ABOUT BAD BREAKS
Bad Breaks is the solo project of drummer/graphic designer Chuck Kerr, a fixture on the San Antonio music scene.
Kerr took up the drums at the age of 3, following in his dad Charlie’s footsteps. A music lover from an early age, Kerr grew up studying jazz and also listening to his favorite pop, rock, and indie records — all of which have a direct influence on Bad Breaks’ eclectic sound. After graduating from St. Mary’s University in 2007 with a degree in Music Performance, Kerr was a founding member of the S.A. Jazz Workshop (2009). Now 28, Kerr contributes to some of SA’s top local bands: We Leave at Midnight, the Tiago Splitters, Nicolette Good, and more. He has also collaborated with Gordon Raphael (The Strokes, Regina Spektor), Dante Schwebel (Hacienda), and Ricky Berger. Kerr is endorsed by C&C Custom Drums, joining a roster of drummers from bands such as Spoon, Arcade Fire, Grizzly Bear, The National, Beach House, Beck, Modest Mouse, and others.
As an in-demand drummer, Kerr has racked up an impressive number of credits and collaborators in his time on the scene, but Bad Breaks is the first project that is entirely Kerr’s “baby.” Kerr writes and arranges all Bad Breaks material on piano, creating complete demos that he then brings to the band and attempts to break the stereotype that drummers can’t write good songs.
Kerr’s collaborators in Bad Breaks are also among San Antonio’s top talent, often pulling double duty in some of the city’s best bands: Alex Wash on keys (Black Magic and the Full Exposé), Ryan Teter on bass and trombone (Mission Complete!), and Marcus Rubio on guitar (Cartographers).
Bad Breaks features 11 genre-straddling originals written by Kerr, ranging from spiky new wave (“Seppuku,” “Chapter and Verse”), rhythmic meditations (“Won’t Come Home,” “Only Distance”), soulful rock ‘n’ roll (“Get it Right,” “Victoria”), and even a dip into a jazzy piano bar (“Something True”). “The Way Things Are” even recalls moody ’70s yacht rock, complete with piercing tenor sax solos. But all of it is linked by Kerr’s uncanny rhythmic feel and an ear for pop hooks. Kerr played drums on all tracks, and keys on “Something True,” “The Way Things Are,” “Good For Me,” and “Only Distance.”
Bad Breaks is produced by Jaime Rader (Morris Orchids) and Kerr, with Rader recording, mixing and mastering all 11 tracks at his home studio. Rader is the go-to producer for a tight-knit circle of San Antonio bands, and used his engineering skills to capture Bad Breaks’ unique, unpredictable live sound. The result is an album that pulses with intensity, even during quieter moments.
“At its best, Bad Breaks is dangerously sexy grooves, precise playing, and a naively weary narrator caught between glimpses of love and waves of stultifying heat.” — James Courtney, San Antonio Current
“Indie-rock that pretty much ignores categories while drawing from pop, jazz, straight-up rock and combinations thereof. Songs including ‘Victoria,’ ‘Won’t Come Home’ and ‘Red Lips’ are clever and catchy and prove Kerr has done a fine job of nurturing his musical baby.” — Jim Beal Jr., San Antonio Express-News
“If one musician could be considered the nucleus of indie rock in San Antonio, it’s probably drummer-for-hire Chuck Kerr. … Kerr’s musical approach is often convergent, academic, and daftly simple. Opener ‘Victoria’ channels the same beat that opens ‘Billie Jean’ because Kerr thinks one of the best pop songs of all time proves all you really need is a kick and a snare. Similarly, ‘Good for Me’ hawks half of Spoon’s catalog with piano lines that sound pounded out with only index fingers. He also built yacht rock slow-burner ‘The Way Things Are’ around the bassline from Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Dreams.’” — Adam Coronado, Stomping Grounds blog
“‘Chapter and Verse‘ features a simple electric-keys riff that the San Anto outfit uses as a vehicle to shred. There’s brutal, honest emotion latent in the lyrics (‘I don’t want to hear the words you carefully rehearsed/ Still you give them to me chapter and verse’) that the band reflects in their visceral approach towards the song’s ending, when all lets loose into one of the heaviest highlights of the album.” — KRTU 91.7 FM Indie Overnight Blog
“Chuck Kerr … makes singing and swatting the snare look easy. For fans of Spoon, Tom Waits and Elvis Costello, Bad Breaks is breaking down sonic barriers with their fusion of pop, noise, and rock ‘n’roll. With a new album … the guys of Bad Breaks are sharing the secret to keeping rock ‘n’ roll exciting in the Alamo City.” — Michael Botsford, host of WOAI.com’s The Garage
“With his whole life up until now (he’s 28) being filled with music, particularly drumming and various collaborative work, Chuck has developed a hyper-keen sense of musical movement and song form — both of which are hallmarks of this album. There’s a night-crawling, smoky-room-surveying, almost groove-surfing cockiness to these songs … a sense of busy darkness alive with possibilities, but never chaotic. These elements spring in part from Kerr’s jazz roots, but this is far from a jazz record. Bad Breaks is full of shifts in tempo and genre, organically rhythmic at its core and singularly precise in terms of arrangements and lyrical content. With this debut release, we are treated to a cool and calculated brand of chameleon-like indie-pop.” — James Courtney, Learn to Labor and to Wait blog
HIGH-RES PRESS/PROMO PHOTOS
To download high-res JPEGs, click the thumbnails. Photo credit: Josh Huskin (2012).