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"Ludo Prepares to Rock"

by Jake Leonard, ArtsEtc.
October 16, 2003

I can't know for sure, but I'm close to positive that I could tell you whether you will or will not like Ludo without even meeting you. If you have a sense of humor, I'm fairly confident you will enjoy the rollicking lyrics lead singer Andrew Volpe belts out in songs with titles like "Girls On Trampolines." On the other hand, if you're one of the humorless fiends I see wandering in and out of the Law Library sporting the gravest expression you can muster, you might find the band a bit too unruly for your taste.

If you had a childhood, there's a good chance that "Ode to Kevin Arnold" will remind you of all of your fondest "Wonder Years" memories. On the other hand, if you're one of those people who was born at age 40, thought "The Wonder Years" was cheesy 10 years before any of the rest of us realized it and hated movies like "Labyrinth" (the David Bowie classic from which the band's name was taken), you may find the band a bit too immature for your taste.

If you think that a good time is a good time, I'm pretty sure that you'll have exactly that if you come see the St. Louis-born quintet rock Union South this Saturday night. On the other hand, if you're one of those people who think that drunkenness is a "social construction," that class should never, ever meet outside, that Weezer's blue album could never be as worthwhile as Beethoven's Fifth Symphony and that "Girls on Trampolines" isn't the best song title you've ever heard of, don't even bother showing up.

Ludo is simply a breath of Alpine Valley fresh air in a Nuevo-punk rock scene that often seems far too focused on being cool and punkish and not focused nearly enough on writing good music. Technically, the band defines itself as a "pop-punk" band, but Volpe, lead guitarist Tim Ferrell, keyboardist Tim Convy, bassist Marshall Fanciullo and drummer Matt Palermo collectively manage to make pop songs rock.

Touring for the past year, Ludo has made a name for itself everywhere from Midwestern college towns to the Big Apple (where it recently played with The Big Wu) based on Volpe's clever lyrical style and storytelling ability. The band tells stories about everything from love lost to depression to high-school parties and manages to bring Eddie Murphy-sized grins to its appreciative audience in the process.

Ludo's self-titled debut album sports 12 tracks. The album is available online at the band's website, or you can get it at the show this Saturday. It's an admirably solid first effort, with no noticeable filler tracks and at least five songs that will have you humming to yourself for weeks.

The band's sound is something of a mixture. In a style similar to Ben Folds or Weezer's Rivers Cuomo, Volpe jam-packs his lyrics into verses. The guitar sound, on the other hand, has more similarity to a power-punk band like Blink 182. The band then mixes in a bit of Beach Boy-fashion '50s-pop appreciation and a sense of humor that can only be described as one-of-a-kind. The combination is irresistible and can make you actually bang your head, tap your foot and laugh hysterically all at the same time.

Ludo often will get grouped in with so many pop-punk contemporaries because of the band's ability and desire to blow audiences away with guitars. But such an impression is misleading.

"If you're in a rock band with clever lyrics that make people laugh, people want to throw you in with Blink 182 or Good Charlotte," Ferrell explained. "What we do is rock. There's nothing really punk about it."

The band definitely does have much more to offer through Volpe's lyric-writing talent than other current bands in its genre. In the song "Roxy," Volpe tells the tale of a European adventure involving a French girl he knows only by the name on her shirt. "Oh Roxy, don't you love me? / Is it because I'm American?" he sings.

On "Hum Along," probably the album's strongest track, Volpe tells of his genuine love for a girl he's never talked to. He goes on to make up scenarios from which he would rescue her. "Maybe you'd be kidnapped by pirates / who would take you to their hideout / as pirates often do."

Many songs, like the Beach Boys-esque "Summertime" and the '50s-influenced "Laundry Girl" are in fact drenched in oldies with their three-part harmonies and delicate phrasings. But Tim Ferrell's driving guitar, along with a splash of synthesizer, gives the songs an updated, unique sound. You wouldn't think that heavy-metal guitars and '50s-influenced pop songs could appear on the same record, much less the same song, but throughout the album it's the seamless marriage of these two characteristics that sets Ludo apart from its peers.

The metal/oldies relationship is most evident on "Sara's Song," which starts out sounding like an Everly Brothers ballad and ends in typical rock desperation with the full band begging poor "Sara" to stay.

The album itself is wonderful, but see - The University of Wisconsin-Madison Badger Herald

"Live Review: Student Center Tally: Ludo"

Cole McGrath
Ball State University Daily News
January 22, 2004

Good rock music does not seem like it would be a hard thing to create. Wrap up a solid beat with some chords and catchy lyrics, and there it is. Yet countless "rock" bands have been able to swing and miss at this pitch for years.

That is what made the University Programming Board's concert this past Thursday all the more enjoyable: The three bands that performed that night, Saving Face, The Dog & Everything and Ludo, all got rock right while still infusing their music with their own unique touches to make it stand out.

First up on the evening was Saving Face from Madison, Wis. This power pop three-piece started the show off right and was able to move a crowd of about 90 people to its feet by mid-set. Musically, Saving Face was fairly simplistic. Lyrically, the band wasn't really anything that special, although there were some very nice overlapping harmonies throughout. Still, the energy this two-boy-one-girl trio displayed was electric and got heads nodding.

In short, Saving Face slid nicely into the new-millennium, black t-shirt, chain wallet version of "punk."

The Dog & Everything out of Chicago, Ill. took the cramped Tally stage next. The music was sort of a mix of Goldfinger, Sugarcult and Something Corporate (minus the piano and heavier on the guitar). Take the best qualities of those three bands, put them in a blender and the rocking milkshake that comes out is The Dog & Everything. The band ended its set with a cover of The Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star" that in quality was slightly better than The Buggles' version but still short of the Presidents of the United States' cover.

The headliner of the show was St. Louis's Ludo, which visited Ball State back in November, opening for Blessid Union of Souls. By mixing quirky lyrics with impressive musicianship, Ludo was able to deliver the best performance of the night and show why they are becoming increasingly popular.

Ludo's music spanned across multiple genres seemingly all at once. There were obvious traces of punk, ska and doo-wop during the set. By the time the band covered Faith No More's "Epic" almost flawlessly, it was clear that Ludo has an extensive catalog of influences to pull from to create its unique sound.

The group's ability to perform to a high level while still not taking itself too seriously was a delight to see and ended a very good show on an excellent note.

In the end, the show turned out to be exactly what it was promoted as: A rock show.
- Ball State University Daily News

"Momentum lands Ludo on the Landing, and New York is calling"

by Kevin C. Johnson
Pop Music Critic
July 1, 2004

If you haven't heard of Ludo yet, give it time. The St. Louis rock band is turning up just about everywhere.

This weekend, Ludo is scheduled to perform at Bud Light Rockin' on the Landing in a mainstage lineup that also features Alex Chilton and Five for Fighting.

The band is also a finalist in Fuse TV's Just Add Video Contest, and is being flown to New York to appear on the cable channel's "Daily Download" program. Ludo will compete with other finalists July 13 for a tantalizing prize: a $25,000 budget to make a video.

As if that weren't enough, Ludo will perform July 21 at UMB Bank Pavilion as part of the Vans Warped tour. Last week, the band celebrated its 100th concert with a show in St. Joseph, Mo. And earlier this year, Ludo won a contest sponsored by Alternative Press magazine that earned the band a performance slot at the South By Southwest Music Conference in Austin, Tex.

All this from a band that's been together only about a year.

"It's weird," says Tim Convy, who plays Moog synthesizer for Ludo. "Things have been happening. It's momentum - one thing happens, then this and that happens, and we're able to do more. More opportunities come along. A lot of people believe in us."

That comes as the result of the band putting itself in peoples' faces and hitting the road constantly.

Other members of Ludo are Andrew Volpe (vocals), Tim Ferrell (guitar), Marshall Fanciullo (bass) and Matt Palermo (drums). The band got its name from a character in the 1986 fantasy film, "Labyrinth."

It was "this big furry monster thing with horns," Convy says. "It looked like a big scary beast - but was nice and dumb, basically."

Ludo lost no time in releasing an admirable, self-titled debut disc. One of the songs, "Hum Along," pretty much sums up what the band is all about.

"It's pop-rock," says Convy, who compares the band to Weezer. "We write pop songs that tell stories."

Although Ludo's disc is doing well, it hasn't received as much radio play as the band would like. Ludo has, however, been featured on some St. Louis rock stations, including KPNT-FM (105.7 the Point) and WVRV-FM (101.1 the River).

Ludo's ultimate goal is to be heard by as many people as possible. But not at any cost.

"It's not about money and being famous," says Convy. "Some day, the best way to do that may be on a major label. But the industry is so weird.

"Everything is so crazy. Being at South By Southwest and on the road, we meet bands who tell us some real horror stories - that their albums never came out, or they had to cut their hair. So we're not shopping ourselves right now. There are many things we want to do on our own."
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"Review - Ludo"

CD Review by D.J. Kirkbride
vol 6 - issue 12 (August 2004) :: entertainment

Normally I hate "spoken word" in rock songs, but Ludo's song "Good Will Hunting By Myself" is an exception. It's amusingly self-deluding as a guy tries to convince himself he's better off after his girlfriend dumps him. The spoken word in the middle gets more and more frenetic until he's talking trash like "Yes your ass did look fat in those jeans, your mom's a MILF, and I plan to get on your little sister just as soon as I call her back!" It might read misogynistic, but doesn't come across that way in the song. It's a funny-but-hurt guy venting about things he'd never actually do.

All the tracks on Ludo's self-titled debut LP are this sharp and funny. It's also brimming with humorous pop-culture references for those of us who grew up in the '80s, like The Wonder Years ("Ode to Kevin Arnold") or Elliot getting drunk by E.T. drinking ("Saturday Night Thunderbolt"). Even the band's name comes from Labryinth! ("Ludo" was a big scary Muppet thing in that trippy '80s kiddie flick. No, not David Bowie's cod piece. That was named "Debbie St. Sinclair".)

The references are quick and funny but serve as description and storytelling devices, not just vapid, pointless attempts at sounding "cool" to the early-to-mid-20s set. Front-man Andrew Volpe's songwriting is wittily effective and accompanied by some terrific pop/punk music (think Blink 182 or American Hi-Fi with a higher IQ). On this, their debut LP, Ludo's crafted an appealing collection of ditties that are fun, without insulting your intelligence.
- Tastes Like Chicken -

"Review: Ludo - Broken Bride"

Artist: Ludo
Album: Broken Bride
Label: Redbird Records
Release Date: 09/27/2005

If you could take influences from every great film you’ve ever seen and every great song you’ve ever heard and put it on one album, what would it sound like?

It would undoubtedly be epic in sound, ranging from upbeat punk rock to a haunting piano ballad, maintaining an almost operatic singularity… and it would have to tell a story. A love story, packed with action and adventure and even a little sci-fi. It would be a suspenseful, scary and wicked ride telling the tale of the lengths someone would go to for true love. And to stay in keeping with what we historically know of great works, such an album would come from somewhere you least expect it.

Like, perhaps, a little band from St. Louis called Ludo. A pop/punk outfit best known for danceable hits about Girls on Trampolines and characters from The Wonder Years. Although Ludo are recognized as one of the few bands capable of telling a story from beginning to end in a 4 minute mini-musical, their latest effort Broken Bride is more than just a little surprising. “When our last record came out, those songs were already 5 years old for us, 7 years old now. We’ve continued writing this whole time, and the song Broken Bride became a fan favorite at live shows. It tells the story of a man’s wife dying, it destroying his life and leaving him feeling isolated, and him doing everything in his power to get her back,” says Tim Convy, keyboardist for Ludo. “We couldn’t just leave it there. I think we were all curious about what happens to this guy next, so we wanted to tell the rest of the story.”

For those familiar with Ludo, it is difficult to initially take the album seriously. Being used to funny and sarcastic pop rock that instantly brings a smile to your face, allowing yourself to feel the intensity of an apocalyptic battle or get choked up by an intentionally imperfect piano ballad is at first quite tricky. Once you have suspended everything you know about Ludo, and everything you know about what is or isn’t a rock opera, you’ll find yourself enveloped in the tale, anxiously waiting to find out what happens next. “We were nervous that people wouldn’t be able to follow the story,” Tim says, “but it seems so far that everyone who has heard it really got it.”

Broken Bride is in 4 parts, chronicling one man’s adventure through time, desperately trying to get back to the morning his wife died. A true pop/punk/rock opera, the story is told beautifully both sonically and lyrically, tapping into a wide range of influences and emotions, depending on the characters situation. Broken Bride is a well executed inadvertent concept album that translates surprisingly well into a live setting, as seen in the ‘enhanced’ portion of the CD. If it weren’t for the albums length, barely hitting 30 minutes, Broken Bride would fit in better with your DVDs than your CDs as it tells a fascinating and heartwarming story more successfully than most major films.

Hear two songs from Broken Bride here

Ludo on -


The ONION, Vol 41, Issue 33
18-24 August 2005

Ludo w/ Quietdrive & Escape From Earth: The Annex, 10 p.m., 18+

A group of ambitious youngsters from St. Louis, Ludo has tirelessly toured the country promotoing themselves to anyone that will listen. The hard work is paying off: its self-titled album on San Francisco indie label 33rd Street Records has been receiving significant airplay on both
independent and commercial radio, and word of the band's earnest, melodic pop-punk with Moog accents precedes its tours. Intelligent humor is what really puts Ludo out in front of the pack, though, as boneheaded party-drunks, laundry, and various relationship struggles are treated with clever, idiosyncratic turns-of-phrase.
- The Onion

"Ludo: Broken Bride"

Snarky St. Louis post-Weezer popsters Ludo make themselves over—and learn to take themselves just seriously enough—with their adventurous new EP, Broken Bride. Gone are the junior high giggle lyrics (“wookie-boner,” indeed) and overbearing pop-culture references (“Ode to Kevin Arnold” and “Good Will Hunting by Myself”) that stunted their otherwise promising self-titled 2003 debut. In their place is a grand, romantic, just-over-the-top-enough rock opera—with nary a wink in sight—about a man’s misadventures with a time machine he created in order to go back and save his wife from an untimely death.

I know what you’re thinking. Time machine? Wait until you see the track listing on the album sleeve, where four of the five tracks are referred to as “Part I,” “Part II,” etc. But it’s when you notice that “Parts” II, III, and IV are actually track numbers three, four, and five that you might start smelling a rat—wondering if the old Ludo is back, and if this is actually deadpan tongue-in-cheek satire.

Rest assured, though, that while the band is obviously having fun here—the thoughtful, cleverly executed arrangements throughout are positively jubilant—the sweet, heartfelt sentiment that frames the story is earnestly played and genuinely moving, a tremendous feat considering all the reptilian monster battles and zombie marches that come in between.

From the explosive first dark chords of opener “Part I: Broken Bride” (the “Part”s get extended titles in the lyric sheet), you know this is different Ludo. Singer/songwriter Andrew Volpe’s usual commanding-yet-insecure-rock-boy voice is a whole new instrument on Bride, covering a multitude of characters and moods—veering from “Part I”’s panicked, breathless staccato verse and the soaring pop chorus of “I crashed before the birth of Christ/Pterodactyls swarming” to his slightly hammy, nearly Frank-N-Furter–esque turn in “Save Our City”’s stomping, apocalyptic verses. Drummer Matt Palermo must have found inspiration in his (or maybe his older bro’s) ’80s metal and ’70s prog-rock records, delivering punishing double kick drum and Neil Peart–worthy wood blocks in equal measure. And Tim Convy’s Moog—a ’70s prog staple—has never sounded so in place on a Ludo song as it does here.

Bride is a snapshot of a band in transition—willing to risk everything to follow their muse, commercial expectations be damned. This is no more evident than on the album’s creative apex, “Part III: The Lamb and the Dragon,” a multi-part, eight-minute medley mixing blasts of pure old-school screaming heavy metal with interludes of softly driving gunslinger country (with accompanying whistle solo). This jarring dichotomy of sound—along with a dozen more intricately arranged elements—comes together masterfully to create a fun and shockingly diverse, yet still coherent, whole.

The real beating heart of the record, and the reason why you buy into a story as sci-fantastic as this, is how gracefully the story wraps up in the delicate, piano-and-voice-only “Part IV: Morning in May.” Finally back on that May morning that had once taken his lover’s life in an auto accident, the main character finds himself wrapping her into his arms again, and the stunned wonder in Volpe’s delivery is heartbreaking. What follows is what gets you, though. I won’t give away the poignant surprise ending here, but what comes just after their reunion is a real shocker—sad, unabashedly romantic, and devastating. | Brian McClelland
- Playback STL

"Critic's Pics - Ludo"

Friday, September 30; Mississippi Nights (914 North First Street)
By Annie Zaleski

Published: Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Anyone who accuses St. Louis bands of having no ambition hasn't heard Ludo. This summer alone the quintet's traveled to Cleveland to play shows hyping a new cell-phone company, opened for Goldfinger at SOKA Fest and recorded a new album, Broken Bride. In fact, Bride contains all the trappings befitting its rock-opera tag: a dramatic story arc involving death, zombies, dragons and rebirth, all wrapped up in music ranging from Ludo's trademark Weezer-esque crunch to Star Wars-epic strings and even some moody synth-prog shuffle and medieval monk chants thrown in for good measure.

Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets are $8 to $10; call 314-421-3853 for more information.

- Riverfront Times

"Pick of the Week for 10-04-05"

Pick of the Week for 10-04-05
Ludo - Broken Bride

In 1968 Pretty Things released S.F. Sorrow, the first ever album-length
rock opera and a genre was born and in the years following, namely the late 60’s and mid 70’s, it was artists like The Who, Pink Floyd, and
Meatloaf made it popular. Minus some anomalies from The Who member Peter Townshend, and a follow up album by Meatloaf, it appeared that the life of
the rock opera was doomed to burn out in obscurity.

But in the mid-1990s controversial rock icon Marilyn Manson revived the genre with Antichrist Superstar, Mechanical Animals, and Holy Wood but there was no revival of the actual term “rock opera” until 2004 when Green Day released their massively successful “American Idiot.” Soon after, bands like My Chemical Romance and Fiery Furnaces helped flesh out the
full-blown renewal. Now, in October 2005, the St. Louis experimental punk rock band Ludo has added to the list with the release of Broken Bride.

The band’s second major release tells the story of a man simply called the Traveler who mourns the death of his wife after a tragic car accident in 1989. He is then determined to build a time machine to return to the day of the crash to save his “broken bride.” During his attempt to return to save his wife, he is sent everywhere from too far back to too far forward and in to the Apocalypse. The Traveler then is forced to make a decision
between returning to save his lost wife or helping save all of humanity.

People who have not had any experience with Ludo’s work will most likely find the story laughable, but for a band whose popular songs discuss things like a boyfriend who is forced to watch the movie “Goodwill Hunting” by himself, a man who falls hard for a woman he meets across the
room of an out of control party, or a werewolf that is suddenly
heartbroken, it’s actually a step up for the group. One can not help but
love the band’s unique sound which is unlike anything out there today. It is Ludo’s pop-punk style that doesn’t take itself seriously that helped attract interest in the absence of bands like Blink 182 or Reel Big Fish, but as all bands mature, so does their music, and with Broken Bride, Ludo takes a step in the right direction with tracks like “Part I: Broken
Bride” and “Save Our City,” but it is the entire opus which clocks in just
under thirty minutes which is what makes this release truly interesting.

Those who pick up the album will be treated to not only the band’s rock opera, but an enhanced portion of the CD which has a live performance of the first track and behind the scenes footage of the band writing, practicing, and producing Broken Bride. The album is hard to find right now though, and actually has several different release dates across the country, so for anyone who wants to pick up the album, they are recommended to purchase the record from the band’s website:

If there are still people not sure about purchasing the CD, the truth is that not everyone is going to be a fan of Ludo, but there is such an
unquestionably strong fan base in the Omaha area to indicate that no
matter how obscure the band may seem, their music is just as good and addictive as it is weird. So keep your mind and wallets open long enough to take an amazing journey with one of the most entertaining bands you
have never heard of.

Artist: Ludo
Album: Broken Bride

Label: Red Bird Records
Key Tracks: Part I: Broken Bride, Save Our City, Part III: The Lamb and
the Dragon

Release Date: September 27, 2005

Copyright © by Maverick Radio All Right Reserved.
- Maverick Radio (

" - Broken Bride Review"

Ludo – Broken Bride EP
Redbird Records

{SCORE: 8.0/10}

Part I: Broken Bride
Save Our City
Part II: Tonight’s the Night
Part III: The Lamb and The Dragon
Part IV: Morning in May

I’m sure that the vast majority of people reading this review would be thrilled to never again hear the term “rock opera.” Swirling in the midst of Coheeds, American Idiots, and Max Bemises(?), the rock opera concept has become sweepingly popular in today’s alternative music scene, and why not? For any given artist who’s talented in the crafting of musical spectacle but lacks an immediate source of inspiration in their nuclear environment, the ability to wrap their art around a storyline or idea can be that much needed spark, that cue that triggers the wrath of creativity. The past year or so has seen an explosion in bands utilizing this very theory, almost to the point where non-concept albums seem to fall to the role of minority! However, the choice to incorporate an imaginative side into the genre of rock and roll is truly a prototypical double-edged sword. Now more than ever, in a time where these types of records are becoming commonplace, a band needs to have a true focus and sense of direction, as well as parallel musical talent to back up any such operatic venture. Enter: Ludo.

Generally speaking, concept albums are usually saved for full length ventures. After all, you need all that space and track time to appropriately tell a story, right? Well Ludo say no. Their conceptual baby, Broken Bride, is a bold little EP, attempting to communicate a tale that has, in other incarnations, been the basis of blockbuster films and infamous novels (H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, which was also a film, and I don’t fully recall but I’m sure somewhere in Back to the Future they were saving someone’s life). The story isn’t all that original, a man loses his love to a fatal accident and then attempts the feat of time travel to save her life, and that shit just never works out (even Napoleon Dynamite almost forgot to put in the crystals). Let us not be deterred by the lack of an original plotline though, as I’m sure Claudio Sanchez (in all respect and admiration) borrowed at least a third of his ideas from Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. The important thing to realize is that the story is undeniably enchanting and surefire in the way of adventure and romance.

So what about the music? This is where Ludo redeem themselves from any shortcomings one might find in their animated approach. The songwriting on this disc is excellent, in terms of rock and roll it’s varied, impactful, and energy infused. In terms of operas/musicals (nothing to hide, I’m a huge Broadway fan) Ludo actually included elements to more formally imitate the interconnectivity of a musical, whereas for example in Say Anything …Is a Real Boy the songs were not linked musically/instrumentally, but simply followed the story’s lineage. The boys of Ludo established unifying melody line (see 5:33 in Save Our City, 5:26 in Morning in May, 7:23 in The Lamb and The Dragon, etc.), and utilized the ever powerful refrain, which comes off even more fulfilling in rock operas such as this (see 4:38 in The Lamb and The Dragon, refraining track 1, Broken Bride). If you’re willing to trust me and go along with this whole thing, I promise it will be a super amusing ride.

“Part I: Broken Bride” possesses this overwhelming frenzied mood as “The Traveler,” recalls his mission and accidentally soars into the Jurassic period. These are the cheesiest lyrics of the year (even What to Do When You are Dead maintained greater seriousness) but I’m all for it. Think of Broken Bride as The Labyrinth starring David Bowie, yeah… it’s ridiculous, but just enjoy the cinematic fantasy ride. It is clear that Ludo are precise storytellers. If the imagery and mood of this first track and the remainder of their pop-rock soundscapes don’t paint a picture in your mind, you probably had a rough childhood. “Save Our City,” is at once groovy, immense, and passionate, as it seems a village is praying for savior as they face imminent doom. Andrew Volpe’s vocals are something of a spectacle. As the songs weave on he brings to life several different characters and in doing so portrays almost every angle of the rock and roll vocalist. Andrew is all over the place, and invaluable to the band. “Part II: Tonight’s the Night,” is that straight forward pop single that seems to pop up on every concept disc. What’s interesting is that the song is still a highlight of the album; still as colorful, melodramatic, and pleasing to the ears as the rest. And then, just when you think Ludo has proven their worth in multi-faceted songwriting, you get the epic (there I said it). Shakespeare himself loved a rapturous 4th act climax (it’s technically part III, but it’s the fourth song), and old Bill would have been proud of “Part III: The Lamb and the Dragon.” This beast is wonderful. What h -


Broken Bride EP - 2005
Ludo (Self-titled) - LP - 2003
Ludo - Love/Hate EP - 2003
AMP 6Pack - Volume 16 (AMP Energy Drink Compilation) - 2004
State of New Music - Discover New Music Vol. 1 (UK Compilation) - 2004
Suckapunch Records' "No Coast" Warped Tour sampler - 2004



"Our goal?" Andrew Volpe, Ludo's front-man, pauses and reflects in a very rare moment of silence. "To entertain people without making them dumber!"

Perhaps it's Volpe's way with words along with the band's commitment to achieving that goal that has made Ludo so successful in the short time they've been together. The band put out their self-titled album at the end of August 2003, having never played a show. Eleven songs were chosen for the record, ranging in theme from unrequited love to social isolation to high school mythology. All are united by clever, engaging, often hilarious lyrics and Volpe’s unique storytelling ability. Ludo immediately hit the road, playing coffee houses, open-mics, college campuses, and anywhere else people would listen. The album struck a chord with people and touring continued. Ludo brought their heavy-humored, high-energy rock show from New York to LA, selling albums at every stop. Before too long, Ludo was headlining clubs and colleges throughout the Midwest and Texas, playing to crowds that were decked out in Ludo cherries and screaming every word. "We didn't even realize how lucky we were until we started touring with other bands who couldn't believe how intense and devoted our fans were," says drummer Matt Palermo. "Everyone was saying 'cult following' and we didn't get it."

Things only got better as word about the band spread nationally. College radio and several regional commercial stations were responding to the album. Ludo was receiving national exposure through websites like Myspace and Purevolume and even the cable music network Fuse. The band appeared three times on "Daily Download" and their video for Hum Along was featured several times on Fuse programs - a first for an independent artist. "All of a sudden people were showing up in cities we'd never played," says bassist, Marshall Fanciullo. "We got recognized in a Baskin-Robbins in California our first time there. It was crazy."

After a year and a half, over 200 shows, and 3000 copies sold, it was time for a new record. But neither Ludo fans, nor the band members themselves could predict what came next. "We were writing a lot and one song stuck out to us the most. We started playing it live, and the fans really reacted," says Volpe. That song was Broken Bride. It's the story of a man whose wife dies in a car accident and all that he goes through to bring her back. He invents a time machine, which through a malfunction sends him back to the Jurassic period where he gets trapped in a cave surrounded by menacing dinosaurs. "People wanted to know what was next; they wanted to know what happened to the guy and so did we." The band put everything else aside and spent the summer of 2005 writing and recording what became the Broken Bride EP. "We let the story we were telling dictate everything - the songs, the music, the instrumentation." When it was said and done Ludo had created a rock opera - a love story that spanned from the beginning of time to the apocalypse. While Broken Bride was quite a departure from the previous Ludo release (with longer tracks, heavy-metal breakdowns and a heartfelt piano ballad), it still encompassed standard Ludo themes like adventure, fun, and quirkiness. Ludo fans welcomed the release with open arms, and Broken Bride helped expand the fan base even more. Music critics embraced the record as “a rock and roll adventure for the ages" and “a competitor for best EP of the year."

Ludo, which consists of Andrew Volpe (vocals/guitar), Tim Ferrell (guitar/vocals), Tim Convy (Moog/vocals), Marshall Fanciullo (bass), and Matt Palermo (drums/vocals) is based out of St. Louis, MO - or as they call it, "The Birthplace of Rock n' Roll" (Ludo is notorious for their loyalty to all things Chuck Berry, with whom they recently had the pleasure of sharing the stage). The band's success has not been without assistance. They boast one of the most ambitious and aggressive street teams on the independent music scene. The "Ludo Ninjas," a unit over 400-strong, span all across the country. Whether it's grassroots promotion, online activity, radio campaigns or holding program directors hostage, the Ludo ninjas are as much a part of Ludo as the cherries that hang from the "D" in the band's logo. As any St. Louis concert-goer will tell you, rarely can one leave a show without experiencing a "ninja attack."

Ludo shows no signs of relenting in their attack either. The touring continues and with it, songs for a new record. Convy remarks, "We made a record that makes people laugh and another record that makes people cry; with the new songs we want to do both... and everything in between!" And they just might.