The unique Blues Rock sound of Brooklyn’s The End Men
The End Men from Brooklyn, NY bring some of the finest Rock, Dirty Blues and vocals dripping with coarse emotion to your town. Prepare yourself for some dirty guitar work, raw-edges vocals and soulful saxophone tunes. Feel the New York hardness meet the Southern blues groove. Yeah, The End Men sho’ know how a Blues Rockband should sound! As a two-piece band with an extended family The End Men were created in 2010. After rolling for some years The End Men recently released their fourth album ‘Terms and Conditions’.
The End Men are Matthew Hendershot (guitar and vocals) and Livia Ranalli (drums, percussion and vocals), and currently featuring Matthew Elia on saxophone. This combination works fine for The End Men, the searing sax adds a new dimension to the arrangement that remind you of New Orleans and soul songs from a different era. With raw, rasp-soaked vocals, the multiple amp guitar-split to give the illusion of bass, a rock solid drum pocket peppered with found percussive elements, the band rides a wave of dirty blues rock and vaudevillian stomp.
I met The End Men as hard working creative musicians that know the roots of their music and make the fruits. Their work is a blend of memories from the old days with an eye to the future. Sometimes ironic, sometimes blue but all songs tell a story worth listening, this all packed in a musical arrangement that I like more every minute. Like Willie Dixon once said “ The blues are the Roots and other musics are the Fruits”.
Currently The End Men are touring through Europe. While driving to the next concert venue they were pleased to tell something about their inspiration and the blues.
What are The End Men’s influences, and what is your personal inspiration?
Musically, our inspirations range really widely. I think that is part of the appeal of the band, that we are not just a blues band or a rock band, you can hear everything in there if you are listening for it. From Queen to Queens of the Stone Age, Zappa to Zep, Joe Cocker and Jim Croce, Beefheart, Miles, and then of course music from the blues traditions, very early rock and roll.. really an endless list. This lets the fans focus in on the parts they like the most I think.
So after a gig someone comes and says, “I love Tom Waits and you remind me of that!” and then the next can say, “Oh I love Jack White’s work and you have that White Stripes thing going on.” or whatever they pick out based on their tastes.
For us, we just are making the music that comes to us from the æther or wherever, and people can view it thru their own lenses, it’s all fine for us as long as they listen and like it!
Which influence had the Blues in this all?
Well, I think obviously without the blues, rock ‘n roll doesn’t even exist. And when you dig deeper into playing and get past the pop surface stuff, you end up drawing from not just the blues but also the early rock that came from there. I mean, the southern rockers we just playing rock ‘n blues with an accent right? And the Brits were all about the blues and you can’t not love Stones/Kinks/Beatles etc… And then you look at your life and your own personal blues from the daily grind and you want to speak on it. You know Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Hooker and King, these guys were telling their tales thru the blues, and we have our tough days, so we tell those our way; modern, louder sure, bit more rock, but still just telling it all as we see it.
‘Built It Up and ‘Play With Toys’
In 2011 The End Men released their first album, ‘Build It Up’. Their follow up ‘Play With Your Toys’ was released in 2013, and ‘Odds & Ends’ a year after that. Their newest offering, the full-length “Terms and Conditions” was released worldwide on April 21st 2015. This album is different than their other work.,Matthew explains the difference:
Your latest album ‘Terms and Conditions’ just came out. Did you had a different approach writing this album in comparison with the other albums?
Yeah, this album is very different than anything we’ve done so far. We had a very tight timetable to complete the record and in total I think we did the whole thing in like 15 days. We wanted it to be very full and rich and have as much live feeling as possible, so many times we were tracking together with each other, no clicks, no punches, just get it worked out and get it right and capture that. We were very fortunate to work at the studio of John Epperly who also helped to produce the record. We were still writing in the studio, arranging songs, even one that was completely created in session and I think we were really able to get that feel captured, so now listening, it seems like you are there with us. Bobby Lurie mixed the record for us in like two nights! We were there till 4 or 5 am and then back the next evening doing it again! And then Alex DeTurk did the mastering for vinyl, another first for us, and we shipped it off. It was mad-dash but it give such great vibe to the album that way.
How did you come up with the name and artwork? Was there a special idea behind?
The title and artwork are both a joke and a bit of commentary. We wanted to speak on the issues of how everything has so many rules, and the litigation culture is out of hand, and it’s all about protections and nobody wanting to be responsible for anything, but also like Zappa said before Congress, It should be up to the people to make their own choices of what they do, so by saying hey you have to read and sign this it is a way for us to get people to think about that. But then we did the whole thing with tongue firmly in cheek! The agreement is completely absurd of course, like we aren’t responsible if you get pregnant while listening and other nonsense. Basically we wanted a funny way to say if you hear this and decide to get wild, that’s totally acceptable, but it is also on you if you break something! And then to just have the all white and black legal text is like something sterile and in a way protective, like the all black Spinal Tap cover joke! Anyone who looks at it must first think, “What the fuck kinda artwork is that?” and then if they read it, it has to be so perplexing I think if you don’t know what the music is inside.
“Basically we wanted a funny way to say if you hear this and decide to get wild, that’s totally acceptable”
Since the release of ‘Terms and Conditions’ The End Men are busy performing arouns Europe and the States. Like many bands that were featured on this website, The End Men experience a whole lot of love from all the folks they meet during a touring.
Since you’ve been touring in Europe, what do you like the most about touring?
Touring in Europe is great. We have the most supportive venues and audiences and they are all really music fans. America has that too but you get the sense that many American places are really struggling because the scenes are over saturated, or competition makes having good shows difficult, or people are jaded, or going to see live bands isn’t something people really do these days en masse, I don’t know, we’ve heard every story and I’m sure it is a combination of all of that. It feels like a mirror of societies maybe. In America you have the disappearing middle class in music as well, so you are either big and established or you are fighting to keep your head up. In Europe we find what feels like a great support system for that middle class, so it’s nice. But regardless of where we go, America or Europe the best part is always the people. We have met the most amazing, interesting, generous people everywhere. People who will cook for you, offer you a place to sleep, or just good hang outs and chats. Being on tour reminds you that you shouldn’t lose faith in humanity, because there are tons of awesome people in the world.
If you know bands like The End Men or many other bands on this website there is no need to visit an expensive concert. The music and bands are already here and willing to come to your local bar or festival. The End Men are, that’s sure. I’m looking forward holding the vinyl of ‘Terms and Conditions’ in my hands!
The End Men – Morning Birds / East of West Single
The End Men – Odds & Ends