By Anthony Machcinski
Sometimes in the music industry, keeping it simple is the easiest way towards having success. Larry Brinkman and the Wax Darts are hoping that approach leads to their own success.
“When we started the band, we said, ‘Let’s be a band that if you showed up at a bar, I’d be really psyched to hear,” Brinkman said. “That was the goal from the beginning. We don’t need to change everybody’s life, but let’s just be a really fun and dynamic band.”
The Wax Darts was founded in 2012 with Brinkman and drummer Jahna Rain performing with several bass guitarists before Courtney Thornbird joined the band in 2013.
Brinkman founded the band hoping to return to the music industry following a divorce.
“I just wanted to start a band that sounded like whatever the hell I wanted it to sound like,” Brinkman said.
Brinkman said that his divorce affected the earlier songs written by the band.
“The songwriting from some of those early songs its pretty obvious,” Brinkman said about the divorce. “Some of those songs still are really good.”
With influences tied to country, blues, funk, 70s pop and the early punk scene, Brinkman and the band had the unique challenge of combining all those different styles into one, a marriage not so easily made.
“We started talking about the bands we liked and they were just so weird within themselves that it was impossible to cover them,” Brinkman explained.
To try and rectify that problem, the band followed the same mantra, keep it simple.
“I don’t write stuff that’s four bars (in tempo),” Brinkman said. “So we try to do things different. Sometimes it’s three bars, sometimes it’s seven. We just try to work more with feeling (than structure).”
The approach has worked out for the band and can be heard from the first seconds of any of their songs.
On the song “Different,” the elements of the early punk movement can be heard moving along with a hard, crunching notes played from Brinkman’s guitar.
Adding to the song’s uniqueness is the harmonizing of Brinkman, Rain and Thornbird, a simple quality that the trio has perfected, creating a controlled craziness for the song.
The band’s simplicity has been well received by both fans and by local music outlets.
“It’s been going great,” Brinkman said. “We did a live recording on WFMU (radio) a few months back and it’s been really fun.”
Part of the band’s approach to playing live music has been to just play what they like, as opposed to guessing the crowd’s favorite style.
“We play exactly what we want and not what we think is going to please a crowd,” Brinkman said. “In the long run, that usually pleases a crowd because we’re not trying to please anybody but ourselves.”
“We have a thing we say, ‘If it’s gonna be weird, just make it weird.’ ”
As for the future of the band, Brinkman said that he hopes for the band to continue to play more live shows and to further expand their horizons.
“The biggest question is what can we get out of what we have and how can we move forward,” Brinkman said.
Brinkman hopes that the band will get a chance to travel more as well.
“I love getting out of town,” said Brinkman, a Jersey City native. “We’ve played Brooklyn once. When you’re a local person, I’d love to go out of town and surprise a crowd (with our performance).”
The Wax Darts will play Donegal Saloon in Kearny on Friday, along with The Everymen and Creepoid. The show starts at 9 p.m. and tickets are $5.