By Emily Clingman
Photo Credit: hudetzphotography.com
The Lindsey O’Brien Band is celebrating a well- deserved decade-long journey of musical dedication, friendship and success this month.
O’Brien is no stranger to the stage. Her father has always been in a band, and she was always up there singing with him. Naturally, her passion for music and singing developed early. Fast-forward to young adulthood and you’ll find O’Brien moving from her native, Chicago state, to sunny Colorado, guitar in tow. She studied English Literature and laughs when asked if she was a cute little college girl that played the guitar.
As she started playing around town, her solo career blossomed into what we see on the stage today. She eventually ran into Matt Mahern (who everyone, these days, knows as P-Man from Constitution) and Dave Clapsaddle. They meshed and the Lindsey O’Brien band was born.
Over the years, there have been different band members, and different sounds. But it wasn’t until the past couple years that the band really started to develop its true identity. With seven members, the Lindsey O’Brien Band can be described as horn driven rock and roll. But with O’Brien at the helm, there’s a sultry sweetness to its sound.
“Having been together for so long, it took us a while to pinpoint what really worked for us,” Mahern said.
“The thing that really changed is that we got to a place that we really started to enjoy what we were playing for our own purposes,” Clapsaddle added. “A lot of bands wind up playing music to make people party, or dance, or do well in the market, whatever.”
“We tried a lot of different things,” Mahern continued. “Once we added the horns, our sound really filled out. There’s something about a horn section – that big sound – it gives us direction.”
Aside from the full sound and the band’s new love for itself, nothing can compare to O’Brien’s presence as front-woman.
“People like chicks,” Mahern laughed. “Nobody wants to look at my ugly mug all night.”
Jokes aside, O’Brien is a strong leader. Not only is she truly lovely and sexy, she knows what she wants and has six awesome brothers (from other mothers) to back her up.
“I wouldn’t call them my back up band,” O’Brien said. “We’re a family.”
Everybody has a part in the band to make it unique whole, like none other.
“This is Lindsey’s music for sure,” Chris Nicholas said. “We help orchestrate it, but she writes the lyrics; she comes up with main melodies. It really it makes all the sense in the world to me that she is in front.”
But all the members agree that the bond they share contributes to the soul of the band.
“With this many people and so many lives going on outside of the band, its hard to describe how much we have been through together,” Mahern said. “This 10-year anniversary is really important.”
“We’re all there for each other,” he said. “We’re friends. We’re family. It’s way more than an obligation.”
“It’s hard keeping bands together,” O’Brien added. “You gotta find the give and take like with any family. We’ve learned how to work with each other.”
“We all went to couples therapy together,” Mahern joked.
Not only is 10 years a notable feat, the Lindsey O’Brien Band can also boast being a 2013 SpokesBUZZ band. SpokesBUZZ is a local organization that uses local musical talent to bring national attention to Fort Collins’ music, bike, and beer scene. Its main activity is to bring a handful of local bands to the annual SXSW event in Austin each year, as a group, to generate interest in what’s going on up here in the north for culture and entertainment. O’Brien and her brood are excited to participate in the event this year. (www. spokesbuzz.org)
Our vision with SpokesBUZZ is to put our best foot forward,” Mahern said. “To really bring our A-game down there. We’re there to promote Fort Collins even more so than ourselves.”
What is the future plan for the Lindsey O’Brien Band?
“To go to the bar,” Mahern joked. Really, the group will be working on a long overdue sophomore album, hoping to be completed in the spring. But more importantly, they will be celebrating the band’s anniversary at Hodi’s Half Note on February 22 as they step into their next musical journey.
The Lindsey O’Brien Band:
Lindsey O’Brien – Lead vocals, guitar, band manager Craig Fowler – Bass Chris Nicholas – Trombone Matt Mahern – Lead guitar, vocals, red headed spiritual guru Johnny Gray – Trumpet Eric Imbrosciano – Drums Dave Clapsaddle – Saxophone
10-Year Anniversary Show: Hodi’s February 22, 2013