Watters Brothers
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Watters Brothers

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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"Watters Brothers ‘gel’ and create great sounds"

When folks hear Muddy Watters name, they generally think of the blues legend, not the skinny white rock and roll guitarist. But that’s about to change.

Ottawa’s version of Muddy Watters is making a name for himself, along with the Watters Brothers with brother Dan, with their brand new album Rock and Roll Mansion.

“We started of as a classic retro rock band but when we went to a two-piece, we started messing with electronics to fill out the songs,” Watters explains. “Record labels don’t build artists anymore the way they used to. You have to know exactly what you’re doing if you intend to make it in this business today. Dan and I are hoping that this CD will get radio play, and the attention of a big producer.”

Recorded in their Centretown home, the aforementioned Rock and Roll Mansion, the studio where they recorded their previous three records, Rock and Roll Mansion harkens back to top-40 radio.

With Danny on keyboards, percussion and vocals, and Muddy on guitar and vocals, the tunes cover a wide-range of popular genres, from prog-rock, disco and funk to new wave, music hall, emo and punk, but all tastefully blended with covers of some of their older tunes such as Hard Working Man and Big Guns, just to show off what musical tricks they can do now.

Perhaps it’s the high ceilings, plaster moldings and old Victorian charm of the Centretown villa they’ve converted into a studio that feels like home that’s given the music such a warm glow.

Or maybe because there’s no furniture to speak of.

“There’s no place to really sit with friends. Instruments and cables are everywhere. It’s a place tailor-made for jamming and recording.”

The good vibe is paying off.

After beefing up their live sound with bass player David Ranger and drummer Brian McHale, the Watters Brothers took a run at the Live 88.5 “Big Money Shot” drive for best band last year, finishing second in the finals to Autumn’s Canon, coincidentally, the same position they finished in the year before, and using the $5,000 they won to finance the record.

That wasn’t their only good news. Their single Life Is a Gas went top-10 on Virgin Radio.

Now that the new record’s out, the Watters Brothers are gearing up for a national tour.

That got them gigs on Bluesfest’s main stage two years running.

No coincidence, says Watters. The creative chemistry’s good between the two brothers.

“Playing with Dan is easy,” he says. “We gel automatically because we’ve been playing together for so long, there’s a shorthand between us. It isn’t easy going from heavy rock band to a two-piece. I only could have done it with Dan.” You know what they say about families that play together.

Give a listen at wattersbrothersradio.com or go to their MySpace site.

The Watters Brothers play the Elmdale Tavern at 1084 Wellington St. West on Friday, Feb. 18 at 9 p.m. with Ornaments, Little Stella and Those Gulls. - By DENIS ARMSTRONG, Ottawa Sun


"The Mansion family Muddy and Danny Watters have their own way to rock"

by Allan Wigney

To hear Muddy Watters tell it, one might think he and brother Danny constructed their latest album around the title.

“We were approached by a record label in Montreal to do this album there,” the Watters Brothers guitarist relates. “So we went down there and recorded five or six songs in a couple of days. But it just didn’t seem right to us to do a CD called Rock and Roll Mansion, not actually in the Rock and Roll Mansion. It just didn’t feel right.”

The Rock and Roll Mansion, since you asked, is the home studio that has been the site of previous blues-infused rock recordings by Muddy and his multi-instrumentalist brother. And if a band must name an album after a studio, it could do worse than to go with Rock and Roll Mansion. (Besides, Abbey Road and Electric Ladyland were taken.)

“The idea,” Muddy continues, “was for it to be some message of what the Rock and Roll Mansion is, and what we were doing in the Rock and Roll Mansion. So we wanted to have the feel of some of the older stuff as well, because a lot of the newer stuff is more electronic.”

As electronic, that is, as Synthesizer City, a downright discofied take on the Watters’ blues-rock sound. The result, like several of those newer songs on Rock and Roll Mansion, recalls the gritty funk magnificence of Miss You era Rolling Stones — and contributes to an eclectic sound that points to new directions for the brothers.

“It’s hard to stick to one sort of sound for us,” Muddy observes. “We’ve always enjoyed just, whatever comes out comes out. People say you need to have a certain sound, or to sell a certain brand of music to a certain market. But we always just wanted to make rock music. And there’s a lot that can fit into a rock style.”

Indeed, the duo — now officially a quartet, Danny’s bass and drum parts now handled respectively by David Ranger and Brian McHale — proved rock enough to recently make it to the finals of Live 88.5’s Big Money Shot. “I think they’re just looking for something to fit in there between Nickelback and Three Days Grace or something,” Muddy says of the contest. “And they kept saying our sound is just a little on the edge, a little more out there.”

The Watters brother seems OK with that. And he is without doubt grateful for the big-enough money the band earned from making it to the finals. But if commercial radio neglects to fully embrace The Watters Brothers this time around, Muddy and Danny are prepared even to do the unthinkable.

“I’ve been thinking that trying to do a studio record might be the next step for us,” Muddy reveals, “just to see if the quality is there. We’ve had our fun doing our own thing, but I want to see if there’s a major difference between what we can accomplish in our home studio and what we can accomplish with someone who’s got all the right buttons and knobs.”

All they have to do is find the right album title. The studio will follow. - The Wig


"Watters Bros bet the house on Rock Mansion"

The Watters Brothers band has hit full riot mode with their third album – a 13 track self-released juggernaut of blues and electronic suffused rock anthems entitled Rock and Roll Mansion.

For the brothers, Muddy (31 years) and Danny (28), the last five years aspiring as a rock band in Ottawa has been a full-on immersion. Their very own rock and roll mansion – a clapboard duplex in Centretown that houses little more than instruments, sleeping materials, and a fully dedicated recording space – adorns the front cover of the latest release. A fitting reference to their number one point of focus, the photo is a statement in itself.

“This is what we do,” says Muddy, definitively. “Anybody ever asks what I do, I just say ‘listen to my music’ – that’s pretty much our thing. If you ever came by, you would see that you have to sit by the drum kit or something because there is no couch or waiting room or anything. This place is pretty much a studio. It’s takes over the whole house, which is how we like it.”

The Watters Bros themselves have been on an unceasing stomp to take over, at least in local music competitions and on radio, with their trip to the finals of the 2010 Big Money Shot, a top-10 song on Virgin Radio, and success in the Canadian Radio Star contest already bringing them to the precipice of breakthrough.

In addition, the band has played two Bluesfest editions, opening for Cake and Sean Kingston, and has a great supporter in the management at Wakefield’s esteemed Black Sheep Inn.

“I think we sort of lucked out, as we’ve had great support from Paul at the Black Sheep,” explains Muddy. “He really likes us and I think had a lot to do with getting our Bluesfest gigs. He’s asked us again to do the CD release at his place, which was a nice surprise. We weren’t really wondering where we were going to release it, but he had a word with us after hearing the record and we just immediately said ‘let’s do it.’”

Raised in the Ottawa Valley by a music-obsessed father and tantric sex writer/instructor mother, the boys were fully supported from their earliest musical endeavours, eventually scoring gigs in a blues band with their father.

“Our dad was clearly into music – I mean he called me Muddy Watters, you know?” Muddy says, chuckling. “He would wake us up in the middle of the night and play Jimi Hendrix records, just like ‘get up, get up, you’ve got to hear this!’ So we were into music right away, but initially tried to set ourselves apart by making a lot of rap music, then punk, and eventually some film scores.

“Now we actually play in a band with my dad, a blues band called Phlegm. We’ve done a lot of gigs, it was his idea, but our father was never pushy about doing this as a career. If anything, he was more concerned if we got into the career, if it would be a very good idea.”

The road to “making it” in the music business is an oft-mapped route of rocks, pitfalls, and near misses. With the $5,000 second prize in the Big Money Shot, the Watters Brothers were achingly inches away from the truly liberating $250,000 first prize. Sanguine but not bitter at their loss, the Brothers credited sponsoring radio station Live 88.5 in the Rock and Roll Mansion liner notes. Near misses can have a silver lining too, Muddy believes.

“We didn’t get the big cash, I guess they said we were on the edge, but not completely Nickelback or whatever they want in that style,” he reveals. “But they’ve been really good and supportive of us, and the money we received basically paid for making, distributing and packaging the record. We hope to use the rest of it on a tour at some stage.

“To get into the mainstream, I guess it depends on the writing. There is a certain formula for what commercial radio is. I don’t really listen to the radio much, preferring my own mix of all sorts of genres, but I guess if you really, really want to be a commercial success than you simply have to listen to the radio and make something like that.

“There’s a certain sound that they want. [Live 88.5] told us that they dig the show and band, but felt the songwriting was basically on the edge. Whatever, that’s fine, that’s cool. When you try and write, you have to think what you want to hear and not what’s expected. I don’t see it as a disappointment.”

With three albums under their belt – all of them self-produced at the “Rock Mansion” – and satisfactory progress in major contests and on local radio, the band is finally able to put slightly more emphasis on small details of refinement. Representation, studio albums, and tours seem to be a logical graduation. In fact, Rock and Roll Mansion nearly occurred independent of its namesake, with a Montreal label first vying for rights of release.

“We actually started this album with some sessions in Montreal, and the recordings were pretty cool,” says Muddy. “The offer was pretty tempting: they set us up, let us crash there, and recorded a few of our songs. But it just didn’t seem right to me to do an album called Rock and Roll Mansion and not use the actual rock and roll mansion.

“It’s tough to say when a label asks you, because it’s got to be right for you. They are going to put up money and they will expect it back. With the industry these days – the CD sales and that – you’ve really got to think about what team you want to be a part of. Maybe this album will be the last we do from our own mansion.”

In the meantime, one can expect these brothers to pursue their particular rebellion without hesitation. One of their earliest hits, “We’re going to make it,” directly proscribed their personal philosophy of “living it hard and fast.” With a ready-made mansion at their disposal, a spanking new album, and dollars and sense to fuel them after the Big Money Shot experience, the boys are living the rocker lifestyle loose as a favourite zoot suit.

“It’s easy to rock and roll all the time, but you have to stay alive!” says Muddy, chuckling. “That lyric is all about the parties and things like that, but it’s always been our way to enjoy every moment in life we have. The mansion is a great place for people to come and celebrate that, but I now find that I’m far more productive if I buckle down on all the A&R things, get the rest, and make things happen.

“You have to keep your head and your health if you want to stay successful in this biz, but I think it’s the same for every musician – you have to be a little crazy and wild if you even consider a career in music!”
Story by Cormac Rea; photos by Alexander Vlad

- Martyr Magazine


"Rocking The Watters"

Truth be told, I wasn't expecting all that much from Rock and Roll Mansion, the new full-length from The Watters Brothers. I don't mean that in a bad way -- just that, going by past experience/the title of the album/the band's persona, I was sure the album was just going to be a straight-up retro-rock album, something that looked to The Stones and The Who for inspiration and not much else.

You can imagine my surprise, then, when opening track "Lost Underground" came blasting out of my speakers, and my very first thought was Beck. Or when I heard the mumbly sort-of-rap halfway through "Walkin' In The City". Or at the post-punk tinge of "Falling Off The World". Or...well, you probably get the idea. It's clear that while Rock and Roll Mansion is many things, being slavishly devoted to music from four and five decades ago isn't one of them.

Which isn't to say it doesn't have its moments of retro-ness. "Big Guns", for example, pretty much operates solely on a single entendre, cock-rocking level. Similarly, "Seize The Day" is pretty straightforward blues-rock.

But it's notable that these songs are the exception, not the rule. I honestly wouldn't have thought that the band I saw four years ago had it in them to evolve in any way. As Rock and Roll Mansion demonstrates time and again, I was wrong. The Watters Brothers have evolved, and they've become a band absolutely worth listening to. - i(heart)music


"Testing the Watters"

Unwittingly channelling The Doors, The Allman Brothers, and a drug culture from an era before they were born, The Watters Brothers Rebellion operates in a strange time warp. Their sound is future-vintage -- all combustible and psychedelic with a rooting in classic rock 'n' roll and with a lashing of sweet, hummable pop.

Their live show is full of stage tricks: a backing band swells to include brass and an array of percussive instruments. They even do the double drum-kit thing, for a bit of trippy stage symmetry. With a fine groove, and a unifying goal of reviving butterfly collars, they turn every curious onlooker into a fan.

You might have heard the track Hard Working Man on rock radio, with its sweet oo-oo-oo-ah-oo trill. It appears on the band's new disc, The Watters Brothers Rebellion ... and Their Secret Experiments. The disc was self-produced and mastered by Jordan Zadorozny on the brothers' Rock and Roll Mansion imprint.

It's a wild bag of sonics from the brothers, Danny, 24, and Muddy, 27 (Muddy is his real name; dad's a blues fan). The sibs are two of six, raised in a Douglas, Ont., farmhouse. Dad, who makes guest appearances as Papa Pat Watters, taught at St. Joe's in Renfrew, while Mom Pala Copeland teaches tantric sex and wrote The Complete Idiot's Guide to Supercharged Kama Sutra. It's no mystery where the bluesy grind and kinetic energy come from. - The Ottawa Citizen, Thursday, August 16, 2007


"That's What's Up!"

When it comes to rock and roll, many bands play it but few can stage it. "Some guys may sound good, but do they look cool on stage?" asks Watters Brothers Rebellion frontman Muddy.

"Do they stand still on stage? Do they look like nerds? Are they dressing up? Are they choreographing something, or are they up there plugging in their guitars and talking to their buddies in the front row? It's about putting on a professional show that compares with major acts. That's where our attitude is when it comes to music. We go nuts," he tells XPress.

Muddy and brother Danny play '60s-spirited psychedelic rock'n'roll infused with a blues groove, some country, soul and gospel. Discerning connoisseurs could compare them to '90s Glaswegian gods Primal Scream for the vintage-futuristic meld. So how the hell did the Watters Brothers tap into the same trip that transforms musicians into timeless rock stars and turns "the rock concert" into a rock'n'roll fantasy land?

"We've done a lot of crazy drugs," the Brothers candidly admit. They've ingested illegal substances, bottled the lightning and channelled their experiences into songs that appear on their recently released debut, the aptly titled: The Watters Brothers Rebellion... And Their Secret Experiments.

The album opens with the anthemic We're Gonna Make It and its infectious line "We live hard, we live fast/ Don't know how long it'll last," and travels through Hard Working Man (that's already seeing radio play) and eight other songs that'll blow yer mind.

The Watters Brothers Rebellion play with The Sick Fits on Saturday, September 29, at The Rainbow. - Ottawa XPress, September 27th, 2007


"The Watters Brothers Rebellion Gathers Momentum"

"You've reached the Watters Brothers Rock'n'Roll Mansion, please hold."
That's the answering machine's line, before the callers hears organ music for ten seconds, then is asked to leave a message.
The Watters rent our their so-called mansion in Ottawa's Centretown, near Chinatown, where they eat, sleep and drink music.
"Actually we're getting complaints from the neighbours," admits Muddy Watters, 27, who along with Danny, 24, occupy the residence, which includes a little 10-by-10 foot studio.
"We've been pretty lucky, and there hasn't been too much difficulty. But after a show, we party and have a big celebration and the neighbours get a little upset."
Thus continues the life of the Watters Brothers who had reason to celebrate Aug 18, with their CD release party at Ottawa's Barrymores, and who will share more of that music during a two hour show at the Renfrew Recreation Centre this Saturday.

First CD Release
August's release of The Watters Brothers Rebellion . . . and their secret experiments is the highlight, so far, of the musical career of the brothers, who grew up in Douglas with their other four siblings, and plan on growing that career, possibly with a brief tour next year.
The CD is self-produced and mastered by Pembroke's Jordan Zadorozony, who has done work for one of Canada's most renowned musicians, Sam Roberts.
The CD is a varied, if not wild, mix that includes such songs as We're Going to Make It and Hard Working Man, which won a national songwriting contest two years ago and has received substantial play on CHCU and other Ottawa radio stations.
Hard Working Man is about working, struggling, dirnking and being with your girl, just working out the struggle in life.
Whatever the songs, they're often collaborations of the brothers who've been close for years.
"We just grew up together," says Danny.
"As brothers, we're always hangin out, he was looking out for me, and we always shared the same friends. And we always played music together," adds Danny, who started piano lessons at age 9 and got his first set of drums at 13.
Meanwhile, they continue their day jobs, assembling Smart Boards for an Ottawa firm, and eating, thinking and making music constantly.
It's just what they do, partly because they grew up with their dad, just-retired St. Joseph's High School teacher, Pat Watters.
He was instrumental in the birth of the Blues Guys staff-student band at the school, while the Douglas farm gave them good reason to sit around and play music together for hours at night.

Performers for Saturday's Show
'Papa' Pat Watters will also be part of Saturdays' show.
Other band members, Jason 'Smooth Jay' Gerald, bass guitarist and drummer Hamish Robertson will also be joined by St. Joe's musicians Dave Rowat and Don MacLeod, sister-in-law Jenny Watters and possibly young brother, Eric, with a special appearance on the saxophone. Muddy, as usual, is on guitar; Danny on drums and keyboard.
The show should be an ecletic musical mix, with rap, punk, rock and roll, hip-hop, heavy metal and hardcore.
"We're trying to put up something that's kind of cool, kind of psychedelic. . . You can't say it's folk, or rock, or punk. It's all us," says Muddy of their music in general.
"There's lots of influences and a lot of them are obvious," he adds, acknowledging such influences as The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones.
The show is expected to run from 7:30 to about 10 pm. - The Renfrew Mercury, October 16, 2007


"Extra Wattage"

The Watters Brotherswere the opening band at The Coggs' CD release show. They like that 1960s soul rock sound (they cite The Who, Jime Hendrix and Rolling Stones among their influences ... I might add early Small Faces, and shouters like the Cops'n'Robbers, etc.); they made me think of The Chambers Brothers.
Lots of stage action from these guys - some might say they're a little on the hammy side (but no more than, say, Jon Spencer). Their next show is at Babylon June 24. - National Capitol Rock, May 29, 2006, natcaprock.blogspot.com


"The Watters Brothers Rebellion CD Launch"

On August 18th four very good things took place at Barrymore's. For The Mathematics, The Carps, and The Watters Brothers Rebellion delivered three of those things in the form of high powered sets all very tight, and very unique. The fourth was that money raised at the event was sent to the good people at Doctors Without Borders for the work they're doing in Darfur.

Various guests joined them on stage including the originator of it all, Papa Pat Watters himself who handled bass when the aforementioned bluesiness took place. The Felines also pounced at one point providing backup vocals for the boys, lodging catchy hooks into everyone's brains that stuck for days.

The theme of the evening was not forgotten and two organizers spoke mid-sets to discuss the ongoing genocide taking place in Sudan and what people can do to pressure the government into doing something about it. Form letters were available for signing and as mentioned before, profits from the night were given to Doctors Without Borders for the heroic work they're doing there. PP - Upfront Magazine September 2007 - issue #13


"Watters Brothers Rebellion"

Musicians Muddy and Danny Watters of the Watters Brothers Rebellion step on stage at Babylon Nite Club Saturday, Sept. 15 at 9 p.m. Originally from the Northwest Territories, the pair came to live in Centretown thress years ago. Last month, they launched their full-length debut album at Barrymore’s Music Hall, titled “The Watters Brothers Rebellion . . . and their secret experiments.” Their style borrows from the great eras of the 60s and 70s, with their own funk mixed into the equation, bringing an exquisite delivery.

The Watters Brothers Rebellion’s performance is part of a large show being organized by local promoter and artist Marcus Lamoureux called “Bonanza”.

For $15, you can enjoy a night of live music from other bands like The Coggs, The Ryde (from Toronto), Machine Gun Dolly, and Bear Claps.

NBSP; - The Centretown Buzz, September 14, 2007


"Blues Brothers: growing up Watters"

Ottawa band The Watters Brothers Rebellion worships at the altar of Jimi Hendrix, playing dirty blues-rock with abandon. Their show is electric and entertaining, thanks to the time-warp trip of watching Danny (drums/vox) and Muddy Watters (git/lead vox) -- two dudes who leaped off the cover of an Allman Brothers album -- rock out, along with their modern-day bassist Hamish "H-Man" Robertson. He wears a belt with a programmable LCD-ticker buckle. At a mid-week Zaphod Beeblebrox show, he had it set to read "I Appeal to Drunk Chicks." It's the most printable setting; word is his parents were in the audience.

The rest of the gang -- Smooth Jay Gerald (vocals), Peter Walther (guitar), Dusty Walther (saxophone and brother to Peter) -- comes in late in the gig, playing an array of percussive instruments. With a fine groove (and a unifying goal of reviving the frilly blouse) they turned the set into a modern funk 'n' roll show. It's the best fun you'll have on a weeknight.

"We play anything that sounds good -- we like to have good, high-energy music, but we like to bring it down too; music that makes you wanna dance, music that makes you wanna get it on -- all kinds of stuff," says Muddy Watters (yup, it's written that way on his health card and he's heard all the jokes). He's the elder, blonde brother at 27. Danny Watters is 24, yet their bandmates are convinced they are twins; of the same brain, eerily close and musically aligned. Anyone who's heard the track Hard Working Man on rock radio will have heard Danny's sweet oo-oo-oo-ah-oo trill.

The Watters brothers are two of six siblings who grew up in a Douglas, Ont., farmhouse. Dad (a.k.a. Papa Pat Watters) is a teacher at St. Joe's in Renfrew, when not playing bass and acoustic guitar with his kids as the Blues Guys. Mom Pala Copeland teaches tantric sex and recently released The Complete Idiot's Guide to Supercharged Kama Sutra -- Illustrated with her partner Al Link. Peculiar sitcom similarities aside, growing up like this, is it any wonder where all the bluesy grind and kinetic energy came from?

"These two are really crazy," Peter Walther says, gesturing to Danny and Muddy. "They're incredible -- you don't see brothers like that very often." The Watters Brothers Rebellion plays The Live Lounge, 1261/2 York St., 9 o'clock tonight with Shorthand and R-Mistake. $5. - The Ottawa Citizen, Thursday, February 08, 2007


"The Watters Brothers Rebellion"

The Watters Brothers Rebellion have just released their debut CD, . . . . .and their secret experiments (Independent), and it is a throwback. Moving effortlessly through country on the opener “We’re Gonna Make It” to straight ahead blues on “Hard Working Man” to land – and almost permanently settle – in 70s psychedelic garage in “Walking Talking Wet Dream”, the three first tracks of this record speak volumes to what must be not only an encyclopedic knowledge of – or at least a deep devotion to – everything that made music great before the 80s tore us apart with the abuse of synthesizers and cocaine. There is very little noise pollution on this album, unless it is expressly called for.

The Bros, Danny and Muddy – no not the dead blues guy, but it is an homage – are ably assisted on this record by what seems to be their extended family, and a talented one it is at that. If this is what they do the first time out of the gate – and having heard much more garage-oriented new songs in their arsenal live – maybe the duo can help revive the seemingly dormant Ottawa garage scene. JP - Upfront Magazine October 2007


Discography

1.The Watters Brothers Rebellion ...and their Secret Experiments

2.The Brothers Young Rebels

3.Watters Brothers Rock and Roll Mansion

*single "Life Is A Gas" was a top ten hit on Virgin Radio and won the Canadian Radio Star contest.

Photos

Bio

The Watters Brothers are a full time musical group who have been deeply involved in the Ottawa music scene for the past six years.

Noted as one of Ottawa's best up and coming acts by the Ottawa Citizen, Ottawa Express, and Exclaim magazine, the Watters Brothers have three albums independently written, performed, produced, and distributed; all created in their own studio, the “Rock and Roll Mansion”.

Some recent accomplishments:

• performed at the Ottawa Bluesfest 2008, 2009 and 2011
• wrote and produced a top ten commercial hit "Life Is A Gas"
• won the regional Canadian Radio Star Contest
• were awarded $20 000 from Live 88.5 Big Money Shot

Airplay for their songs includes CBC, Virgin, The Bear, Live 88.5, CHUO, CKCU, CKDJ, Valley Heritage and MyFM. The Watters Brothers also have a licensing contract with Popguru and Eggplant Productions in Toronto.

The Watters Brothers live act has recently evolved and now includes a bass player and drummer creating an entirely new energy and bringing new dynamics to their already fabulous sound.