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