The Minimum Requirements are a unique, four-piece, independent rock band based in northeast Ohio who play original, infectious pop melodies with a supremely entertaining, high-energy live stage presence. They are often described as “geek rock,” but their songs are accessible to all. Amid the standard pop themes of love and loss, you will also find songs about lemonade stands, secret agents, hairstyles, evil penguins, schoolyard bullies, sci-fi movies, monkeys, ghosts and cheerleaders. While these tunes run the emotional gamut, even the saddest song is always delivered with a wink and a smile.
Danny O’Brien is the lead singer, primary songwriter and an extremely versatile instrumentalist. He grew up listening to the lyrics of James Taylor, the Beatles and Paul Simon, cultivating a love of wordplay and lyrical substance. Since being inspired by his favorite band, They Might Be Giants, to take up the accordion in addition to the guitar, Danny’s forays into other genres of music such as jazz, bluegrass, blues and Irish folk have had a multi-dimensional influence on TMR’s original compositions. According to Rock and Roll Hall-of-Famer Ron Ellington Shy (nephew of Sir Duke himself), Danny “can play his ass off.”
Bassist Justus Brake is the musical scholar of the band who claims that every note he lays down has a rationale, a purpose and a life story. His classical training provides the foundation for his bass parts and makes him equally comfortable in any key signature, always ready to improvise. Justus has played in a symphony orchestra at Carnegie Hall, as well as in chamber groups, musicals, big bands, jazz bands, punk bands, classic rock bands and church bands. His primary rock influences are Elvis Costello and Sublime. Onstage with TMR, Justus is a certified wise guy who provides much of the show’s visual and spoken entertainment—he knows that if he’s not having fun, the audience isn’t having fun, so he devotes all his energy to making each show an experience to remember.
Together, Justus and drummer Eric Wahl make up TMR’s rhythm section. Eric is quite secure in his ability to bust out drumming just as flashy and complex as that of his hero, Carter Beauford of Dave Matthews Band, but he prefers instead to focus on staying tight with Justus and keeping a rock-solid foundation for the music. Nonetheless, when he really gets going, look out. He is an incredibly skilled drummer who will blow you away—especially on the temple blocks. Both his discipline and his chops come from his background playing jazz. Eric is also The Minimum Requirements’ “man of a thousand voices”--when you hear the voice of Christopher Walken or Cartman from South Park coming over the PA at a TMR show, that’s Eric. In his singing, Eric is comfortable playing a supporting role—he cites the influence of the Beach Boys and Sister Hazel in crafting his backup vocals.
Laura Simna brings a much-needed measure of dignity, professionalism and completeness to The Minimum Requirements as the band's lead violinist. She joined TMR in July 2007 after guesting on numerous live show and collaborating with the band on the recording of Watch This. Classically trained, Laura has played with numerous orchestras, performing at Severance Hall and also in concert halls across Europe.
Danny O'Brien - acoustic and electric guitars, accordion, mandolin, banjo, keyboards, fiddle
Justus Brake - electric bass, acoustic bass
Eric Wahl - Drums, percussion, acoustic guitar
Laura Simna - electric violin, acoustic violin
"This End Up" (independent LP) - 1999
"Doghouse EP" (independent EP) - 2000
"Missing Pieces" (independent LP) - 2002
"Manageable Chunks, Vol. I" (limited release independent LP) - 2005
"Watch This" CD/DVD (independent LP)
Streaming mp3s at http://www.myspace.com/theminimumrequirements
Downloadable mp3s at http://www.tmrmusic.com/music
Best Songs in Life are Free
[+ Show ]
The Minimum Requirements, a three-piece rock band based in Cleveland, are giving a free performance... The Minimum Requirements, a three-piece rock band based in Cleveland, are giving a free performance in North Olmsted City Park on Saturday afternoon at 4:30 p.m.
Frontman Danny O'Brien, drummer Eric Wahl and bassist Justus Brake, all school friends, began writing and playing music in the late 1990s. Since then they have performed at a number of colleges and clubs, giving performances of the original music, influenced by They Might Be Giants, The Beatles, Barenaked Ladies and even (in the opinions of fans) "Schoolhouse Rock." In 2002 they released their own debut CD "Missing Pieces," available from their Web site www.tmrmusic.com.
That's where you can also link (via the forums section) to Justus Brake's `side project,' a mythical country called the Free Land of Geek Rock, that relies on fan polls for deciding economic and social issues; it's part of an online world-simulation game at www.nationstates.com, a site created in tribute to the cult science-fiction/satire novel "Jennifer Government."
North Olmsted Park in August holds a special place for the Minimum Requirements; it's where the group won a high school battle-of-the-bands contest this time in 1999, on only their third time together. This is an all-ages show, and you can find the park at the intersection of MacKenzie Road and Lorain Avenue.
Sample set list:
Psycho Killer (Talking Heads cover)
McDonald's Girl (Dean Friedman cover)
Two Fighters Against a Star Destroyer
She Just Doesn't Want It
Take On Me (A-Ha cover)
Ice Cream Queen
Ten Little Monkeys
Working Title Your Country Song
Come On Over (Christina Aguilera cover)
Make You Smile
You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet (BTO cover)
The above set list is roughly two hours. We can do up to three if necessary.
"Take On Me" by A-Ha (we do this 80s hit with the synth parts played on accordion--a huge crowd-pleaser)
"You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet" by BTO (we enthusiastically feature the cowbell on this song)
"Come On Over" by Christina Aguilera (geek rock boys do bubblegum pop--never a dull moment)
"Psycho Killer" by Talking Heads (David Byrne is one of our heroes)
"Hey Ya" by Outkast (we do a bluegrass version of this on the banjo)
"The Devil Went Down to Georgia" by The Charlie Daniels Band (crazy fiddle music at its finest)