The Last Good Year
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The Last Good Year

Indianapolis, Indiana, United States | SELF

Indianapolis, Indiana, United States | SELF
Band Rock Classic Rock




"The Last Good Year: Swaggering Riff Rock from the Heart of Indianapolis"

If you missed seeing Lynyrd Skynyrd at the Verizon Wireless Music Center last week, don’t throw away your denim jacket just yet. Luckily, Indianapolis is home to bands that play virtually every type of music under the sun, and one Indianapolis band in particular plays the kind of balls to the wall, big riffing, hook heavy guitar rock that you’d expect at a Skynyrd concert. Sure, The Emerson Theater showcases some heavy bands too, but nothing with the sing the chorus until you’re hoarse, clap your hands until they bleed songwriting that this group brings to the table. It’s The Last Good Year, and they’ve been bringing back the glory days of rock to a hungry Indianapolis music climate since their rise to prominence in 2007... - BRYAN JOHNSON

"The Last Good Year: Swaggering Riff Rock from the Heart of Indianapolis"

"...This is good ol’ boot thudding, bass heavy, guitar driven rock and roll, complete with spiraling solos, catchy riffs, addicting hooks, and rousing choruses. Champions of Birdy’s and a hard working, hard touring group with a lot of musical chemistry, The Last Good Year has the grit and determination to continue to pump out the growling Americana they’re known for. Their next challenge: breaking out on to the national stage, where they’re sure to be a radio friendly hit and a credit to the Indianapolis music scene." - Bryan Johnson

"The Last Good Year: hermetic, face-planting hard rock"

The Last Good Year's execution of their swaggering rock and roll in the live setting belies how long they've actually been doing it together.

Lead guitarist Josh Bucy and bassist Steve Byroad started playing together in college. Bucy moved away for a time, but they resumed their collaboration when he returned. He describes their first band, Eleanor, as more "U2y and anthemy," certainly a contrast to The Last Good Year's hermetic, face-planting style.

"We decided we wanted to play some harder rock and roll," Bucy says while backstage before a recent performance at Birdy's Bar and Grill.

Enter guitarist and lead singer Joe Doyel, who met his future bandmates through Byroad's girlfriend a few years ago.

"Ex-girlfriend," Byroad immediately clarifies.

"I only knew her through a friend," Doyel adds of the unsuspecting matchmaker. "We were hanging out at a bar, and I was hitting on her. Pretty successfully."

With Doyel in the mix, The Last Good Year quickly made their presence felt on the local scene. Alternative rock station X103 regularly plays them on its Sunday night Indy X-Files show.

"People definitely like them," says Kimberly Adamson, the station's promotions manager. "They have a very good vibe. They're one of the best local bands around."

The Don Stuck Band, fronted by X103 morning disc jockey Stuck, has shared the stage with The Last Good Year multiple times. "Our fans love them," Stuck says. "I think those damn guys have stolen some of our fans, as a matter of fact. They're that good."
Getting started

"It was pretty great because it was one of those things where we were pretty much ready to go," Byroad says of their start. "We wanted to play some shows and had some songs in the works. We were missing that final piece of the puzzle. It was serendipitous that Joe showed up."

A mid-May show at Birdy's, which has them playing last after Autovaughn and Modoc, features rollicking takes of songs from their self-titled debut, recorded in Nashville, Tenn.

A group of hardbodies dances at the front of the stage to the beatastic "Road to Ruin." "Racecar Driver" sets the crowd on fire with its hard-charging groove. Even "Humbled," with its slower country flavor, blazes with a stomp that goes stratospheric at the end.

There's plenty of rock star posing, as each member hunkers into his instrument to ensure the melodies are lean and mean. Yet there's room left for expansive interplay.

The Last Good Year won a battle of the bands - the Battle of Birdy's - in 2007, after being together a little more than a year. "We weren't going to do it because we were so new," Bucy says of entering the competition.

Doyel says, "We felt like we were still figuring out how we worked together as a band on stage. We knew we liked playing together, and seemed to be getting a decent response."

Jay Elliott of Stereo Deluxe, the group that won the Battle of Birdy's two years prior, told them they were ready. The Last Good Year signed up at the last minute.

"The final night was unbelievable," says Doyel, who sports long, dark hair and a frontman's lanky build. "This place was jam-packed. It was definitely a highlight for us."

Their prize, besides all the added attention, was $10,000. Before the contest, The Last Good Year had gone to Nashville to record five songs intended for an EP. Thanks to their win and productive writing sessions, they returned to record six more tracks, enough for a full-length. Only one cut, the seven-minute closer "You Want it All," was hastily thrown together. But even that has an unusual story.

A storm rolled through while they were recording it. Their producer opened the windows and turned the mics all the way up, capturing some nice thunder sounds that the band incorporated into the mix.

"We brought it back to Indianapolis and let some of our friends listen to it," Doyel says. "The first thing one of them said was, 'Garth Brooks called. He wants his thunder back.'"
Moving forward

Even with the departure of their original drummer, The Last Good Year haven't missed a beat. Darren Rayl, an Anderson native who now performs session work in Nashville, was with the band while they were recording. He filled in on gigs and officially joined during their drive back from playing at this year's South By Southwest in Austin, Texas.

"We were good friends with Darren prior to this anyway," says Byroad, who has a bouncer's build befitting his instrument. "To have him as part of the band is even better."

So far, The Last Good Year have toured in earnest, playing regionally in markets like Chicago, Pittsburgh, Louisville and Nashville. They've performed with artists ranging from Saliva to Jon McLaughlin.

"The hometown is where we want to put all our effort into," Byroad says. "I feel like we've been doing that pretty well the past couple years."

Another contest could once again drastically change their fortunes. The Last Good Year were named a top five finalist in Hard Rock's Ambassadors of Rock Battle of the Bands. Twenty-two Hard Rock Cafes in the United States hosted the competition. The Last Good Year won at the Indianapolis location.

Online voting for the finalists began May 26 at and lasts two weeks. The winner performs at Hard Rock Calling, a three-day festival in June at London's Hyde Park. The event will feature Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Dave Matthews, Ben Harper and The Killers.

"All the greats have been associated with that festival over the years," Rayl says. "It's pretty much the be all, end all of European festivals."

It would be a helluva stage for the band to showcase its crowd-pleasing brand of rock. Though members of The Last Good Year bring differing influences to the fold - including metal and indie rock - they all agree AC/DC have perfected the formula for songwriting and crowd rapport. If you're going to emulate anyone, that's a great starting point.

"We're not trying to break the mold," Byroad says. "We like writing rock and roll songs with catchy hooks and big choruses."

Bucy adds, "It's all about the big hook. We're all kind of windows down, fists out the window, singing along with the radio."

For more on the band: - - Wade Coggeshall

"Battle of Birdy’s Finals"

The big winners, though, were The Last Good Year, who won by a margin of several hundred points and took home both the title of BoB champions and more than $12,500 in cash and prizes. It’s definitely an audience-friendly feel, the sort of arena rock that defined several generations of concertgoers. Rock Americana, they call it, and I can see that: big slabs of sound, with a distinctive folksy-blues metal riff underneath it all, the strange cousin of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Mötley Crüe. - Nuvo

"Album Review"

Posted by Ricky | December 2, 2008

My roommate is a fanatic. He just might be one of the only people that could keep up with my obsession of music. Whether it’s live shows and lyrics or an undiscovered band that we both feel is the next big thing, we are on the same page when it comes to this magnificent art.

He actually told me recently that he was bored with music. He was bored with everything in his iTunes account. He was bored with his overwhelming CD collection. He was bored with the top artists on MySpace. He had just simply listened to everything that he could get his hands on. And he said to me one day, “Ricky, you know, I just want to find a new band. I want to find a good ole fashioned rock band that does more to me than just play the guitar. I want to find one that I can play as loud as I can and just get my blood pumping.”

In those next few weeks I actually forwarded him a few bands that I felt might match his current drought. There were a few he had heard of already, a few he liked, but nothing just grabbed his attention long enough to make it through a complete CD.

That is when I discovered the debut album from Indianapolis based band The Last Good Year. Their first album, recorded at The Smoking Gun Recording Studio in Nashville, Tennessee might be just the album that my roommate is looking for.

The Last Good Year was formed in 2007 and it did not take them very long to make a name for themselves here in the Indianapolis area. Playing boatloads of shows with bands like Records Record Records and Win With Willard, TLGY has created a niche market that is hard to surpass. In their first year together they captured the 2007 Battle of Birdy’s and were selected as one of Nuvo Magazine’s ‘Best of 2007’. With their immediate success and local fan base coupled with an album from famed Augustana producer Jon King, TLGY was ready to launch what was a no holds barred attempt at this extremely competitive market.

When you first put the album in you are immediately hit with polished guitar parts mixed with a punch you in your face drumbeat. The voice kicks in and you are taken to the front row. You have a Budweiser in your hand. You have a cigarette in your mouth. And you have your fist pumping to the band as he screams “I found my soul in rock and roll.” For a band that has only been around since last year it is extremely impressing that this album came together in only 12 days. If you pay attention to the lyrics, all of which were written by TLGY, you will find a whole new appreciation for the album. The great thing is; you are only one track in.

By the time you make it to the second track, if you are not already dancing the way it is, you will be soon. When you hear this song there is nowhere you want to see this video but on MTV. I honestly feel that this track will be their signature single when this album reaches its next level.

Let me take a moment to discuss their image before I go on. In my experiences in the music industry, when a band hits the scene for the first time, it is hard for them to get off the ground until they have created an image for themselves. I could name several local examples but will save my face by saving their names. But that is something that TLGY has nailed right on the head. From their album cover to their MySpace page to the tattoos on their arms this band looks exactly like what you hear on this self entitled debut album.

I have had the chance to see TLGY play numerous times in the past few months and their stage presence and sound is damn near exactly what you hear in your headphones. has actually scheduled TLGY to perform as a featured artist in their presents: R.O.C.K. showcase on January 3rd, 2009.

By the time you are half way through the album you begin to forget that these guys are from Indianapolis. You forget that they just played a show last night in Broad Ripple and then drank beer with you after the show. And this is what makes a band like this so special. They are the kind of band that very well a year from now may be bigger than ever imagined.

When listening to this album, or any like it, you tend to try and compare it to something. You want that comfortability with your music. You think of the bands you can see opening up for them at the Vogue. And I suffer these same issues. The first time I heard the album I tried to have an open mind and let the lyrics and the music take me over. I was not two tracks into this album and I was already comparing his voice to that of The Darkness, The Wedding, and Soundgarden. But there is a little bit more in it for me. When you push his voice next to the music behind him I get a sense of early Led Zeppelin and some sophomore Rolling Stones.

This album is a mix of incredible instrumental work, polished vocals, and pure genius from the production. The Last Good Year has created what, as their first album, will be a staple in their career. To whatever is next for this band I wish them the best of luck. It is rare that an album of this genre can come along and take me over just like this one did. Not only did I put this album in my iTunes library, it is all I can talk about. I am singing, “I wanna be a race car driver,” over and over again. This album is simply a great package of incredible music. -

"pure rock sensibility..."

The best part about this album is that I've heard it before. No, The Last Good Year didn't re-release an album they did last year, they simply recreated every great rock album in classic and arena rock history. This may sound critical, but they did it in the same way bands like The Darkness and Wolfmother attacked Zepplin era methods of making rock albums. They're blues heavy rock sound has Stones like sensibility, and a delightful simplicity al la AC/DC. The guys from the band come from a generation that is now so indie heavy, and where innovative sound is the craze, they did something really different… they stayed the same. They don't do anything special here guys. Nothing new, or mind blowing. But they do what works, and they do it extremely well. Vocals from front man Joe Doyle reminds me of the character Mark Wahlberg played in the movie Rockstar. Joe could audition for any classic rock or arena rock tribute band and get the position 95% of the time. With a range like Brian Johnson, and a pitch that reminds me of Bret Michaels for some reason, he delivers lyrics with a meaningful honesty you can't help but believe. He's definitely doesn't sound exactly like any ONE person, but he has hints of about 10 people, just off the top of my head; Trent Reznor, becomes Bono, becomes Axel who slides into Vedder, and then hints at Grohl. Chunky, full guitar riffs from Doyle and lead guitarist Joshua Bucy (who also provides full harmonies on the back up vocals) kept my ears constantly pleased with what was entering them. Heavy and hard rhythm with tasteful licks riding along perfectly on heavy hits like Road to Ruin and Lipstick Cigarette show Bucy's pure rock sensibility, and his ability write a catchy riff, a skill all but lost in hard rock today. On the track Way Back Home, Bucy reminds America what bluesy rock riffs are all about. The rhythm section is held down by bassist Steve Byroad and stick man Ryan Burwell. While lost sometimes in the guitar heavy choruses, they form a tight pocket and do just enough in a genre polluted with too much rack play from their drummers and bass players who wish they played guitar. Sometimes the best compliment a drum and bass duo can get is that you didn't notice them. As a whole the band has a complete sound that might be enough for MTV2 type success. They show good work ethic; this album was recorded at Smoking Gun Recording Studio in Nashville over the course of 12 days. To those you know, I don't need to say more, and for those who don't, be impressed. The quality they got from working with engineer Jon King (Augustana, The October) are as good as they get in Music City. To a new resident of Indianapolis, The Last Good Year, and their self titled debut EP is evidence enough that the rock scene is alive in Indy. The Last Good Year has an approachable sound that will be enjoyed by fans from all rock genres. Check them out at

and on

If you like…

AC/DC, Foo Fighters, Van Halen, Guns 'n' Roses

...and you want to…

rock out like Appetite for Destruction just released

…then you should…

buy this album.

Nick Barr

ARIP Member, 2006
- Nick Barr - ARIP Member, 2006


The Last Good Year - (self titled) - 2008
Engineered/Produced by Jon King (The Rust, Darling Parade)

"Live at Birdy's" - 2011
Engineered by Mike Petrow



"I have to say that the first time I heard The Last Good Year I was blown away! Huge fan of their stylings and song writing, not to mention their chops. Singer's got some pipes as well, which in my book is always a plus. Great band and great group of guys." - Kevin Martin, Candlebox

"The songs are well written with great lryics and the band rocks live. Great group of guys and down for the cause. These guys are up and coming for sure." - Rick DeJesus, Adelitas Way.

"To me, The Last Good Year is one of the best new acts, that will probably out last most of the rest of bands, strictly because they've got the goods. These guys are the real deal, they're not faking it, and there's not a bunch of machines doing their work for them. I, personally, like what they do and the way they do it. If you're not a fan, it's because you've never seen them. As far as new bands go, I highly recommend them!!!" Jon E. Gee - Bass Player for John Mellencamp/ Ted Nugent

March 2012 - The Last Good Year's song "Steady Road" featured on ESPN's coverage on NCAA Baseball and Softball.

February 2012 - The Last Good Year played the Super Bowl Village in Indianapolis.

December 2010 - "Lipstick Cigarette" released on the Rock Band Network and available for download on xBox.

November 2010 - Winner of “Indy's Next Big Thing” sponsored by Q95 (classic rock station) and Jack Daniels. Made an appearance on nationally syndicated radio show “Bob and Tom” and played songs “Racecar Driver” and “You More Than Me” during broadcast.

Finalist in Alternative Addiction's "The Next Big Thing" - August 2009

Hard Rock Cafe "Ambassadors of Rock" Top 5 Finalist - May 2009 (Over 150 bands in 22 cities were narrowed down to 5 by industry experts like head judge Little Steven Van Zandt of the E Street Band, Planet Rock DJ Nicky Horne, Live Nation Vice President of Promotions Toby Leighton-Pope, SPIN Magazine editor Doug Brod and more)

TLGY has played in Indianapolis, Bloomington, Ft. Wayne, West Lafayette, Chicago, Grand Rapids, Detroit, Flint, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Louisville, Nashville, Atlanta, Birmingham, Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro, Richmond, Annapolis, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Brooklyn, Manhattan, St. Louis, Oklahoma City, Kansas City, Omaha, Lincoln, Austin, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Denver, and LA with bands such as Candlebox, Everclear, Jonny Lang, Seven Mary Three, Collective Soul, The Gracious Few, Alex Band, Jon McLaughlin, and Saliva.