Lord Landspeed ready to rock Brothers
By Doug Hill
It’s a recognized positive when any gathering is comprised of members who share simpatico with each other. Norman rock 'n' roll band Lord Landspeed has that desirable trait.
Lead vocalist and guitarist Jared Usry, drummer/ back up vocalist Scott Young and bassist Ben Carter have been friends since grade school and played together in other outfits much of that time. Some of their current original material comes from an abandoned project called Living Daylights that was practiced in a Slaughterville auction barn with no amenities. Usry moved to Tucson, Ariz., for a time and when he returned to Norman earlier this year they reformed as Lord Landspeed.
“It’s a totally random band name that came either from a dream or the ether or somewhere,” Usry said.
The music they play is melodic hard rock. They embrace hearing “Lord Landspeed” said in the same sentence as Foo Fighters, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Cheap Trick.
“I won’t even write a song and present to Ben and Scott if it doesn’t have a memorable hook to it,” Usry said. “I want it to stick in your head in some way.”
Lord Landspeed presently has a solid songbook posted at ReverbNation. The compositions recall Grand Funk Railroad, Mountain and Little Feat from decades ago and modern bands such as Bang Camaro and Switchfoot. The appeal is there for classic rock fans but Lord Landspeed’s own generation raised on discordant noise rock with mystifying lyrics is another matter.
“It’s fun music and we’ve had good response from all different kinds of people,” Carter said. “My wife is my harshest critic and even she says our new songs are good. If she doesn’t like something it’s like having your butt hairs pulled out one at a time.”
Spousal torment aside, Lord Landspeed is going for a sound that audiences can dance to and enjoy for the uncomplicated American rock 'n' roll goodness. A salient part of their formula is being a power trio with fewer instruments rather than having another guitar and perhaps keyboards, which is typical.
“It’s about putting the old school elements back together,” Usry said. “There’s a ‘less is more’ thing with a three-piece band.”
Guitarist Usry has matured past bombastic, interminable guitar solos and too many power chords into the bare-bones essentials.
“Jared has gotten so good he doesn’t need to prove himself as a quality guitar player,” Carter said. “We’re over who has the biggest Johnson phase of our careers.”
Loud and fast certainly has its place in rock 'n' roll but anything can be overdone. Lord Landspeed have learned that lesson and how to apply it to a trio.
“I like to let the songs breathe and fewer instruments actually make for a fatter sound,” Usry said.
One key is drummer Young’s uncommon ability to add back-up vocals while in full percussion frenzy. This trait earned high praise from his band mates and it contributes to their power.
“He’s an all-around musician who knows exactly where to put the accent in the vocal chorus,” Usry said.
Their talents amalgamate and work remarkably well as a whole. Songs such as Lord Landspeed’s “Too Young to Die” and “Into the Sun,” achieve attractive rock intensity with a melody to hum later at work and no mystery over what the lyrics mean. They do it all in 240 seconds or less per tune.
The band share what they’re listening to by other musicians and look for ways to incorporate new tricks into the bag. The trio aspect of Lord Landspeed doesn’t allow for much to be hidden during live performances.
“It makes each of us accountable,” Carter said. “I can’t hide and say it was the lead guitar player who f----- up a chord change.”
Having known each other and played together for so long has given them an intuitive sense for avoiding musical pratfalls
“Truth is an important part of who Lord Landspeed is,” Carter said. “We don’t have anything to settle egotistically and we want our listeners to hear that without using a razor to dissect everything we play.”
They’re unapologetic about original, striking melodies and approachable lyrics. Don’t expect gimmicks or anything fancy-schmancy at Lord Landspeed’s show tomorrow night. Do expect straight-up, no-chaser American rock 'n' roll.
If You Go:
What: Lord Landspeed in concert with openers Ivy Mike and Fire Wolf.
Where: Brothers Eatery and Pub, 563 Buchanan Ave.
When: 10 p.m. Aug. 24
Lord Landspeed's Jared Usry (l) and Ben Carter are solid partners in rock.