Broken Stems
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Broken Stems

San Diego, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

San Diego, California, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Rock Blues




"Band of the Week: The Broken Stems"

Nestled against the cliffs of San Diego, The Broken Stems are bending genres and captivating audiences. Their blend of classic rock, blues and reggae has developed into a sound that emits positivity in a world with so much negative energy. The Broken Stems are Jesse Gawlik (Vocals/Guitar), Chelsea Baker (Bass/Vocals) Brad Sweet (Keyboards/Vocals), and Andrew Bache (Drums). With influences stretching from Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin to Dave Matthews Band, The Dear Hunter and more modern groups like Alt-J, the members have boundless amounts of space to create music. The bands musical connection and constant flow makes this band stand out. Each member brings out a different creative aspect in the other, allowing the music and lyrics to be at the fore front.

The Broken Stems deliver a style that remains true, emotional, and original while including the elements that make the listener want more. Having played packed shows throughout the San Diego area, including SOLD OUT SHOWS at the House of Blues. The Broken Stems are leaving their stamp on the music scene. Currently, The Broken Stems are gearing up to record the follow up to 2013’s We Are Home EP. The message of The Broken Stems’ music, more than anything is to live a music filled life, rich with the people it touches and the effect we know it can bring. - Audioeclectica

"The Local 94/9 with Tim Pyles featuring The Concrete Project and The Broken Stems"

Live at FM 94/9 studios in San Diego Starlit Productions filmed Tori-T of The Concrete Project and Jesse Gawlik of The Broken Stems August 31 2014 on Tim Pyles radio show that he does every Sunday from 9pm-12. Check them out at and This was filmed by Starlit Productions for FM 94/9, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Sapporo USA, Go Pro and On Location SD. - 94/9 FM & Starlit Productions

"Table 926 + J. Gawlik"

What’s RAD about Beats & Eats? The food and the music! by Mikey Beats

In this installment of Beats & Eats, I take J. Gawlickof the Broken Stems out to Table 926 in North Pacific Beach where deep rooted San Diego native Matt Richman gives us a culinary palate massage.

Mikey Beats: You know the drill.

J. Gawlick: I was born and raised in Minnesota and I moved out west to Colorado in 2008 where I joined a reggae band called Uproot. We then moved out to San Diego from Boulder and San Diego was really welcoming. I had been here once before and fell in love with the place. A few years after, I started my own band, called the Broken Stems and I’ve been running that since.

Mikey: You are a true artist because not only do you play in the band, but you also do graphic design. Most people might just do one thing, but I consider an artist someone who does multiple things.

We are interrupted by a not so random encounter with Tim Pyles, who happened to be next door recording the band Barbarian for his radio show, The Local 94/9, at Seacoast Studios, which happens to be next door to Table 926. We chat with Tim for a couple of minutes then pick up where we left off.

Mikey: You write the music and you’re also the lead singer/guitarist?

J.: Yup, we also have Brad Sweet on the keys, Chelsea Baker on bass and Andrew Bache on drums.

Mikey: You have a new female bassist. When you put the ad out in the Reader or Craigslist, were you specifically looking for a female bass player?

J.: Ha-ha, no. Chelsea was the first one we auditioned and she came in and nailed it. She left her bass rig with us, and I just had this feeling that she was leaving her rig because she knew she nailed it.

Mikey: Chicks do that! They’ll leave their underwear or their bra and are like ‘Can I come back and get that? Do you mind?’ They do that on purpose.

Laughter all around.

Mikey: I heard you played a few shows at House of Blues recently?

J.: Yup, on June 26 we had our first House of Blues gig on the main stage, which was awesome and again on August 29th with the Belmont Lights and the Chocolate Revolution.

Alex our server comes out with a salad.

Mikey: This is the Watermelon Salad with cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, watercress, herb croutons and banyuls vinaigrette. Very refreshing!

J.: Very fresh. Check this out.

J. Gawlick shows me the sweatshirt he made for the Broken Stems.

Mikey: The thing with local bands, I always buy their merch because I understand the struggle. That’s how they are basically going to make money and pay for the next recording. If I’m out and about and the band has CDs, I’m going to spend ten bucks on a CD because that’s what supports the local acts and I don’t even have a CD player.

J.: After the promotion you put into it, you’re barely breaking even. And then you have to pay out the band and compensate them for their time, you know. It’s tough. So I’m lucky that I can put a lot of my own time in and not have to pay for it.

More food comes out.

Mikey: We have the Heirloom Tomato Salad with burrata cheese, arugula and herb vinaigrette and balsamic reduction. We also have Steamed Venus Clams with coconut-curry broth, Chinese sausage, bok choy and some Spanish paprika. This is an international dish.

We both pause to figure out the cleanest way to eat the clams, but we shrug our shoulders and dig in.

Mikey: Let’s get dirty. Holy oral orgasm! I’ve never been a clam guy before but this clam with this sausage in my mouth together is like meat heaven in my mouth. This is an international dish, the United Nations of clam dishes. The bok choy, the Asian sausage, the clam, the curry, that is the UN in my mouth. Wow.

J.: That tomato salad is amazing too.

Mikey: That it is. I’m less of a food critic and more so a food addict.

J.: You can find the good in all things.

Mikey: You have many connections with other local bands, please tell.

J.: In 2008, we moved to Cass Street and Hornblend. Our next-door neighbor was Andrew Mills, who is now the lead singer of Barbarian. Uproot was playing at that house and we had a jam space in our garage. There were no tenants above our garage when we moved in and then we heard some people move in and we’re like, “Shit, we’re not going to be able to practice here anymore and it’s going to suck.” And who moves in? Full Blown Stone, a reggae rock band from Sacramento. We started playing together all the time, we switched up instruments and we grooved all the time together.

Mikey: The current bands of these musicians are Barbarian, the Routine, the Broken Stems and Sunny Rude, and all were jamming together in the same building?

J.: Yup, I moved into this perfect zone of music, friendship and people trying to do the same thing that I’m doing. Six years later we are all starting to get all the recognition I feel like we deserve, which is really cool. It just shows that perseverance, discipline and dedication to the craft pays off. Nothing comes easy in this world, so much goes into that one hour you play on stage and most people don’t realize that.

Mikey: That’s knowledge right there.

Alex comes back with more food.

Alex: These are the Lamb Merguez Sliders. Lamb merguez is a type of sausage, they grind it and turn it into a patty to make a slider. It’s typed with a Greek Halloumi cheese, which is a little salty. There’s the pesto as well. The cucumbers are pickled a little to give them a watermelon look as are the onions and a little arugula to finish it off.

Mikey: These are amazing. The flavor is kicking me in the face while giving me an upside down twerk lap dance. These lamb sliders are the best things I’ve had in my mouth this week, aside from my wife!

Alex lays down more food and our eyes light up.

Alex: These are the duck confit tacos, kind of our version of street tacos. They come with the queso fresco, a little bit of micro cilantro on top, the same pickled red onion as the sliders, then we’ve got a tomatillo at the end, avocado salsa here to the side and this red one is the guajillo, a chili normally from New Mexico. It’s got a little bit of spice to it, definitely more so than the tomatillo.

J.: Caramelized onions? Some feta cheese?

J. Gawlick gets a little excited, and I too am getting a food boner. I lay one in my mouth, a taco.

Mikey: Oh my heavens, wow. So wait, is that duck or is it …

Alex: Duck confit.

Mikey: But it’s not carnitas?

Alex: No

Mikey: But it’s in the style of carnitas?

Alex: Uh-huh.

Mikey: Because that is like carnitas.

Alex: It’s cooked to look and feel like carnitas.

Mikey: I want to cry right now.

J.: You can cry. I’m not going to judge you if you cry.

Mikey: Ha-ha, thanks J. You wear many hats and have re-invented yourself as J. Gawlick, please elaborate.

J.: I’ve been promoting Broken Stems, promoting my acoustic shows and promoting my freelance graphic design work. All three are different things and it’s hard to manage individually. I decided to recreate myself as J. Gawlik and just be my brand and let that be what I market, because it cross promotes everything I do and brings it all into one package. It’s all really stemming back from me.

Mikey: Stemming …

J.: Do you want to know the theory behind Broken Stems?

Mikey: Do tell.

J.: The stem is a foundation of anything. It can be a wine stem, a flower stem, a stem of a tree, you know? If a stem is broken, it has the opportunity to build and grow into something bigger and better, or grow in a different direction. It’s the idea that nothing’s really perfect. Everything is a little broken and there’s always a place for it to grow and change and move in another direction. That’s the ideal behind the Broken Stems. I’m on my fifth drummer now, my third bass guitarist in the existence of the Broken Stems and over time it’s grown into something more meaningful than I initially had thought. Like a stem, you can bring in a stem for a show, or another musician and all of those things are growing and manipulating and moving. Everything is always building upon itself. We talk about how we go back six years, and all the same people are in the same circles, still growing and still building their stems and adding more stems, and taking off stems that don’t work, that’s what it’s about.

Mikey: That’s band philosophy right there.

J.: We talk about all that time what goes into that one hour of music is something like hundreds of hours and it’s all about that moment. All the musicians and artists around here and around the world live for that moment. It’s that moment that counts. If you can keep that faith and discipline to get to that moment, that’s where all the magic happens.

Mikey: Well said. Thank you.

I know I always say the food was amazing and don’t complain about anything, but I do a little research before I show up at a place, but this place was different. I had never been there before and showed up on a recommendation from a friend named Holly Hitchcock. Matt Richman is amazing and I will taste him again. As far as J. Gawlick, he is pleasant on the eyes and on the ears, check them both out: and - 4L Magazine

"Broken Stems: “We Are Home” One Of The Best Indie Releases Of The Year 2013!"

Fresh out of the studio with our debut EP “We Are Home” and ready to take the world by storm! Jesse Gawlik (Singer/Songwriter/Guitarist) has attracted a group of musicians that clearly see his vision. With a book full of music and starlit eyes, he brought together The Broken Stems in March of 2013.

As the band has formed and shaped in the past six months, coming from a variety of backgrounds, The Broken Stems have proven their ability to produce music that stands out from other San Diego bands by simply embracing their originality. Influences in their music come from each of the member’s prosperous musical histories which include a Capella groups, reggae, jazz, blues, hard rock, and soul. No genre or emotion goes untouched with this band.

The Broken Stems released their debut 5 song EP entitled “We Are Home” on October 15th, 2013. The rest of the band comprises of the technical and explosive drumming style of Nathan Walsh-Haines (drummer/singer), the bluesy bass lines of Devon Stoll (bassist/singer), and the colorful sound of Brad Sweet’s Keys (keyboard/vocals).

“We Are Home”, displays an expansive and impressive array of instruments, recording techniques, vocal harmonies, and blissful bombardment of melodic tone that pervades throughout the entire album. The end result is an album that transcends genre; an amalgamation of music and lyrics that educates the senses whilst providing relaxation and reflection. Simply put one of the best albums I’ve heard this year.

It has been a long time since I have heard a new album that is as creative, exciting, and fun as “We Are Home”. This is the sound of a band at the top of their game, yet they’re only getting started. The lyrics are whip-smart literate and emotionally provocative, just as the music is every bit as cliché-free clever, as it is impassioned.

Of the five tracks, the last 3 are particularly strong, namely “Maybe”, “Climb Down” and “Castles”. On “Maybe”, my favorite track on the Ep, the band reminded me of a hybrid between the best sounds of The Police and Men At Work in their heyday. A lot of the credit for this must go to Jesse Gawlik’s unique vocal chords that reel you in with every verse and chorus line.

The subtle arranging touches throughout the Ep also add extra power to an already powerhouse band. “We Are Home” is a true listening experience, so much so that when you get to the end you are on a high listening to “Castles”. What a way to end the Ep!

The Broken Stems have crafted beautiful tuneful anthems with delightful riffs and hooks that will keep you humming and tapping. This is an instant classic; I’ll be surprised if this is not recognized as one of the best indie releases of the year 2013. -

"Broken Stems - We Are Home EP"

The first EP from the Broken Stems boasts the group’s unlikely ascension to Potential Rock Star status, dripping with an easy, attractive confidence.

There’s still a garage band in there, but they stride fearlessly into areas that might once have been off-limits, as with the taut style of clipped FM rock of Sisters, or the Glitter Band-via-Goldfrapp stomp of The Only Way. The track has threads and colours in the backgrounds adeptly with dabs of sound – synth here, backing vocals there – though Jesse Gawlik guitars remain everywhere. Their faith in their own ability to master anything is apparent on the opener, maybe, which begins with a clean, repeating guitar riff and ascending keys (Brad Sweet), before Nathan Walsh-Hainescomes in with a drum break, which in turn gives way to a rockabilly snare shuffle, which itself is subsumed beneath a huge, sleek chorus.

Another notable track, and probably my personal favourite is Castles, Devon Stoll attends to the great crescendo of the rhythm section on the bass guitar, as the track builds gradually it’s hit you before you even know what’s happened.

They sound like a band who think they’ve made the year’s best rock’n’roll album, probably because that’s exactly what they’ve done.

San Diego is widely known as “America’s Finest City.” Famous for its miles and miles of white-sand beaches and amazing weather. Band Broken Stems have spent the last 6 months perfecting their first EP “We Are Home”. I guess in summary i’m asking myself ‘Does this recording boast the credentials to be San Diego’s finest band?’ If you can stop yourself putting “We Are Home” on repeat, the glories pile up ever higher. So in answer to my own question… Yes. A great effort guys, well done. - Hassle Magazine

"Broken Stems - We Are Home EP Review"

Wow. First thought that came to my mind was ‘what IF Band of Horses and Cold War Kids had a children together…would it come out like this?’ Yeah, okay…that’s weird even for me, and as the EP from The Broken Stems plays on, it’s not nearly musically accurate enough. The comparisons will come soon enough I’m sure – right now I’m enjoying my inability to pin down their sound and digging their beautiful melodies, harmonies and creativity in their song writing…press play and enjoy the We Are Home EP by The Broken Stems with me, I wanna dissect this one!
I mean, this is a truly fantastic EP, no bullshit. You want a tightly played, diverse and well-crafted display of a great band’s skill-set, look no further. Each song plays within a pop-rock perfection, well produced with excellent vocals throughout; powerful with thought-provoking lyrics. Check out the middle of the EP and listen to “Maybe” and you’ll dig on what I’m saying. This is an excellent, dramatic and theatrical piece of music and the fact that lead singer Jesse Gawlik drifts in and out of a Maroon 5’s Adam Levine through his vocal delivery and tone doesn’t hurt.
What amazes me is just how MUCH of something there is for everybody in this one EP. You are a hate-filled, degenerate, no-taste music-mongrel if this makes you want to turn the volume down, off, or anything other than UP. And you’re better than that. So DIG The Broken Stems, says I!
How about the 4th track on the EP – what an amazing track. So bluesy and ridiculously well-played on guitar, but with so many other parts…each and every time I draw comparison, it becomes useless. The Broken Stems have a incredible ability to adapt and conquer not only a variety of styles and sounds within the five songs on We Are Home, but actually within the songs themselves. “Castles” is another perfect example of this as it ranges through beautiful pop melody into malicious rock and stomping drum beats. Guitar tones that are immaculate and really stand out well in the recording.
Easily one of the most repeatable EP’s I’ve heard in years, the moment this was done I pushed play again and so should you. It makes much more sense on those repeat listens. “The Only Way” starts so epically with simple guitar, beautiful harmonies and emphatic drums. This song at the beginning sets the standard for the songwriting and it absolutely does not drop in quality from there no matter how much the musical landscape of The Broken Stems may change throughout.
And it WILL change – LOTS. That immediate straight jolt into the pop-choir-reggae combo of “Around The Bend” is just another example of this band’s ability to adapt to any style with success and produce something brilliant. This warm and atmospheric track is one to certainly leave you wondering why you HAVEN’T heard The Broken Stems yet.
But in truth, they all really are songs of the highest quality and caliber. I love this EP by The Broken Stems, I think it’s incredibly inventive and innovative in each and every track. Couple that with their perfect production and flawless execution – this is a band I’ll be keeping a firm ear on from now on. - Sleeping Bag Studios

"Broken Stems Music Review"

The first inclination I get listening to The Broken Stems, is to follow the dancing notes in my imagination, like Neo following the White Rabbit into the Matrix. The experience of the Stems is emotional and the instrumental impression makes you feel as if they’re in the living room with you. The tone is an invitation to participate and find out what more they have to offer.

The Broken Stems rock the indie sounds to keep the listener groovin’. The bluesy-vocals by lead singer, Jesse Gawlik, create a salutary sound which draws the audience into the music.
Whether live on a stage or blasting the tracks through your speakers, you’re bound to fall head over heels for this band. Their upcoming album promises to provide listeners with delicate balance of dance steps and hip sway to keep you chasing the notes.
As the band has formed and shaped in the past year, coming from a variety of backgrounds, they’ve proven their ability to produce music that stands out from other San Diego bands by simply embracing their blues originality, despite having started immersed in the reggae scene.

Between the singing harmony of the keys and Gawlik’s creative guitar, there’s a trance-like lure. Still they often throw in the remnants of a reggae beat, like in the song “Lion’s Den” or “Antibots,” and they are able to lighten the mood and keep a smooth transition from one state of mind to the next. In the song, “Just a Man,” the tone carries just the right mood for a classical rock swing. The hard drum beats demand attention and it’s worth adding to your retro-rock mix.

But then songs like, “Classico,” a complete instrumental track, shows off the texture of the band’s combined talent. It starts with an invitation from the keys, a modern classical, bringing in a low plucking of the guitar, adding just enough bass and drum to make the song sound completely improvised. The interlude is a gracious pause between the song’s impressive rock entertainment.

The Broken Stems are stepping up and preparing to release an album that will surely electrify their fans and keep them coming back to shows for more. You’ll feel like you’ve taken the red pill for this one; the experience of the Stems is a realistic embrace of the new generation’s cultural attraction to blues-rock music.

The band’s most recent performance at the Muir Fest in Ocean Beach proved their ability to keep a crowd entertained. Their next show promises to be just as energetic and enticing. The Broken Stems will be playing at 710 Beach Club August 16th in Pacific Beach and I definitely recommend you them check out.

Their album release is expected sometime this fall. - Ash Gallagher

"Broken Stems – Many Musical Backgrounds Come Together To Create Something Fresh And Original"

One of my favorite kind of bands to find is a band that does not try to fit into any specific genre or mainstream box. There is something magical that happens when a group just puts together all of their different influences into a big melting pot and lets the result speak for itself. Making music for yourself instead of for the popular masses will always stand out. An example is our latest find Broken Stems.

The San Diego, California based band puts forth an eclectic mix of funky rock with touches of blues and reggae. The band is relatively new for their polished sound only forming in March of 2013. Singer/guitarist Jesse Gawlik began the mission with a book full of innovative songs when he hooked up with drummer Nathan Walsh-Haines, bassist Devon Stoli, and keyboardist Brad Sweet. The foursome dove right in and have set themselves apart pretty quickly with their diverse musical backgrounds and different sound. Fans are starting to take notice as well with crowds at Broken Stems shows growing rapidly and word spreading of a band ready to breakout.

Last Month Broken Stems released their debut EP We Are Home. The 5 song collection shows off the different styles that the band can go in successfully. The record opens with the spacey and progressive ‘Castles’. The open and airy beginning of the song builds into an all out group chorus before you can blink an eye. A different direction is touched on in ‘Climb Down’ which has an almost gypsy rock feel. It is spooky and warm at the same time grabbing the listeners emotions as if they were a toy. The mellow ‘Maybe’ features the exceptional keyboard talent of Brad Sweet setting up for the full band to join in and create an anthemic song. The EP closes with ‘The Only Way’. Jesse’s vocals have truly got me by now as his voice has a smooth soothing quality to it. This is a song that demands to be listened to repeatedly to pick out all the specific instrumental parts added into the stew of good music.

Please do jump on the Broken Stems bandwagon now at: and don’t forget that the Indie Band Guru introduced these guys to you. -

"Winston's Review 9/20/12"

If you were in Ocean Beach last night and you weren't at Winston's, you weren't anywhere. The Broken Stems completely brought down the house covering classic Jimi Hendrix songs with their own twist and most memorably playing well written, structured and powerful original songs. The set consisted of a very unique blend of blues, soul, reggae and progressive rock. They finished their captivating set and their adoring and almost hypnotized crowd DEMANDED an encore.

Smooth as silk frontman/guitarist Jesse Gawlik was completely spot on and charismatic. Accompanied by the beautiful bass player/vocalist Lara Michelle Stucki, who held down the rhythm and held the eyes of every man in the building. Nathan Walsh-Haines, the newest addition to the band, brought his own unique style of drumming and helped revamp the old songs into something new and more distinguished.

The song of the night was their newest single "Maybe", which "may be" the song to take them to the next level. The first line of the chorus is "Maybe, I'm onto something good..." Judging by last night's performance, sound, energy and crowd reaction, those words have proven to be true and well-spoken by the "almost prophetic" Broken Stems.
- Remy Michael Fischer, JAMFIRE Music


2017 - Joshua Tree Sessions
2016 - What Are You Connected
2013 - We Are Home EP



When a stem breaks from a tree the tree doesnt die, it doesnt shrink, it doesnt even wither. Instead two new branches will grow in its place; stronger and fuller than it was before, the tree grows out of adversity. This philosophy of constant growth formulates the back-bone of The Broken Stems.


A band that believes only in the genre of great music coupled with great performancedont be surprised if youre at a show and hear a blues song that moves into a reggae vibe and ends with soulful a Capella. They seamlessly blend an eclectic mix of all of these and more but youll hear an over-tone in each song thats distinctly Broken Stems, it will keep you dancing through the show and leave the music in your head long after.


Its probably because the four stems of the band come from such different backgrounds musically that they find this unique style. Between the explosive drumming style of Andrew Bache and the hard-rock influenced bass lines of Chelsea Baker, the rhythm section creates a groove thats easy to follow. Brad Sweet adds colorful vocal harmonies that stem from his a Cappella roots and soulful piano/organ solos that come from his love for jazz. Finally Jesse Gawliks powerful blues-inspired guitar solos and reggae inspired rhythms wrap the bands instruments together. Couple that with the powerful and emotional vocal performance he brings to every song and you have a sound that truly stands apart from other San Diego bands right now.


Living and playing together in a house on top of a mountain in a village near the sea, The Broken Stems finished their first album in 2013 thanks to the support of over 100 backers and close friends/fans via Kickstarter. Theyre working right now on a second album and are currently touring around southern California.

Band Members