Bandaid Brigade is a brand new musical project from Zach Quinn (PEARS) and Brian Wahlstrom (Scorpios, Gods of Mount Olympus) intent on ripping up, setting fire to, and consigning to history the genre rulebook, with their eclectic and decade-spanning approach to songwriting.
The duo have just announced their debut single, ‘Travel Light’, the first track to be taken from their forthcoming debut album, I’m Separate.
“Both Brian and I wrote different sections for this song independently during different years, on different sides of the country,” says Quinn of the single. “Two unused chord progressions found their counterparts, and it was f*cking magical. As far as the video goes, I figured I’d let the camera crew in so they could film some of my spin class that I teach when the gym can afford my rates...”
Recorded at Black in Bluhm Studios in Denver, CO, and co-produced with Chris Fogal (The Gamits), the album features drummer Paul Rucker (Street Dogs, Drag the River). Quinn and Wahlstrom stretch beyond their punk roots on this project with ambitious songwriting, polished arrangements, and a throwback sound that draws some detectable influences from early progressive rock. The heavy ‘80s disco groove of lead single ‘Travel Light’ is light on the distortion, instead opting for a heady mix of Sprinsteen’s attitude, Elton John’s artistic balladry, and classic pop rock disco grooves echoing ABBA and Earth Wind & Fire.
“The thing that I kept thinking about the whole time was how much it reminded me a lot of a post-first-album The Clash,” says Quinn on the inspiration for the new project, “but then, I also thought to myself, ‘This is also way easier to listen to than Sandinista! ever was.’ We had the advantage of being able to look retrospectively over decades of rock and pop, and we were kind of able to pull from all of that—all the good stuff, and leave all the bad stuff out. You know, one band that kept coming up as we were making the record is Genesis, but Genesis songs are sometimes eight minutes long. We were like, ‘Well, that’s not necessary. We don’t need to do that.’ I feel like there were elements of that, all different examples of that.”
As for the band itself’s genesis, Quinn made his name fronting critically acclaimed New Orleans-based hardcore punk band PEARS, whilst Wahlstrom is a classically trained opera singer and pianist whose touring and recording career is rooted firmly in punk rock, and has included frequent collaborations with Joey Cape (Lagwagon). The duo connected on a tour produced by Cape’s label, One Week Records, which brings artists into a high energy, week-long write-arrange-record process that culminates in a completed album and follow-up touring. The pairing fully leverages the combination of Quinn’s raw edge, Wahlstrom’s finesse, and the lyrical power of dual songwriters.