By Emily Clingman-Johnson
Sitting on milk crates in the middle of a salvage yard, I chatted with half of Elway, a local non-apologetic punk band whose fame is gaining steam all over the country, even in the sports world.
Lead singer and guitarist Tim Browne and drummer Garrett Carr talked about their new album and the other news that’s been circulating big outlets like CNN and ESPN.
For those not tuned into the underground punk scene or network sports channels, it turns out former Denver Bronco quarterback John Elway is a sore loser when it comes to sharing his name. In short, Elway the band recently received a cease and desist letter from Elway the quarterback. The poor sport doesn’t want the community to be confused or misled when Elway, the band, uses his name in public.
They came up with the new name one night after a gig in Denver. Wouldn’t it be awesome, Garrett recalled, if they named the band Elway but never made any reference to John Elway, his steakhouse, or his car dealership?
And that’s how Elway, the band, was born…and is here to stay. Browne didn’t elaborate on how the issue has been resolved, but he says that they are keeping the name.
The band hasn’t talked to the quarterback personally, but Browne said he’d like John Elway’s address so he can send him an “Edible Arrangement” to congratulate him for helping the band with all the press.
Garrett loves the irony in the situation.
“The name doesn’t matter,” he said. “And neither does John Elway.”
New Label, New Album
The bigger news for the band is being signed to a label and releasing a new album. Chicago-based punk rock label Red Scare Industries picked up Elway and helped the band put out Delusions, produced by Matt Allen (Alkaline Trio, The Lawrence Arms, Smoke or Fire) at Atlas Studios in Chicago.
The music is pop punk with a bit more gruffness and a lot less whining. It’s hard, but still catchy, and it gets your toes tapping. The songs have all of the elements that make good rock song gritty and emotional, including lyrics about the girl that’s gone, drinking away sorrow, wrestling with the past and taking on the world. Their lyrics are clever and hit you deep in the soul.
“Shadows creep faster and further my son, when you let this world find you afraid.”
“You can’t win against the world so why pretend?”
“Nothing gets you down when you’re too drunk to think.”
When asked what the band is like onstage, Carr sheepishly replied, “What are we like, or what do we like onstage?”
“I like a vodka ginger ale with a lime onstage,” Browne said.
Carr likes a cold, cheap beer.
“Really though,” Browne said, “If you just sit down with our new lyrics, you’d kind of get bummed out. Existential bullshit and semi-poetic dread does not necessarily play into that vibe we want onstage. So, when we perform, we go to the greatest lengths to have fun and fuck around.”
Browne continued, “If you got onstage and were 100 percent serious and really trying to channel emotion through song, people are going to think you’re an asshole.”
“And you probably are an asshole,” Carr added.
“Mission number one when you are playing live is to have fun,” Browne said. “Because if you’re not having fun it sucks like any other job.”
Elway has played to diverse crowds of people, from four to 294. Their average audience is thirty and they like it that way.
“You’ll usually find us in a creepy, dark basement or a dingy bar,” Garrett said. “Thirty seems huge when the walls are caving in.”
And what does the future held for a band that plays serious music but doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously?
“We want to go to Europe next year,” Carr said.
“I want to play in front of as many groups of thirty as possible. I want to play for thirty people in Tajikistan. I want to play for thirty people in Djibouti,” added Browne.
“Yeah. Go Broncos,” Carr said…facetiously.
Elway is made up of Tim Browne (guitar/vocals), Joe Henderer (bass), Garrett Carr (drums) and Brian Van Proyen (guitar). Find them online at myspace.com/elway. Their new album, Delusions, can be purchased online on iTunes or at amazon.com or redscare.net.