By Johnny Griffith
I have a confession to make. I play in a club friendly, easily accessible, party band that plays a lot of top-40 country, classic rock, and funk, but my heart is still back in the late 70’s to mid-80’s progressive rock bands like Pink Floyd, ELP, Yes, Rush, Queensryche, and later, Dream Theater.
Coming from a background of classical music, the sweeping compositions, intelligent lyrical content, and technical proficiency of the “Prog-Rock” genre captured me in ways that other music never did.
Born of the late 60’s psychedelic rock genre in Britain, prog-rock reached its pinnacle of mainstream popularity by the early 80’s with the expansive structure and instrumental nature of the songs not being radio friendly. However, fans of the genre have continued their support over the years, spawning new generations of musicians willing to take up the torch and lend their own voice to the chorus.
Local prog-rock band Bibeau is one of the newest bands making waves in the genre right here in East Texas. Formed in 2009 by brothers Robin and Peyton Bibeau, sons of transplanted New Orleans native and veteran music exec Paul Bibeau, the band has already made their mark on the scene locally, regionally, and globally with a growing international fan base, a YouTube channel with thousands of views, and several positive reviews in industry magazines. With a full slate of shows coming up as well as work and school, these guys are constantly moving forward at a breakneck pace. They graciously sat down to give us a chance to learn more about Bibeau for the EGuide readers.
Johnny: Give me the backstory on how the band started.
Bibeau: Our dad has been in the record business for years, so we were raised around rock stars and music. When we were younger, he owned Spitfire Records (Black Label Society, Dio, Ted Nugent, Alice Cooper, Danzig, etc.), and he plays guitar, so no matter where we lived – New York, New Orleans, or Whitehouse, Texas – we had music rooms with drums, guitars, amps, and records everywhere. Peyton would climb on the drum kit and bang away as a baby, and I (Robin) would gravitate to the guitars.
When we were old enough, our dad taught us how to play, and he played bass with us in what became the first version of Bibeau. We posted our first video in February 2010 on YouTube featuring songs from Rush, Van Halen, Free, and The Beatles. We played our first show at American Band Idol later that year, and my friend Sara Smith came to the show. We started working with her and writing our first songs, and we played festivals and renaissance faires. At that point, the band wanted to find a singer because we were basically an instrumental power trio.
Johnny: How was the process of adding additional members to get your current lineup?
Bibeau: It was a tough process, but definitely worth the effort. It took what seemed like an eternity to find a singer. We posted on Craigslist, put flyers in music stores, and auditioned a few singers, but no one had the vocal range we were looking for. We wanted a powerful singer, male or female, with range. We also considered adding a second guitarist to build the guitar harmonies.
We finally found a singer and second guitarist after we played a benefit at Click’s Live in Tyler. Both musicians had promise, but there wasn’t a good connection there, so just a few days before opening for John 5 from Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie, we found ourselves once again needing a vocalist and guitarist. We talked to Alan Benek Hernández on guitar and Drew Theiring on vocals about sitting in as guests for the John 5 show, and they learned the songs after just two practices.
Our bass player Sara Smith left the band for college, but she’s always a friend whom we all love. However, that left us with another hole in the lineup. Our new bassist, Chris Ray, came to Bibeau from a working connection with our first singer. Chris is an amazing musician. We feel that working with great musicians has helped us grow our audience and gain attention in many places we still can’t believe.
Johnny: Where is everyone from?
Bibeau: Everyone is from east Texas with the exception of Peyton and me (Robin). We were born in New York and lived in New Orleans in 2004-2005 until Hurricane Katrina showed up. We stayed in east Texas and moved into a house in Whitehouse after losing nearly everything in the storm. We have been here 11 years now, and we love the area. We all have roots here now, having met new friends and fellow musicians, and we would like to help grow the music scene here.
Johnny: Who would you say were your biggest musical influences individually and collectively?
Bibeau: Alan Holdsworth for me (Robin). Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Rush, Yes, Dream Theater, Pink Floyd, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and Dokken for Alan. Iron Maiden for Chris. Led Zeppelin for Drew, and Simon & Garfunkel for Peyton.
We have a profound respect for the greats of yesterday and the developing talents of today. We all have different tastes and influences in music, and it is represented in our songs and overall sound. You can hear the influence during a live set; we perform mostly our original material. While our influences are in there somewhere, we all feel that we manage to have very much our own unique sound. With the world being the way it is, we all feel that music now should be intellectually challenging and entertaining and in no way, dumbed-down. We also did not want to be derivative of the Dream Theater style of modern progressive music. It’s been done to death. We listen to TesseracT, Sky Harbor, and other great new bands, but it is important that we create our own thing.
Johnny: What has been your most memorable moment as a band so far?
Bibeau: Hands down, our show in Baton Rouge. The crowd’s reaction was overwhelming, and we had a hard time loading our equipment in the parking lot because we were swamped by happy people. That’s what it is all about. Having your songs make an impact live. It’s becoming a trend at our shows, and we are playing just about everywhere in the south now.
Johnny: What has been your biggest challenge as a band?
Bibeau: Time. We all work or go to school. We are weekend warriors, and we need as much time as possible to write and refine our original songs.
Johnny: You recently released your first single and supporting video, how was that process, and what did you learn that will help you moving forward?
Bibeau: We recorded “Mark This” in our home studio, and we sent it out to Luke Garrigus at Blackroom Studios. We were blown away with his mastering, and we have decided to record the new record at his studio in Georgetown, Texas, early next year.
As for the recording, we have learned a lot about recording through trial and error. Everyone laid down their respective tracks so smoothly, it was impressive. As a band, we have worked hard to become extremely tight.
The “Mark This” video was a phenomenal experience, thanks to director Justin Mosley. We opted for a dystopian, post apocalyptic sci-fi themed video. Justin Mosley directed the movie “Devil’s Deal,” which was distributed by Lionsgate, and he happens to live in Tyler. We really wanted to work with him! Justin is incredible at what he does, and he worked to help us add a metaphorical theme for the video. Metal may seem scary, but it unites like-minded people into a community. We also wanted to use elements of our crop circle logo and our voodoo theme mixed in within the storyline. We wanted a metal video reminiscent of the heyday of MTV because not very many bands do that anymore. 60,000 Youtube and 20,000 Facebook views later, it is still finding traction.
Johnny: You guys developed and released a mobile app for the band. How well was that received, and did it help with the outreach and marketing?
Bibeau: It came out before this new lineup, and it has helped. Honestly, we need to refresh it and rework a campaign to promote it more. We are very active promoting the band via ReverbNation, BandCamp, Number One Music, as well as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and now, SnapChat.
Johnny: What are your goals for 2017 and beyond?
Bibeau: We have a major event to kick off the new year with an absolute legend of the guitar: Ace Frehley of KISS, who will be playing at Click’s Live in Tyler. We’ll be opening for him! We also hope to record our debut record in February/March and release the record on Fade to Silence Records in the summer. Then we tour!
If you’re a fan of prog-rock or just metal in general, be sure to catch Bibeau locally while you still can. Their star is rising, and these guys aren’t content with the status quo. I look forward to an exciting future for Bibeau as they continue to push the genre and write their own chapter in the history books.
Bibeau on the web:
- Saturday, October 8th – Zombiepalooza, Click’s Live, Tyler, Texas
- Friday, October 21st – Bailey’s on the Square, Marksville, Louisiana
- Sunday, October 30th – Rock ‘N Roller Derby, Tyler, Texas
- Saturday, November 5th – The Deadhorse, San Angelo, Texas
- Saturday, November 12th – Texas Mist, Austin, Texas
- Saturday, November 19th – The Memphis, Longview, Texas
- Friday, December 2nd – Future-Fest at Click’s Live, Tyler with Cut-Throat Queens
- Saturday, December 3rd – Curtain Club, Dallas with Cut-Throat Queens
- Friday, December 9th – The Railhead in Lawton, Oklahoma with Cut-Throat Queens
- Saturday, December 10th – Stick’s Place in Wichita Falls, Oklahoma with Cut-Throat Queens
- Saturday, December 17th – Zombie’s, San Antonio, Texas
- Saturday, January 21st – Click’s Live, Tyler, with Ace Frehley
EGuide Magazine’s Gig Guide
Jason Herrin, Shooter Jennings, Dirty River Boys in Concert this Weekend
March 9th (8pm) Jason Herrin will be at Moore’s Store in Ben Wheeler. Tickets are available at the door. Cover is $7.
March 10th (8pm) – Shooter Jennings – Shooter Jennings is an American singer-songwriter, active mainly in the outlaw country music and Southern rock genres. He is the son of country music legend Waylon Jennings. Tickets range from $35 -$45. Liberty Hall is located at 103 E. Erwin St., Tyler. Tickets are available at libertytyler.com.
March 10th (8pm) – Dirty River Boys with Pushwater will be at Love & War in Lindale. Tickets are available at outhousetickets.com. Tickets are $15 for general admission.
March 16th (8pm) – Parker McCollum will be at Coach’s & Cowboys. Tickets are available at wildtexastickets.com. Singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Parker McCollum treats each song he writes with a painstaking level of dedication, reverence, respect and as he will readily admit, even a bit of obsession. His new album “Probably Wrong” follows the Austin-based performer’s ultimate goal is to reinvent himself with each record he makes. Tickets are $13-$20.
March 17th (8pm-1am) – St. Patrick’s Day Metal Massacre will take place at Click’s Live, 1946 ESE Loop 323, Tyler. The St. Patrick’s Day Metal Massacre features Edge of Misery, No Due Respect, and LowLife. Cover at the door. Doors open at 8pm.
March 22nd (7-10pm) – Zach Winters and Jason Barrows will perform at The Foundry Coffee House, 202 S. Broadway, Downtown Tyler. They will be performing songs from their new albums and changing every city they visit to the city of brotherly love. Early bird tickets are $10. Pre-sale ticket are $12. At the door tickets are $15. Doors at 7pm and music starts at 7:30pm. All ages are welcome. For more info go to zachwinters.com or jasonbarrows.com.
March 24th (8pm) – Bibeau Record Release Party & Concert – will be held at Click’s Live. Tickets are available at the door with proper ID.
March 25th (8pm) – Texas Sunday Returns with Brandon Rhyder at Love & War in Lindale. Tickets are available at outhousetickets.com. Tickets are $15 for general admission.
April 7th (9pm-1am) – Post Profit with Travis Christian will be at Garage Bar, 418 E. Erwin St., Downtown Tyler. There is a $5 cover.
April 7th (7pm) – Sam Riggs will be at Coach’s & Cowboys. Tickets are $15-$20 and available at wildtexastickets.com.
April 8th (8pm) – Texas Sunday: Jason Boland & The Stragglers will be at Love & War in Lindale. Tickets are available at outhousetickets.com. Tickets are $20 for general admission.
April 12th (8pm) Wesley Pruitt will be at Moore’s Store in Ben Wheeler. Tickets are available at the door.
April 12th (7pm) – The Legendary Johnny Rodriguez in Concert – Texas Country Music Hall of Famer, Johnny Rodriguez, has had fifteen top-ten singles and 6 number-one hits since 1973. Some of Johnny’s classic hits include: “Pass Me By,” “You Always Come Back (To Hurting Me),” “Riding My Thumb To Mexico,” “That’s The Way Love Goes,” and “Just Get Up and Close The Door.” For tickets call (866)710-8942. Tickets start at $35.
April 15th (8pm) – Texas Sunday: Chris Knight will be at Love & War in Lindale. Tickets are available at outhousetickets.com. Tickets are $20 for general admission.
April 21st (8pm) – Mouse & The Traps – After more than 50 years together, Mouse & the Traps continue to be one of the best examples of “Texas Rock & Roll.” Formed in Tyler, Texas in 1965, Mouse, Nardo, Dave & Larry continue to give the public just what they want – great rock and roll. Whether you remember “Public Execution,” “Hit the Bricks,” or not, Mouse & The Traps has something for everyone. Tickets are $20-$25.
April 21st – Bowling For Soup at Clicks Live (8pm) – American pop-punk band Bowling For Soup emerged in Wichita Falls, Texas in 1994, but have since relocated to Denton Texas. Tickets are on sale at the door for $19, and may be purchased in advanced online for $15 at etix.com.
The Blacksmiths: Still Like That Old Time Rock & Roll
By Johnny Griffith
Bob Seger has a well known hit from the early 80’s called “Old Time Rock And Roll.” This song laments the lack of soul in the contemporary music of that time period and declares his intent to keep playing classic rock as a solution. I’ve never gotten the chance to meet Mr. Seger, but the closest thing we have here in East Texas is Chris Austin of the local classic rock band, The Blacksmiths. A native of Chapel Hill, Chris played drums on the drumline at Chapel Hill High School and went on to graduate from the Dallas Sound Lab with a degree in Audio Engineering and Sound Techniques. Blessed with parents that loved music and supported him in his endeavors early and often, Austin developed a love for classic rock through the sounds he heard coming from his parents’ collections and eventually started a band and is still playing to this day.
We managed to get a word in with Chris recently to find out more about The Blacksmiths
Johnny: What is the current lineup of the band? Any changes over the lifespan of the band?
Chris: The current lineup consists of myself on lead guitar and vocals, Joshua Stewart on drums, Angelo Lopez on bass/rhythm guitar/vocals, and Ben Carter on bass and vocals. Angelo and Ben have both been filling the shoes of bass player when available, but recently we decided to shake it up a bit and go with a 4 piece instead of 3 with Angelo on guitar as well…as our busy schedules finally allowed. The lineup has changed immensely over the years. I haphazardly started this project about 6 years ago with a couple of friends just messing around in my kitchen,,,which was the only place we had to set up all the equipment at the time…typical broke musicians haha. We eventually gained a keyboard and rhythm player and were a 5 piece band by the time we started playing shows. We decided to go back to a 3 piece after about a year for convenience and scheduling issues. Our drummer at the time had to move for work but introduced me to Joshua before doing so. Joshua had played with Angelo before with “Something Blue” and I met Ben after watching him play for “King Richard and the Bayou Boys” …and as they say, the rest was history.
Johnny: Who were some of your early musical influences?
Chris: My parents were very into music and had a plethora of vinyl records to dig through. I was turned on to The Doors, The Who, The Allman Bros, Deep Purple, Grand Funk Railroad, The Beatles, Black Sabbath, CCR, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, SRV, David Bowie…but most importantly Led Zeppelin. When I was 12 I received a cheap electric guitar and Led Zeppelin IV on cassette tape for Christmas and that changed everything..
Johnny: At what point was the decision made to be a primarily classic rock band? Have to say you guys are a bit younger than most of the other ones in the area.
Chris: That’s really the stuff I always enjoyed playing the most and felt most comfortable with, because those tunes were ingrained in me from a young age. When we first started, we tried a lot of 90’s stuff and some 80’s Metallica and Misfits which we were pretty decent at but learned pretty quickly what we had more fun with. Even though we’re a bit younger, I feel we were all entranced by that era of music growing up. We were very lucky to have Miss Robin Griffith from XLN on 5th street give us the chance to really explore our potential. We played every Sunday there for quite a while as the house band which gave us a lot of quick feedback from the crowd…and from the venue owner haha.
Johnny: Is there any specific period of classic rock you guys gravitate towards over others?
Chris: Not really, I’ve just personally loved the 70’s era most, but we cover the 60’s and 80’s as well. We do seem to cover a lot of Creedence Clearwater and The Doors though, if that says anything.
Johnny: Where did the band name come from?
Chris: The guys from the original lineup and I were hanging out after practice having a beer or two and trying to come up with something, After a length of time and much pondering, we looked around the room and noticed the main theme of what we were looking at…which was old, broken down, second hand, very junky equipment that I had been hoarding and frankensteining together with duct tape and zip ties for years. I’m really not sure how we didn’t shock or hurt ourselves but I remember us saying…”well, we sure know how to make something out of nothing…like a dang ole’ blacksmith” (speaking of the ramshackle but playable equipment). And just like that, it stuck.
Johnny: do you guys do any originals at this point or is it primarily covers?
Chris: I’ve had a couple of blues tunes in the works for a while but we’ve honestly been so busy playing shows and working full time day jobs or careers it’s been tough to find time, but I think this is our year to shine.
Johnny: You’ve been playing music in this area for a while now, do you have a favorite memory so far?
Chris: I’ve had a lot of really cool experiences along the way getting to play with some amazing musicians. I was the guitar player in a band with Jonathan Scott from Resident Hero for a while and grew up with the singer Ryan White. I also toured a bit as guitar player for Stewart Mann and the Statesboro Revue out of Austin. I’d have to say though, my favorite memory thus far is a recent one. Joshua and I were both taught drums by Nardo and I learned guitar from Larry Stanley. We had the opportunity to open for Mouse and the Traps for the New Years Eve party at Love and War in Lindale and man was it an experience! We got to open for the guys who taught us everything in a packed room. Too cool
Johnny: Where can people get their Blacksmiths fix over the next couple of months?
Chris: Our next scheduled gig is March 31st at Club 155 on Frankston highway…at least for the public. We do a lot of private parties, bike rallies, and events as well. But always keep an eye out for us at XLN on 5th street…that’s our main stomping ground
Johnny: What do The Blacksmiths have on the radar through the rest of the year?
Chris: We have a lot of new stuff planned for this year. A whole new set of songs, some killer merchandise and a new demo ep. Also, I’m told that you might see us opening for Mouse and the Traps again in the near future…so keep your eyes peeled
Johnny: What can a new listener expect to see at a Blacksmiths show?
Chris: A good ole’ Rock show with lots of classic favorite tunes played by guys that do the best they can to respect and represent the music for what it is….life and love
EGuide Magazine’s Gig Guide
Date Night: From Fancy to Simple, Tyler Offers a Lot of Romance
March 24th – Tyler Azalea 10k, 5k, and Kids Run plus MORE!
Theatre Guide: March 15-18th, “The Lucky O’Learys” on Stage
The Apple Didn’t Fall Far From The Tree
DATE CHANGES!! April 2nd: Glass Rec. Center, Summer Camp Registration Open
The Skinny on Cooking at Home: The Cookbook Junkie
March 29th: Hop to the 17th Annual Twilight Easter Egg Hunt
2018 Azalea & Spring Flower Trails March 16th-April 1st
March 30th: Deana Carter in Concert at Liberty Hall
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