's bass parts on one song, called "Babbling Riverside Blues."
"We recorded that song in one setting in just a few hours," Barkdull said. "It happened so organically that we just left it the way it was."
Shortly thereafter, another change was made.
"We found this keyboardist and vocalist named Jesse Howerton, and felt that our current lead singer and keyboard player Rick Gerber would be better not trapped behind the keys," Barkdull said. "We liked how Jesse sounded, and wanted him on the album, so we made Rick our frontman.
"Rick now sings and plays some guitar, although we kept a lot of Rick's keyboard parts on the album," he said. "It was kind of a funny process that morphed into this whole thing that we finally got down."
The band recorded the self-produced album at Barkdull's home studio.
"We put the skeleton down and came up with most of these songs, which were the main ones we were rehearsing," he said. "This album feels awesome because we did it ourselves and that wasn't an easy thing to do."
Still, Badfeather, which also features guitarist Jeremy Whitesides, brought in some help: including Junior Richard and his management company, Iron Mountain, which helped fund a lot of the project, and Dave Aron, a platinum-selling Los Angeles-based mixing engineer and producer who worked on a couple of Prince and Snoop Dogg albums, as well as Tupac Shakur's "All Eyez on Me."
"While he didn't produce or engineer the album, he mixed it all, except for 'Babbling Riverside Blues,'" Barkdull said. "It was fun bringing this guy who sold millions of records and it was great working with a guy like that."
"Signal Path" has a unique sound because of who the band is, said the drummer.
"Being in this band is like having four girlfriends, except we're all guys," he said with a laugh. "We have a lot of stylistic differences, because we have our own different styles we like. So it was great bringing all of that together and meeting in the middle.
"That's what you're going to hear on the album," Barkdull said. "A lot of these songs don't sound like what you hear out there today."
The digital album is available on iTunes and CDs are available through badfeathermusic.com.
"We'll also have copies for sale at all of our shows," Barkdull said.
In addition to the Sept. 16 performance at The Cabin, the band will play at the State Room in Salt Lake City on Sept. 17.
Both shows will feature DJ Logic, a founding member of the John Popper Project, who has played with or recorded with Vernon Reid, John Mayer, Jack Johnson and Christian McBride, to name a few.
"He'll sit in with us, and play before the show and during the set breaks," Barkdull said. "He's just incredible and is a musician's DJ. We've all been friends for a long time and he's doing us a big favor."
Although Badfeather is gearing up for the CD-releases shows, Barkdull has his eye on the future.
"We since have many more songs, and we'll probably start a new album, hopefully at the end of this year," he said.
Badfeather will play a CD-release concert at The Cabin, 825 Main St., on Friday, Sept. 16, at 9 p.m. The band will also play at the State Room in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Sept. 17, at 9 p.m. For more information, visit http://www.badfeathermusic.com.