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Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States | INDIE

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States | INDIE
Band Alternative Rock




"OCCC employees make music together"

Two OCCC employees are in the middle of producing their second album, “Sirens’ Song.”
Mockingbird, a local uprising band, is comprised of Communications Lab Assistant Brandon Isaak (songwriter, vocals and guitar), Financial Aid employee Anthony Edwards (drums), Brian Gabbert (lead guitarist and back up vocals) and Kendra Boeckman (bass).
Isaak said he has always been interested in music.
“I’ve been writing songs for 10 years,” Isaak said. “I got really serious in 2007 (when) both grandparents died within a month of each other.
“I was sad but it really inspired me to live life more and purse my dreams.”
The groups’ album “Garage Apartment” was recorded in six months, Isaak said.
When the band expanded to include more members, the name Mockingbird was chosen.
“Everyone is native to Oklahoma,” Isaak said.
“We’re all originally from different cities in the state but we all are living in OKC.”
Issak said Mockingbird comfortably fits into the indie rock genre.
“Sometimes our songs sound kind of folksy or sometimes straight up rock,” he said. “I think it’s one of the things that’s great about our music — it’s highly dynamic.”
Isaak said his influences are Jeff Buckley, Nirvana and Elliot Smith.
Mockingbird also incorporates synthesizers and a mini keyboard to add to the variety of sound, he said.
Isaak said he could envision expanding the band even more to include more instruments.
“I have a friend who plays the mandolin. We will probably try to have her add stuff in and we add some piano every now and then.”
Isaak said he and lead guitarist Gabbert make their own guitars.
“Brian has a Telecaster, and I have a Fender and a Jagmaster,” he said.
“We take the skeleton, gut out the electronics and replace them with high-quality gear bought from e-Bay and we wire it ourselves.
“You can get crazy tones and a wider range of sound,” Isaak said.
Mockingbird’s drummer is enthusiastic about the band’s contrasting harmony.
“We don’t sound like Nickelback, Hinder or Theory of a Deadman,” Edwards said. “We don’t auto tune.
“It’s like what Frank Zappa said, ‘Why sell people good stuff when you can sell them shit.’”
Isaak said the band strives to send a message to their audience through his words.
“I like to challenge conventional thought in my lyrics,” he said. “I try to get people to take a look at what they’re doing in society and how they respond to it.”
Mockingbird will be playing with The Nghiems at The Deli, 309 White Street, on Campus Corner in Norman Wednesday, Feb. 23.
For more information and to sample their sound visit, and
Last Updated on Monday, 14 February 2011 08:49 - Oklahoma City Community College Pioneer


Mockingbird is currently recording a debut full length, studio album that is tentatively titled "Siren's Song" and scheduled for release before 2012. Much of the recording and production for the album is being done by Trent Bell, of Bell Labs Studios in Norman, OK.



Brandon Isaak (vocals, guitar)
A musical tinkerer from an early age, Brandon's musical odyssey began at the age of 5 or 6 with piano lessons, although that proved to be a short-lived affair. Beginning in 6th grade, Brandon played the saxophone in school band until high school and only picked up the guitar in 8th grade, when he heard Nirvana's In Utero. Brandon's other instruments include the bass guitar and drums. The allure of screeching guitars and bashing equipment coupled with the raw energy of the grunge movement initiated the turning point in Brandon's musical life, prompting him to play in two high school grunge bands, Blandest and the Soda Jerks. The formation of these bands helped to create a burgeoning indie music scene that continues to blossom in Brandon's hometown of Enid, OK to this day. After those high school bands, Brandon began some “singer-songwriter” projects while in college and subsequently joined and shortly left the band Triangle Row (comprised of other Enid HS alums) to focus on what would eventually become Mockingbird. Additionally, he has also played lead guitar for a close friend and sometime musical cohort, Lyndsie Annette.

As for his musical influences, Brandon states, “The most influential time in music for me would be 90s grunge. It started my musical obsession. However, I don’t listen to it much anymore. I find that I have a broad range of rock music that I listen to, but I am manic depressive with my listening habits, typically listening to one artist obsessively up to a year or longer. Some of my previous fixations are Elliott Smith, Bright Eyes, Nirvana, Nick Drake, Moneen, Autolux, Deerpeople, JD Lenoir, Skip James, Blind Willie Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf, and Saves the Day.”

Kendra Boeckman (bass, vocals)
An accomplished and early developed musician, Kendra began playing viola at the age of 10 and singing in choirs at the age of 4 or 5. Kendra continued to sing choir until high school, and then began concentrating solely on her viola playing. During her high school years, Kendra received the highest possible marks during solo and ensemble state competitions, played in national and international music competitions (including several contests in Europe), earning seats of honor in national competitions, and recording a full length CD of strolling strings music with a group called the Silver Strings. While attending university, Kendra received a scholarship for music while achieving an architecture degree.

Kendra was recruited into Mockingbird to play bass in 2010, and she is currently engaged to Brandon Isaak. When asked about her musical influences, she states "In the classical world, my favorite composers (to have played in a full orchestra setting) would be Shostakovich and Dvorak. Their passion and intensity excites and overwhelms me every time I have had the privilege to play their work. I still sing the fourth movement of Dvorak's New World Symphany in my head."

David Traxler (Drummer)
After beginning drums at an age of 10, David played drums until the age of 16, when he began focusing on a potential career in the military. However, he eventually changed course and again pursued his passion for music in 2008. Besides the drums, David has also played guitar, bass, piano, and taken vocal lessons. While attending Oklahoma City Community College, David performed in the OCCC production of the Rocky Horror Picture Show and played for the OCCC Jazz Band. David graduated from OCCC in 2011 with a degree emphasizing music performance.

Citing a diverse group of musicians from jazz to country, David states that artists such as Buddy Rich, John Bonham, Josh Freese, Dave Grohl, Tony Royster, Jr., Mike Portnoy, Carter Beauford, Dave Weckl, and Vinnie Colaiuta have been his main influences. As to how he got started in music, David states “I was always tapping around on crap when I was a kid and finally I convinced my parents to buy a kit. Took several years of band in middle and high school. I got back into when I took a music appreciation class in college.”

Brian Gabbert (lead guitar, vocals)
Perhaps the musical ugly duckling of the group, Brian didn't begin playing guitar until the age of 16, when he began learning covers of 60's and 70's rock songs from bands like Pink Floyd, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Neil Young. Brian's love of music began early in life when he would come home early from elementary school and sneak into his father's record collection without his permission. That early forbidden fruit of the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and Chuck Berry shaped his aesthetic of the guitar. In the subsequent years, various musical projects developed and evaporated, eventually leading Brian to being asked to play guitar for his close friend, Brandon Isaak, who was launching an ambitious solo effort in 2007. Rather than the rhythm guitar role he was accustomed to, Brian was pushed into playing more of a lead guitar position while playing Br