The Bearinger Boys
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The Bearinger Boys

Saginaw, Michigan, United States | SELF

Saginaw, Michigan, United States | SELF
Band Americana Rock

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"John Vasquez & the Bearinger Boys: Best Rock Band – Best Rock Songwriter – Best Solo Artist"


A name new to the Review Music Award scene last year was John Vasquez & the Bearinger Boys, who took home the 2009 award for “Rock Rookie of the Year.” John and his associates proved the band had staying power by taking three awards this year. As an individual, John took home the “Best Solo Artist” and “Best Rock Songwriter” awards, and the band scored the “Best Rock Band” award. Perhaps a little tongue-in-cheek, on their recently released 2010 EP, John revealed the secret to their success: “I don’t vote for myself / I just stay on top.”

The opening track on the EP, Burning Bridges, is a prime example of what makes John deserving of the songwriter award. Lyrically the song perfectly captures the city of Saginaw, but it is also universal enough to connect with nearly any declining city in the U.S.:



“Our prisons are filling up

And our schools are falling down

Our police force is corrupt

They’re the worst ones around

And the newspaper ain’t running no more

Man, are you comfortable?”



The lyrics, which also describe guns in the street and children dying, may be dark, but the song itself seems a somehow optimistic. It’s a voice of the time, but perhaps it suggests with awareness a change can be made.

Currently joining Vasquez in The Bearinger Boys is Wes Beechler on drums and Aaron Cianek on bass, but John says, “There have been tons of people who have sat in for a night or a couple of months…there are many who deserve credit.”

Since he started playing out in the bars two years ago, he thinks word as gotten out about himself and the band due to the amount of shows they do. “Whether solo or with the band, I am always performing and trying to spread the word.”

As far as winning awards again this year goes, he adds, “Everyone loves accomplishments. It’s good to be proud of what you’re doing, especially after all the long nights and hard work you put into something you believe in.”

The 2010 EP is just a sample for what is yet to come. The Bearinger Boys are currently in the studio working on a new album with guest appearances from a number of local musicians, which should be done by the end of the month.

The summer months will take the band on the road, playing a lot of shows out of town and out of state. “We’re travelin’ men,” John says. “As far as the future is concerned: promotion, promotion, promotion, promotion. Spreading our tunes.”

Before they take off on the road, you can catch them with Life Size Ghost at the Hamilton Street Pub on June 11th. Rumors of a summer bash are also in the works. - Tri-City Review Magazine


"Optimism Against All Logic"

Prior to Sean’s death, I would be one to stand up for my city, to say things aren’t so bad here. And despite the things that I love about this place—the toughness, the creativity, the hard work/working-class mentality—I have to acknowledge there is a lot of anger here. And it’s an anger that kills this city’s young people in a number of ways—through gun violence, drugs, suicide. Despite our seeming optimism for Michigan’s future, the present doesn’t give us much hope.

The Bearinger Boys, a local band, captures the problems we face here pretty well in their song “Burning Bridges”: - Nonfiction by Gina Myers


"Middle of the Mitten: The Bearinger Boys"

With boot-stomping rhythms, funky bass lines, jam band-inspired drum beats, and audible elements of Hip Hop, Blues, Garage Rock, and more, The Bearinger Boys play a truer version of Americana than the genre itself. John Vasquez would fit right in at any back-alley dive, college party, or country bar, but most of his cohorts are Indie and Alternative Rock folks. He’s taken it upon himself to host weekly open mic nights at Saginaw venue The Hamilton Street Pub, which is where I was first introduced to locals Life Size Ghost, Your Best Friend, I Became The Sky, and, of course, John Vasquez & The Bearinger Boys. Three years ago, I was so impressed with these four bands that I desperately wanted to bring them to Lansing, and Middle of the Mitten was born.

To say that John Vasquez is the hardest working musician in the area might be a little hyperbolic, but The Bearinger Boys have put out a release each of the past three years (albums in 2008 and 2009, and an EP in 2010) despite John moving to Chicago temporarily to expand into another market. As John put it the last time I saw him, “The more music you have out there, the better chance you have of getting heard.” This is not a far stretch from the lyric in fan-favorite track “Haters” from 2009’s The Fight, “No news is bad news, you see.” The Bearinger Boys would have played last year’s Middle of the Mitten if John had moved back just a month sooner, but I’m just glad to report that he’s back for the time being, and he didn’t hesitate to confirm a spot for this year’s show. - Record Lounge Local, Joel Heckaman


Discography

December 2008 - Life and Liberations - 9 Track Album
June 2009 - "The Fight" - 9 Track Album
April 2010 - "Burning Bridges" EP - 4 Tracks

Photos

Bio

A name new to the Review Music Award scene last year was John Vasquez & the Bearinger Boys, who took home the 2009 award for “Rock Rookie of the Year.” John and his associates proved the band had staying power by taking three awards this year. As an individual, John took home the “Best Solo Artist” and “Best Rock Songwriter” awards, and the band scored the “Best Rock Band” award in 2010 Awards.

The opening track on the EP, Burning Bridges, is a prime example of what makes John deserving of the songwriter award. Lyrically the song perfectly captures the city of Saginaw, but it is also universal enough to connect with nearly any declining city in the U.S.:
“Our prisons are filling up
And our schools are falling down
Our police force is corrupt
They’re the worst of 'em all
And the newspaper ain’t running no more
Man, are you comfortable?”

The lyrics, which also describe guns in the street and children dying, may be dark, but the song itself seems a somehow optimistic. It’s a voice of the time, but perhaps it suggests with awareness a change can be made.

Currently joining Vasquez in The Bearinger Boys is Wes Beechler on drums and Aaron Cianek on bass, but John says, “There have been tons of people who have sat in for a night or a couple of months…there are many who deserve credit.”

Since he started playing out in the bars two years ago, he thinks word has gotten out about himself and the band due to the amount of shows they do. “Whether solo or with the band, I am always performing and trying to spread the word.”

As far as winning awards again this year goes, he adds, “Everyone loves accomplishments. It’s good to be proud of what you’re doing, especially after all the long nights and hard work you put into something you believe in.”

The 2010 EP is just a sample for what is yet to come. The Bearinger Boys are currently in the studio working on a new album with guest appearances from a number of local musicians, which should be done in 2011, with a 2011 Promo album in rotation currently.

The summer months will take the band on the road, playing a lot of shows out of town and out of state. “We’re travelin’ men,” John says. “As far as the future is concerned: promotion, promotion, promotion, promotion. Spreading our tunes.”

2010 Review Awards - Gina Myers