Order up! Nah, it’s not a plate of collared greens and fried chicken, but it is food for your soul. It’s an organ lead cover of the Yardbird’s classic, For Your Love and it’s by request from a menu of over 500 songs the Seers have cataloged and laminated for your musical pleasure. The Seers are a great live cover band with the perfect recipe for crowd participation and enjoyment. The depth of their cover repertoire means they have a song for you and (usually with the help of a modest donation) all you got to do is call out your favorite cut from the menus floating around. But if you really know the Seers and you want to warm their hearts, you might call out one of the original tracks from their latest self-titled album The Seers. Here, we’ll even give you a list of their upcoming shows and song to yell out for the next time you see them live. This is Brian and Sean rocking out Precious Time in Old Town Square, Fort Collins.
What was the first song you learned to play individually, like when you were growing up?
Brian: “Great Balls of Fire” by Jerry Lee Lewis
Sean: “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica
Who are your biggest musical influences? Who are your favorite current artists, influential or not?
Brian: My biggest musical influences are probably the Beatles, Traffic, Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin, Ben Folds Five, Lyle Lovett, Tom Waits, … I could go on and on. My favorite current artists are Tool (not so influential on my songwriting, but fun to listen to) and this new artist Sean turned me onto called Rodriguez. He writes amazing lyrics and has been totally influential and and inspirational.
Sean: My biggest musical influences have been the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash, Ben Harper, and Bonnie Prince Billy. My favorite artists right now are probably Alt-J (out of the UK), Daft Punk’, and My Morning Jacket. All these are influential.
How did the Seers form? What’s your guys history together?
Sean: Brian and I got together in high school – after Brian’s sister Sara saw my friend Josh and I play at the senior keg party. Sara just had this crazy look in her eye as she told me that “you have GOT to play with my brother — he’s really good and he’s looking for people to play with like you.” My friend/bassist and I took her up on the offer and went up to the Collins’ house right about when I was graduating high school (2000). We just clicked that afternoon and had one of the best jams any of us had experienced.
After that, when we were coming back to Fort Collins (Brian went to UNC-Greeley for two years to study music and I went to MSU-Bozeman for a year to ski) it just made sense to keep on playing music. We started Wasabi with a couple of other great musicians we met at an Avo’s open mic, and had a great time becoming a what was recognized as “Colorado’s Best Jam Band” (Denver’s Westword and FoCoMA 2007). After Wasabi broke up, Brian and I kept on playing together and we started the Seers. We played with various drummers for about two years (2009-2011) before we decided to work as a duo (2011-Present).
I’ve seen the long list of covers you can play. How many songs do you guys know and how are you able to remember so many?
Sean: Well, we have a repertoire of over 500 cover songs and counting. And yeah, there’s a few tricks to being able to perform over 500 songs. But mostly, it’s Brian. Brian–who really holds down the repertoire–has perfect pitch and a really good memory. For songs that he’s heard growing up, all he has to do is remember them and he can play the basic structure– and then I just follow along. The second trick is that I have a giant book of about 200 songs – with chords and most importantly, lyrics. Brian can follow along or play the structure of nearly any song that he can hear in his head (which is a lot), but getting all the lyrics right is challenging. That is where my song books come in– and if all else fails, we have Google. I have been known to read lyrics of of my iPhone. So between us we have over 500 tunes and counting.
For Brian it’s really not that big of a deal that he knows so many songs (and doesn’t need a book) — but it really never ceases to amaze me, especially when someone requests some obscure tune that he can dig up from listening to it in the sixth grade. It’s crazy.
Brian, explain how you are like Ray Charles and how you are not like Ray Charles?
Brian: Well, beside the fact that I’m a blind musician, I’m not very much like Ray Charles. Musically, he writes catchy pop tunes and I’m writing more introspective, cathartic music that rewards patient listening. His songs are really snappy – and I’m still working on my ability to write honest songs in that style.
Who is better Ray Charles or Stevie Wonder?
Brian: I’m going to have to plead guilty here and confess that I do not know enough about the repertoire of either musician to make a judgment that I wouldn’t feel like an ass about. For whatever reason, I am not familiar enough with either Ray Charles or Stevie Wonder to judge.
Sean: Wait a minute – I know that you’ve reacted defiantly when people suggested to you that you could be the “next Ray Charles” or the “next Stevie Wonder” (Laughing)… So do you think that you intentionally didn’t seek out this music because you didn’t want to be another “blind piano player” like them?
Brian: (Laughing) Yeah – you’re right.. I did really react to that when I was young – in fact, I changed my main instrument from the keyboards to the drums because I wanted to be a rock and roll guy. I didn’t necessarily want to be the front man that got all the attention and sang and got his pictures taken and did interviews. I just wanted to be the guy in the back — you know, the real deal rock and roll. So I do think that maybe a part of my not knowing their music is a byproduct of my rebellion against the “blind piano player” thing. But also, probably more importantly, for whatever reason my parents didn’t have Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder in their collection. So I never heard their records growing up.
Sean, are you the eyes and Brian’s the ears or is there another dynamic, like he’s the hands that mold the clay and you’re the kiln that fires it?
Sean: Hmm. I’d say that it’s more like that Brian is the mind/memory and that I am eyes. Brian has the repertoire in his head – I can see the lyrics on the page; Brian’s vision of what we do and where we go is a big driver of our band; I’m the eyes that get us across the street and into the club, or sets the levels and hits the red button to record..
Brian: Yeah,.. I think also that I’m like the old, unchanging song reservoir and you, Sean, are like the new, changing, looking-up-the-lyrics to a contemporary song kind of guy. I’m staying close to my roots of classic rock, and you’re pushing us into alternative and indie directions. This is kind of reflected in the music we listen to also: I’m listening to Jethro Tull and Tool, and you’re listening to Tame Impala and the Helio Sequence – which are both awesome bands – but they don’t hit me like my classics do.
Tell us about your new album and your future plans for the band?
Sean: This album is really our first step as a more professional entity. We’ve release two other self-produced EPs in the past – Universal Tree (2010) and Hydra (2011) – but this record is more of a comprehensive picture of our work as songwriters and mulch-instrumentalists. Songs from this album span from 2006 to 2013, though the majority have been written in the last two years. We took seventeen of our best songs, recorded rough versions of all of them, and then picked the best thirteen, then the best eleven to present an album that flows into itself.
Brian: Yeah, we took care to order the songs in a way that had an impact if you listen to the whole record. For better or for worse, this is a record that rewards patience and attention of the listener. Some of the biggest, most cathartic moments of the record happen deep into it — and you kinda have to listen for it.
Sean: This album to me really feels like the first step of what we’re capable of. It is really great and we’re proud of it, but I know, based on what I’ve been hearing us come up with, that the next album is going to be stronger. We’ve learned a lot from this process, and the sophomore album is going to reflect that.
At this point, we’re going to stick to the full-length album formula to stay true to our artistic roots in classic rock. We’re looking to make more music videos, record more music and play more gigs. So yeah, the future is wide open, and we’ve been having a blast and plan to keep on building our corporate and wedding event clientele. We’re both making Fort Collins our home, so this music is only going to deepen and expand as the years go by.