Music First. Finally amidst over a decade of major changes in the music we listen to and how we listen to it, KOVAC BROTHERS emerges with a courageous style of Rock music. Anchored by Brothers Frank and Jim Kovac, their unique and separate successes in the music industry have at last combined to produce meaningful songs with both distinctive and classic approaches to instrumentation.
Describing KOVAC BROTHERS music and philosophy includes a timeless writing style with a fearless contemporary approach. The influences of Steely Dan, and The Allman Brothers are now made relevant with a relentless fusion of music. The vocal style is reminiscent of classic Elvis Costello and Tom Petty, with a contemporary dash similar to Rob Thomas. Undoubtedly these are not the only ingredients that influence the sound that radiates from the collective musical forum of KOVAC BROTHERS, but it provides the listener with a safe preparation for what must be listened to. In addition, the mix of contemporary subject matter, timeless lyrical content, and flip anecdotes, reminiscent of the best in American roots music to keep the listener grounded during the musical journey.
The collective nature of KOVAC BROTHERS introduces the rebirth of the band. Although brothers, Frank and Jim Kovac have pursued professions in the music industry separate to one and other for over the past fifteen years. “The response has been overwhelming”, says drummer Jim Kovac. “People always asked, ‘when are you guys going to play together’, we just didn’t realize how many people wanted to hear it.” The last time Frank and Jim performed on a major stage together was at the 1997 HORDE Tour in Philadelphia with Colonel Bruce Hampton (Aquarium Rescue Unit) and members of Leftover Salmon. At the time, Frank Kovac was touring relentlessly with New Brown Hat and Jim Kovac was a free-lance drummer, a hired gun, most notably with industrial band Simulcast, hip-hop group the Nervous System and pop singer Amie Miriello (now Dirtie Blonde). Jim Kovac adds, “We’re not just looking to create interesting music but also to promote independent music as a more sincere representation of people’s ideas.”
At last the opportunity to work together professionally came up in the summer of 2005. Drawing on their unique experiences the brothers instinctively realized how to work towards the ultimate goal of making music that connects with many and is interesting enough to hold the attention of the most discriminating listener.
Bringing in additional members was directed by exposure to some fantastic musicians both had an opportunity to listen to, observe and collaborate with over the past years.
Originally performing in January of 2006 as Rhythm Clutch then KoVaX, and finally KOVAC BROTHERS, they recruited some highly regarded area musicians to get started. Dave Morrison on bass, Geordie Van Nostrand on guitar, provided a rock edge and sax players Evan Olmstead and Jeff Wasserman rounded out the jazz side.
Recruiting Geordie Van Nostrand, from the Viberaiders as an additional guitarist provided an immediate edge to the sound. Described by Media Storms managing partner as “an amazing guitarist that creates a great duo on stage”(with Kovac) Van Nostrand pushed the envelope of each songs’ guitar part while carefully balancing part writing and improvisation Kovac. Solidifying the rhythm section was bassist David Morrison. By far the hardest working bass player in the area, Morrison also came from the Viberaiders but currently played with Lima Charlie and the Ian Murray Band. Possessing a tremendous musical knowledge gave Morrison the ability to contribute both a “perfect fit” in his bass part while breathing life into the rhythmic heart of the band. A highly committed musical schedule and other interests sadly saw Morrison and Van Nostrand leave by 2008. This instability caused delay to a much-anticipated album.
What did remain stable was the addition of sax players Jeff Wasserman (baritone) and Evan Olmstead (alto). Wasserman’s diverse experience includes playing bass, guitar, and keytar in the Boston based punk fusion group PD Saints and bass in Cobra Kai Dojo. More recently Wasserman has supplemented his baritone playing with a residency in the S. B. V. F.D. Band. Additionally, Wasserman plays bass guitar with The Terryl Lee Band and continues to play with Frank Kovac in the Celtic group The Sunday Morning Boys.
Evan Olmstead’s playing began in a household rich in jazz where his father, Neil Olmstead, professor at The Berklee College of Music in Boston, hosted frequent jam sessions with local Boston musicians. Evan studied jazz alto saxophone throughout school, playing lead alto in the high school big band and performing in senior districts. Evan also performed in the Connecticut College jazz ensemble and became a preferred alto player in the Northern Connecticut area both for performance and his uncanny talent for composing catching horn lines for almost any genre of music. A solid flutist as well Olmstead possesses a demeanor that enriches the collaborative process.
The unique tone of the Alto and Baritone saxophones separates KOVAC BROTHERS from other bands. Not a full horn funk ensemble or a rock band with a sax solo, the fine balance the sax plays in enhancing the songs is intriguing.
Long time friend and band mate from the New Brown Hat era, Fell Herdeg took up bass duties adding superb pocket and fine vocal harmony. Having spent many hours touring with Frank Kovac in New Brown Hat the transition was seamless and an exciting reunion.
Replacing the second guitar was keyboardist and songwriter Patrick Sweeney. Sweeney expanded the harmonic texture of the band while also lending some great vocal harmony as well. Lending piano parts reminiscent of Joe Jackson and organ with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers inspired licks, Sweeney is a serious musician who instills a fun and free-spirited sound by not taking himself to seriously."The songs seemed to come alive with this instrumentation” stated a pleased Frank Kovac. With out hesitation, some focused listening moved Frank and Jim to produce the record aptly named “Seeing is Believing”.
Narrowing down songs from the abundant collection of writer Frank Kovac, was the next step and teaming up with another old friend, renowned producer Brad Young, started the project moving at a industrious pace. The group and its’ sound is magnetic. Sweeney has simply stated that every song is unique but they are all saying “welcome, come on in and listen”. With that in mind, KOVAC BROTHERS, is certainly one of those must have bands for your collection or a show you have to See to Believe.
Brothers Frank (vocals/guitar) and Jim Kovac(drums)
January 14, 2006 New York City
Geordie VanNostrand and Frank Kovac
Jeff Wasserman and Evan Olmstead horns in the studio
Fell Herdeg and Jim Kovac