The Lucky Lonely Lowdown
Written by: Michelle Slieff
Photographed by: Brian Samuelson Photography
I remember when I first discovered eVocal in Costa Mesa. My eyes expanded to the music culture that was right in front of me. Some could say, right in their backyard. It was a space for creative minds to come together and exercise their passion for the arts, no matter what medium it came from. Plus, I was underage so this was literally the only place I could go to listen to some good music in an intimate setting. I met painters, writers, singers, musicians…pretty much all walks of life, including everything in between.
This was a place where I first discovered the magic of the band The Lucky Lonely, TLL. I had the pleasure of seeing them perform several times. As an audience you never knew what to expect, as each set provided spontaneity and improvisation. There were no choreographed moves, that I know of, and no pre-planned guitar smashing moment. It was soul. What transpired was a collection of energy within the room that was communicated through music. If we want to get philosophical about it, which is usually where the conversation leads when one talks deeply about music–it’s a moment of Khora. Such are the ways of time passing…people moved, ended up married, tried their talents in other states and I wondered where all these amazing musicians wound up. Especially The Lucky Lonely, since they were such an amazing repertoire of profound talent, and you could just tell, they were going places. So I reconnected with the band to find out what they are up to now. And it turns out, they are quite the locals of Orange County, San Diego and Los Angeles! Join me on this journey of getting the know the band on new levels, like what spirit animal would be their mascot…
Question: How did the magic happen (forming the band)? Lucky Lonely
Michael Bedard: Well The Lucky Lonely started for Dave and I about 10 years ago in a band we were in for a couple years. When that broke up, David moved to Boulder and I ended up going out on the road for a bunch of years. We stayed in touch and continued to write new material. While I was out, I toured with both Jinjoo and Bob, our guitarist and bass player. When our original guitarist had quit, we tried to find the right fit for about six months and when it wasn’t sticking, it hit me to try Jinjoo, who was in the throws of the pop machine. Low and behold, she was down! Bob had come in a couple months earlier on bass, which was extra rad because I didn’t know he was a bass player. When we were on tour together, we were both Drummer/Musical Directors so we got along great and got to get to know each other professionally. He was just solid. A solid dude, a solid player, resourceful and he was down! So how did the magic happen you asked? Slowly and carefully (laughs). Lucky Lonely
Bob Mathews: Mike said it all really. I was playing drums/MD’ing for the opener on a Jordin Sparks tour that Mike and Jinjoo were on. Sometimes on a tour, there’s a weird kind of tension between the headliners and the support bands. I’ve experienced this on both sides, but there was none of this between us. Lot’s of hanging, good times and major mutual respect flowing. Lucky Lonely
Q: Who are your musical influences? Lucky Lonely
MB: The givens would have to be The Beatles, Zeppelin, The Beach Boys, Elton John, Van Halen, Stevie Wonder, The Police, Supertramp and the classics. Bands who were and are doing about it the way we’d like to are The Mowgli’s (who we played their first gig with), Young The Giant, Twenty One Pilots, Walk The Moon. Just super fun, rad bands that have good folks in em’ and truly love their audience. Lucky Lonely
BM: Oingo Boingo, Frank Zappa, Peter Gabriel era Genesis, Bowie and Yes. Lucky Lonely
JinJoo: SRV. Lucky Lonely
Q: Individually you’ve played on a variety of stages as well a collectively. What you would say was your favorite performance and why? Lucky Lonely
MB: Gotta say, after playing Madison Square Garden three times sold out with Jordin Sparks and Alicia keys, my favorite gig was TLL’s very first gig at our good friend Dusty Brandom’s 18th birthday. He has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and has been in our lives since Dave and I met. That was one humbling night. Him and his mother Cath started Coalition Duchenne. You have to check it out! They kick ass and have taken it international. Playing “Passing Me By” on tour with The Pharcyde was a dream too. Goes without saying… Lucky Lonely
JinJoo: Its really hard to pick one for me But I can’t ever forget my first tour experience. My first tour was Jonas Brothers world tour in 2009, I was playing for Jordin Sparks at Cowboy stadium in Dallas. Lucky Lonely
BM: I played for an opener on a Bare Naked Ladies (amazing dudes) tour. We played all kinds of iconic theatres all across the country. All of my junior high dreams came true on that tour. While drumming on a cruise ship, the combo I was playing with did “Summertime” on a whim. Our sax player was sick so I coaxed our vocalist to take a solo. After protesting about having never scatted before, she took the solo. There wasn’t a single sound in that bar besides what was coming off of the stage. It’s hard to describe, but it was one of the most musically cohesive and genuine moments I’ve ever experienced on stage.
Q: What would you say is the main message of your music that moves people to the core?
MB: Well, I think our story may convey more than our music. Don’t lose hope and love the moment.
David Bennett: There is not one message we shoot for in our music. Each song is written separately with a different inspiration, in a different moment. We just try to make honest tunes.
JinJoo: I will say love.
Q: What’s the weirdest instrument you’ve mastered?
MB: My Mouth.
DB: I’m still working on mastering the common ones. One day the Air Guitar, I hope.
JinJoo: Guitar. haha
BM: “Mastered” is a strong word… Starbucks drinking straw whistle.
Q: How has your music been affected by moving to OC?
MB: We were a big part of, and help build a movement called eVocal in Costa Mesa and that was a deep connection we shared with a ton of artists/bands and we got to experience a scene from it’s beginnings all the way through, to the window closing. We invested tons of time, energy, love and money towards trying to create a new model when the music biz was falling apart over and over. It was a great era and many great artists came through that venue, many.
Q: Does the transition offer a different perspective when you play shows in LA?
DB: I was born in LA , moved to OC in high school and have been bouncing back and forth ever since. So, I really consider both counties my home. In LA, there is a huge support group of different bands. We all show up to each others gigs, the music is great, the people are great and it’s just a fun little scene. In OC we have been able to play some amazing show’s for an under 21 crowd. Putting together lunch time concerts at Huntington Beach High and Newport Harbor High and playing open mic’s and charity events has opened doors and introduced us to thousands of new fans. So we are going to just keep on building in both areas.
Q: What’s in the near future for The Lucky Lonely?
JinJoo: Grammy! Lets go!
DB: …When we all live in the same city, we can carpool to The Grammys, convenience.
Q: You recorded The Chair at Big Fish Studio in Encinitas, how was that experience?
MB: It was a dream… We finally got a chance to do our own there. The place is just classic and has all of the old gear from The Record Plant inside. The piano from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, songs in The Key of Life, just imagine! It was also, unfortunately the last time we could work with Craig Zarkos, who was the biggest proponent to our band. He created and executed our Kickstarter, recorded and mixed our EP and shot all of our videos. He was sust the best to us. He passed away shortly after we recorded and it was beyond devastating, as you can imagine. We’ve always been a band of starting over.
DB: Recording at Big Fish was a dream come true. The gear and the atmosphere are incredible. I want to move in. Their famous piano there is the best sounding one I have ever played. ‘The Chair’ didn’t call for piano but we have many songs that do. We will be back and she will be mine. Oh yes…she will be mine.
Q: Favorite place to grab some grub at in LA, OC and SD?
MB: SD: El Rey Taco Shop in Clairemont.. The two best drummers to come out of SD, Zak and Jake Najor, run and own this little joint and the hang is stellar! OC: Cafe Lotus on Newport Blvd.. BEST Pho!
DB: LA: The Apple Pan. Best burgers. My dad went there as a toddler, I went there as a toddler and my future children will go there. It’s my go-to spot in LA. OC: I’m with Mike on this one. Cafe Lotus is the best Pho Evaahh! SD: I will eat anything Alex Carballo makes and come back for seconds.
JinJoo: LA:Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles. OC: Nekter juice. SD: Mike’s mom’s house.
BM: Canter’s is fun. Mike, what’s that bomb mexican joint we go to near Hermosa Beach?
MB: Ortega 120! Demitra’s place!
Q: Who is the most inspirational person that you’ve had the pleasure of making music with?
MB: David Bennett…duh (laughs). Very truthfully, I worked with Craig Z. on and off since I was 17 and have yet to meet someone who hears and gets it the way he did.
DB: Mike (Bedard) is definitely that for me. Having such an accomplished musician to write with and who loves my songs is a blessing. It is very rare to find such a well rounded, driven and motivated song writing partner. Our personalities come through in the songs and it just works.
JinJoo: Awwwwww you guys <3
BM: Mike. He’s got a Dave Grohl meets Buddy Rich vibe. Rock out from your soul, but play it perfectly.
Q: Describe the band in five words.
MB: “WHOAAA We’re half way thereee!”
JinJoo: Four Nerds with Cool Mind 😉
BM: We cure what ails you.
Q: What’s a typical day like off stage?
Jinjoo: Watching korean drama and practicing guitar.
BM: Watching korean drama and practicing bass.
Q: If the band had a spirit animal what would it be?
DB: Man Bear Pig…that’s half man, half bear and half pig.
JinJoo: Lion. I love lion and I think lions are very Lucky Lonely.
BM: Honey Badger. Everyone knows why.
Q: Name one thing that’s on the bucket list for the band.
MB: Pun Intended? Why you gotta joke about my bucket? You got jokes.
DB: I constantly have dreams of The Lucky Lonely playing The Greek, so that’s my vote for the list.
Q: For someone thats never heard of you, what song should they listen to first?
MB: Eric B. & Rakim – Paid In Full. There are some really great bands in our little cross-city clique. The Janks, King Washing, Well Hung Heart, Smoke Season, Garrett Lee Robinson-to name a few. They are kick ass bands that all have an identity and a sound we love. They work super hard and most importantly are great people. One that is on his way to superstardom is Scotty Grand, who Jinjoo and I toured with for years with Jordin Sparks. This dude is really just on another level performance/vision wise. We are actually releasing one of our demos, The Fishing Line on his album and we’re beyond stoked. When my father died, Scotty slapped $500 in my hand for the funeral. That kind of soul. Thats my boy till the end.
DB: Anything by Engelbert Humperdinck… Or you can give a listen to ’Notice Me’. It’s on our self titled EP, you can find on iTunes, Spotify, etc. along with our single, ’The Chair’.
Jinjoo: Radio and the River.
BM: I like listening to all the songs; that’s why I joined the band. “The River” got me hooked, so I’d say folks should listen to that.
Here are some links to jams and downloads: