THE STORY OF THE ANDERSONS!
Once upon a time-not really that long ago, there was a man who loved women. He loved them so much that over time he’d fathered children by a number of different women in a number of different States. Little did he know that the world of power pop was destined to bring at least some of these offspring together and to bust him for the sex-crazed womanizer he truly was.
One woman who lived in Toledo had a son she named Derrick, and gave him the father’s last name of Anderson. In Downey, California, another woman also had a boy who she named Bob, though she gave him the name of her husband, Rist. Yet another also gave birth to a boy in Detroit, and he was named Bill O’Brien. All three of these young lads grew up with a love and talent for playing popular music. Young Derrick became a bass player, following in the footsteps of Danny Partridge (though he claims his choice of instrument might also have been influenced by a certain English player with the surname of McCartney). At the same time, Bill decided to play guitar and sing and he fronted several bands in his hometown of Detroit. As a young boy, Rob (aka Robbie) became an actor, but once in his teens he gave up the acting to be a fulltime musician. None of these young boys knew of each other, or knew much of their father except for the picture he’d left behind after his trysts with the various women he had loved. That was until fate bought them together on a cold, winter’s day in L.A. in 1995.
“I’d moved to L.A. a couple of years earlier and had been kicking around in bands,” Derrick explains, “and then decided I wanted to find other like-minded musicians and form my own group.” Derrick placed an ad in the Recycler, which was immediately answered by both Bob and Bill. The three made plans to meet at Derrick’s house and that was when history was made.
“We’re sitting in his living room, and I’m looking around and I see this picture on the wall of this guy and I almost flipped,” explains Bob. “It was a picture of my Dad. Not just a picture. The same picture my Mom had given me when she’d explained about my conception.” Bob immediately asked Derrick what the f*** he was doing with a picture of his father. Considering how little they looked alike, they started to argue the reality of the situation until Bill, in an attempt to put off any band in-fighting at least until they played a couple of gigs, got up and checked out the offending photo in an effort to decide which was truly the son. Imagine his surprise when he too recognized the shot.
“It was the exact same photo my mom had in OUR living room,” Bill explained. “She’d told me it was the only picture she had of my real Dad.” Phone calls home to the three Moms determined that these three musical strangers were indeed half brothers, and since the Dad’s last name was Anderson, the name of their group was born.
Long lost brother & drummer Marc is the wild child who stumbled upon his brothers after getting into a bit of mischief with some hooligans in New Orleans. Yes, he’s the Anderson with unflattering mug shots and a petite rap sheet.
A player and teacher of all things percussive, Marc studied with jazz patriarch Ellis Marsalis. “Ellis was giving hell to some piano player when Ellis’ son Branford popped his head into class and said, ‘Hey pop, can I borrow five bucks?’ Ellis looked at the class and said, ‘Rule number one: Never have kids.’
With all essential elements now in place, their infectious good-time music and playful onstage antics made them favorites in the Southern California pop scene of the late 90’s/early aughts. Past drummers included long lost brother Marcos de la Cruz Anderson and distant cousin Brian Bawinkel. Their critically acclaimed first album “Separated at Birth” roused the attention of Smile Records founder/President Tony Valenziano. “When I first came up with the whole idea of a power pop label, I knew The Andersons would be one of my first signings,” Valenziano admits. “Anyone aware of how popular this genre is becoming is aware of them and I didn’t feel I could start this label if they weren’t an integral part of its launch.” Their Smile Records release “Family Secrets” is an impressive follow-up to their debut CD. Their guitar driven brand of pop makes the songs more than your average pop ditties.
In addition to their own albums, The Andersons! have been featured on numerous groovy-to-the-max compilations. Highlights include tracks on Closet Pop Freak (USA Pop Psycle Records), Pop Under The Surface Vol. 2 (on Sweden’s Yesterday Girl Records), Bam Balam Explosion Vol. V (on Spain’s Bam Balam Records), Shadows Breaking Over Our Heads(Left Banke tribute CD, on Canada’s Apollo Records), Left Of The Dial (The Replacements tribute CD, USA Face Down Records), and Coming Up: Independent Artists Pay Tribute to the Music of Paul McCartney (USA Oglio Records), Right to Chews (Bubblegum Classics Revisited, USA Not Lame Records), Substitution Mass Confusion (The Cars Tribute CD, USA Not Lame Records). Andertunes have also been used on the WB network show Dawson’s Creek and the feature film Pretty Cool.
Though The Andersons’ shared a father—yeah, the dude was a notorious rogue with an obviously intense music gene—and various mothers obviously didn’t adhere to the Marsalis Rules of Non-Procreation, and the DNA results are still out, for Bill, Bob, Derrick and Marc, power pop is way thicker than water. This is music for the ages, music that anyone who enjoys real rock and roll will appreciate.