Singer-songwriter Ben Henderson got his start in Delta Activity, an explosive indie-prog-rock band, and Good Hustle, a spontaneous funk-rock trio that still occasionally plays. When he began his solo career, though, Henderson started writing heartfelt, passionate songs on his acoustic guitar. Eventually he wanted to do the same kind of songs in a band setting, and so a couple of years ago he started Brother Grand. This time, all he had to do was add one member: upright bassist Endika.
“I kind of thought I should have a drummer, and a this and a that, but I also wanted to keep it small,” Henderson says. “It is inspiring, like what more can we do as a two-piece, without having a third person? It also practically makes sense on the road—it’s a lot easier for us to travel. Dealing with only two people makes everything a lot more doable.”
In the past couple years, the group recorded a live record, Live From The Burning Room, and has toured up and down the West Coast. They debuted in New York, as Henderson was offered two opening gigs for San Jose alt-rock success story Dredg. Endika offered to come so he’d have a fuller sound, and with his style of playing on the upright bass, some rhythm, too. On the plane ride home, Henderson realized that Endika was all he needed to get that band sound.
As they’ve played, they’ve incorporated more elements that made Henderson’s other groups so interesting, like percussion and piano on some tunes, and more spontaneous jams in the live performances.
“We’re constantly adding new things, tweaking things. We’re doing more with what we got,” Henderson says. “It’s cool, when we’re traveling and playing a smaller joint, where it doesn’t make sense to have all this loud electric stuff, percussion and things like that, we can still slip in there and make an awesome set with the old setup. I don’t feel like anything’s lost.”
INFO: 9 p.m. Thursday, June 11. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $12. 429-6994.