Bad Breaks
Gig Seeker Pro

Bad Breaks

San Antonio, Texas, United States | SELF

San Antonio, Texas, United States | SELF
Band Rock Pop

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

This band hasn't logged any past gigs

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

Press


"Chuck Kerr Breaks Bad"

If one musician could be considered the nucleus of indie rock in San Antonio, it’s probably drummer-for-hire Chuck Kerr. His resume reads like a roster of every unique rock act you’ve seen: We Leave at Midnight, Tiago Splitters, Nicolette Good and Black Magic and the Full Expose most recently. But he’s also contributed to Marcus Rubio and the Gospel Choir of Pillows, the Angel Headed Hipsters and may be best known for co-leading a meticulous album covers project with Chris Maddin.* Being as in-demand, on-the-scene and, well, cool paints Kerr as something of a local celebrity (especially when considering his position as Art Director with the San Antonio Current), but to hear his debut LP Bad Breaks, he’s as washed up as the rest of us.

Each of Breaks’ 11 tracks are snapshots of a relationship in melt-down and Kerr (drummer, vocalist, creative force) wouldn’t be able to keep up the trick if he weren’t so damn good at injecting every texture with self-deprecation. Just his voice—jumping for Spoon’s Brit Daniels and but landing on Elvis Costello—makes impolite truths sound like apologies (see “Red Lips,” where he accuses, “You’ve got a lot of nerve/one for every curve”). As Kerr warbles along, his fronting band—consisting here of Alex Wash (keys), Marcus Rubio (electric) and Ryan M. Teter (bass, trombone)—bring Kerr’s testimonials into cheeky, macabre focus. It all coalesces into a springy indie pop whose polish doesn’t necessarily betray its origins. “I'm not going to sing something 25 times when take two was probably the best it would ever get,” Kerr said recently via e-mail. With as much experience in jazz as with any incarnation of rock, it should surprise no one that he has a no-nonsense approach to recording. Kerr cobbled together Breaks on weekends and evenings across seven months with producer Jaime Rader (Morris Orchids).

His “fuck this, roll the tape” approach flies in the face of nearly every one of his local and national contemporaries, but on Breaks it works like a jackhammer. None of Kerr’s personnel are in the same room together, but you wouldn’t know it listening to them marry breakup with soaring groove on harder rockers “Seppuku” and “Get It Right.” Meanwhile, Kerr’s musical approach is often convergent, academic and daftly simple. Opener “Victoria” channels the same beat that opens “Billy Jean” because Kerr thinks one of the best pop songs of all time proves all you really need is a kick and a snare. Similary, “Good for Me” hawks half of Spoon’s catalog with piano lines that sound pounded out with only index fingers. He also built yacht rock slow-burner “The Way Things Are” around the bassline from Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.”

All this scholarship doesn’t come at the expense of emotional heft either. On “Won’t Come Home,” Kerr tells a lover that if she leaves, he’s not chasing her. But the following soft rock passage—with its somber keys and ghostly falsetto vocals—indicate a night spent drinking regret, eating crow and staring at the phone. Also, album center piece “Something True” drives a simple stomp clamp into a spiraling carnival of the absurd. Kerr’s voice and lyrics belong to a revenge ballad, but the dissonant waves of tenor sax (Alex Sutherlin) and cello (Meg Lobasso) reveal he’d rather get horizontal (even for pity’s sake) than even.

Kerr re-wrings heartbreak successfully across this LP’s 53 minutes because he’s willing to cast it in every possible light. He’s frequently sardonic, taking no issue with addressing the silliness of lovers’ quarrels along with their very real pain (often within moments of each other). But Break’s best moment is still a singular one. Closer “Only Distance” climaxes with Kerr and a haunting female chorus chanting “move on,” with the drummer coming as close to losing it on record as he’ll likely get for some time. It’s a Jack White moment for Kerr, keeping that which causes him pain close as a modus operandi. And like that blues-rock icon, Kerr may enjoy a bit of notoriety, but he’s as subject to humanity as the rest of us. - Stomping Grounds Blog by Adam Villela Coronado


"Thems the Breaks: 10 questions with Chuck Kerr (Bad Breaks)"

“With his whole life up until now (he’s 28) being filled with music, particularly drumming and various collaborative work, Chuck has developed a hyper-keen sense of musical movement and song form- both of which are hallmarks of this album. There’s a night-crawling, smoky-room-surveying, almost groove-surfing cockiness to these songs… a sense of busy darkness alive with possibilities, but never chaotic. These elements spring in part from Kerr’s jazz roots, but this is far from a jazz record. Bad Breaks is full of shifts in tempo and genre, organically rhythmic at its core and singularly precise in terms of arrangements and lyrical content. With this debut release, we are treated to a cool and calculated brand of chameleon-like indie-pop.” — James Courtney, Learn to Labor and to Wait - Learn to Labor and to Wait (blog)


"Bad Breaks "Chapter and Verse" single review"

“‘Chapter and Verse‘ features a simple electric-keys riff that the San Anto outfit uses as a vehicle to shred. There’s brutal, honest emotion latent in the lyrics (‘I don’t want to hear the words you carefully rehearsed/ Still you give them to me chapter and verse’) that the band reflects in their visceral approach towards the song’s ending, when all lets loose into one of the heaviest highlights of the album.” - KRTU 91.7FM Indie Overnight


"Bad Breaks - "Bad Breaks" album release show preview"

“Indie-rock that pretty much ignores categories while drawing from pop, jazz, straight-up rock and combinations thereof. Songs including ‘Victoria,’ ‘Won’t Come Home’ and ‘Red Lips’ are clever and catchy and prove Kerr has done a fine job of nurturing his musical baby.” — Jim Beal Jr., "San Antonio Express-News" - San Antonio Express-News


"Bad Breaks - "Bad Breaks" album review"

"Bad Breaks" really captures my attention at the moment of transition into "Seppuku," the album's second (and best) song. It's a jarring transition that reminds me to pay attention no matter how much the opener sounds like a lost Spoon B-side. This record is full of such moments, exhibiting real molten life and an excellent musical intuition teeming beneath a self-imposed rigidity. "Won't Come Home," "Something True," and "Keep My Promises" shine as examples of Chuck Kerr's (Bad Breaks' mastermind and "Current" Art Director) uncanny agility as a musician and potential as a songwriter. At its best, "Bad Breaks" is dangerously sexy grooves, precise playing, and a naively weary narrator caught between glimpses of love and waves of stultifying heat. — James Courtney - San Antonio Current


"Bad Breaks - KRTU Plugged In Session review"

There is no escaping the specter that looms over Bad Breaks, the recently re-invigorated project helmed by drummer/songwriter Chuck Kerr (art director for the Current). Bad Breaks sound a helluvalot like Spoon, from the minimalist arrangements and earwormy hooks to Kerr singing like a bassier Elvis Costello. In this "mission statement" release of a single-take live show (preceding a forthcoming studio release), Kerr injects the songs with a looseness and urgency lacking in other indie pop. On "Won't Come Home," Marcus Rubio's guitar ends the song with a noodly wall of sound as Kerr zealously embellishes the beat. "Get it Right" is a soulful slapper that finds keyboardist Alex Wash fingering wrong notes that sound oh-so right. The epic hokey ballad, "Let Me Tell You Something True," features a final minute of carnivalesque rock noise circling a methodical stomp-clap. Kerr channels straight-ahead rock 'n' roll on "Chapter and Verse" by assaulting the track with downbeats. He rises above the bands that inspire him by building on what they've already done; his willingness to be more aggressive and loose-limbed than his contemporaries makes this an engaging, excellent debut.

— Adam Villela Coronado - San Antonio Current


Discography

Bad Breaks - Bad Breaks (2012 full-length LP):
http://badbreaks.bandcamp.com/album/bad-breaks

Bad Breaks - "The Boy in the Bubble" (Paul Simon cover, 2011): http://badbreaks.bandcamp.com/track/the-boy-in-the-bubble

Photos

Bio

Bad Breaks is the solo project of drummer/graphic designer Chuck Kerr, a fixture on the San Antonio music scene.

Kerr took up the drums at the age of 3, following in his dad Charlie’s footsteps. A music lover from an early age, Kerr grew up studying jazz and also listening to his favorite pop, rock, and indie records — all of which have a direct influence on Bad Breaks’ eclectic sound. Now 28, Kerr contributes to some of SA’s top local bands: the Tiago Splitters, Nicolette Good, and more. He has also collaborated with Gordon Raphael (producer of The Strokes and Regina Spektor), Dante Schwebel (Hacienda), and Ricky Berger. Kerr is endorsed by C&C Custom Drums, joining a roster of drummers from bands such as Spoon, Arcade Fire, Grizzly Bear, The National, Beach House, Beck, Modest Mouse, and others.

As an in-demand drummer, Kerr has racked up an impressive number of credits and collaborators in his time on the scene, but Bad Breaks is the first project that is entirely Kerr’s “baby.” Kerr writes and arranges all Bad Breaks material on piano, creating complete demos that he then brings to the band.

Kerr’s collaborators in Bad Breaks are also among San Antonio’s top talent, often pulling double duty in some of the city’s best bands: Alex Wash on keys (Black Magic and the Full Exposé), Ryan Teter on bass and trombone (Mission Complete!), and Marcus Rubio on guitar (Cartographers).

What critics are saying about Bad Breaks:

“At its best, Bad Breaks is dangerously sexy grooves, precise playing, and a naively weary narrator caught between glimpses of love and waves of stultifying heat.” — James Courtney, San Antonio Current

“Indie-rock that pretty much ignores categories while drawing from pop, jazz, straight-up rock and combinations thereof. Songs including ‘Victoria,’ ‘Won’t Come Home’ and ‘Red Lips’ are clever and catchy and prove Kerr has done a fine job of nurturing his musical baby.” — Jim Beal Jr., San Antonio Express-News

“‘Chapter and Verse‘ features a simple electric-keys riff that the San Anto outfit uses as a vehicle to shred. There’s brutal, honest emotion latent in the lyrics ... that the band reflects in their visceral approach towards the song’s ending, when all lets loose into one of the heaviest highlights of the album.” — KRTU 91.7 FM Indie Overnight Blog

“With his whole life up until now (he’s 28) being filled with music, particularly drumming and various collaborative work, Chuck has developed a hyper-keen sense of musical movement and song form- both of which are hallmarks of this album. There’s a night-crawling, smoky-room-surveying, almost groove-surfing cockiness to these songs … a sense of busy darkness alive with possibilities, but never chaotic. These elements spring in part from Kerr’s jazz roots, but this is far from a jazz record. Bad Breaks is full of shifts in tempo and genre, organically rhythmic at its core and singularly precise in terms of arrangements and lyrical content. With this debut release, we are treated to a cool and calculated brand of chameleon-like indie-pop.” — James Courtney, Learn to Labor and to Wait

[Kerr is] a great vocalist ... B.B. has a great little groove going on." — Indie Texas