Poor Becket Rebels
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Poor Becket Rebels

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"Barn band becomes a band of bar headliners"

BECKET, MA
The hilltowns come alive with music whenever the Poor Becket
Rebels are at the helm.

Also known to fans as PBR (yes, just like the acronym for that
wildly popular cheap beer), the core group includes Dalton
brothers Eric Esko, 35, and Dan Esko, 29; and Becket boys Luke
Bates, 28, and Derrick Rodgers, 34.
All well-seasoned musicians, these childhood friends-turned-family-men, have turned out organic originals and put new twists on classic cover tunes for the past three years. They'll put a "yee-haw" in a Bruce Springsteen song and a hand-clapping breakdown in the middle of their own improvised jam.
Here, on an unseasonably warm November Sunday morning, over a round of coffees at the counter of the Becket General Store, the Poor Becket Rebels share a few stories and a helping of laughs of how they came from playing in a barn to headlining bars, and can
conjure a vibe that purely fun:

EAGLE: You guys seem pretty at ease with each other. How long have you been playing together?

EE (Eric Esko): Well, I guess it's about three years this fall.

DE (Dan Esko): Yeah, but really it's been 20 years or more. We've been playing together pretty much since we were kids.

DR (Derrick Rodgers): It's always a good time.

EAGLE: When did you guys realize that you wanted to get out and play for other people?

EE: We used to get together and just jam about once a week, and then people would come to listen to us. We played in this old red barn across the street.

LB (Luke Bates): We didn't have a garage.

DE: We were a barn band.

DR: Yeah, it was kind of this place that people would find us by word of mouth. Some nights you'd have 60 people would come walking in, no phone calls no e-mails, it just happened. But eventually we realized it was time to get out of the barn.

DE: Also the barn was falling in. [Group laughs.] So we started playing at Derrick's shop.

EE: I think collectively we outgrew it too and wanted to work on new things, new music.

DE: But we carry the spirit of the barn with us through the Berkshire area.

EAGLE: Where have you guys played since?

EE: We've played at Dream Away Lodge, Liston's bar,
Hami's, Mill Town Tavern, La Cocina, before it closed. Also we've done events at Butternut ski area, Berkshire area co-op, Becket town events, and a bunch of other places.

DE: Like Derrick was saying before. We're all family men. We all have day jobs. We have the freedom to choose what we play, how we play it and where we play it. It's that idea that's kind of the ‘rebel' in Poor Becket Rebels. [Group laughs.]

DE (cont’d) : We’re not playing jukebox cover tunes night after night in the same places. We're engaging original music plus original interpretations of cover tunes.

EAGLE: How would you describe your tunes and your gigs?
DR: It's a show. You might expect some costumes or raffles.

LB: There might be a piñata.

EE: We try to keep it from being hokey. A lot of times you see a band and they're so uptight. You know, they might be working hard and might sound great, but they're still doing the stiff thing, and it translates [to the audience].

DE: We did a Rock, Scissors, Paper tournament at the Dream Away, and it ended in a wrestling match between Derrick and Daniel [Osman, the owner]. All in good fun, of course. We've had raffles where the winner would win something like a Star Wars figurine. It's fun.

EAGLE: Any recordings or plans to record things?

DE: We have a lot of recordings, but none professional.

EE: We have some stuff on our MySpace page (www.myspace.com/poorbecktrebels)

DE: But we do have plans for something soon.

EAGLE: Any places you'd like to play or people you'd like to play with?

ALL: Live on the Lake, and Gathering of the Vibes.

DE: We hope to be doing stuff with Domino Theory, Longview Gunslingers. We've played with a lot of people before too.

EAGLE: Which came first, the name Poor Becket Rebels or the PBR acronym?

ALL: Poor Becket Rebels came first.

EE: The acronym was an afterthought. But, you know, people have fun with it. So we run with it.

DE: PBR [Pabst Blue Ribbon] the beer actually likes to sponsor live, local music.

DR: We've had vendors make T-shirts and hats for the band.

DE: But we really haven't made enough money for anyone to sue us yet.

EAGLE: Are you guys PBR drinkers?

DE, LB, EE: Yes. [Laughing.]

DR: No. I hate it.

DE: But it's a different story at 1 in the morning. [All laugh.]

EAGLE: Back to the music. How do you guys prepare for a gig? Do you come up with a set list?

EE: We have a master set list.

LB: But we mix it up.

DE: Uncle Larry's [Tavern] has a different crowd where we'll play all covers versus a place like Mission [Bar & Tapas] where you can do originals and pretty much play whatever you want.

EAGLE: What are your favorite things to play?

ALL: Original.

EE: Original tune - Berkshire Eagle ~ 413 Arts Feature Story


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

Call it anything you want.

True to their name, the Poor Becket Rebels manage to defy a labeling of their sound.

Four seasoned artists, none of whom lead the band.

Each evolves with the song, collectively navigating thick jams.

Add to this, the organic chemistry which occurs between four musicians who learned to play together in a crooked Appalachian barn.

Add to that, the fact that they’ve continued to develop their craft together for nearly twenty years.

What results from it all, is a progressive, mesmerizing discovery in music. As a collection of a thousand influences, the Poor Becket Rebels brand of music is classic, earthy, and uncharted at the same time.

Admittedly, even the band is stumped by some of their own material. No song is interpreted the same way twice, with lyrical content ranging from tales of space travel to overpopulation.

The Poor Becket Rebels live experience is an engaging, interactive stew of the band and their fans.

Irresistibly, they conjure bobbing heads, swaying bodies, and an insatiable desire to groove the night away.

Ultimately, Poor Becket Rebels crowds stay for the show, guaranteeing a positive experience and a solid take for any venue.

Luke Bates (Guitar), Dan Esko (Bass), Eric Esko (Guitar), and Derrick Rodgers (Drums) are New England natives, lifelong musicians, and are quickly becoming staples of the homegrown Northeast Music world. Individually, band mates have made live music with members of The Allman Brothers Band, Soulive, Arlo Guthrie, Max Creek, Moon Boot Lover, and Reverend Tor Band .