Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could can, and does. Brady, who was part of the 90’s jam band From Good Homes, stays true to his rock and roll roots in the latest evolution in this rockin’ dad’s life. Celebrity Parents went to the tippy tip of Long Island, NY, to speak with Brady about music, and how the family that rocks out together, stays together.
Has music always been a part of your life?
Yes, I’ve been playing music pretty much all my life. Ever since 7th grade, I had been in a rock band with my brother and his buddies. We played throughout college, and then we moved to NYC to make a go of it.
And that rock band was From Good Homes.
Right. We got a house in NJ and we played together all the time. That’s how we actually learned how to play, by playing together. We kept trying to hire bass players but then we kept losing them! [laughs] There were two guys who lived next door to us and one day they came over and said, “Why do you keep playing the same song over and over?!” It turns out that they were two brothers from the band The Rascals. It was such a cool time for us; we gelled together as a band. We began touring, and we ended up getting a record deal from RCA.
From Good Homes was a significant band in the whole jam band scene.
We would open for each other all the time. Dave Matthews would open for us; we would open for him. One time, we opened up for Bob Dylan, which was incredible.
How did you become involved in kids’ music?
The band stopped in 1999. At that point, my son Gus was 3 and my daughter Daisy was 1. We had lost our record deal, and were back at square one. For us to get another deal would mean that we were going to have to do a lot of traveling. At one point, I had been gone for two weeks straight, and it was enough for me. The band had run its course, and I felt in my gut that I needed to try something else.
As the band was dissolving, I had written a bunch of songs to Gus as a gift to him and the family, and to also document that time in our lives. People heard the songs and thought that I should put out a kids’ CD. I was like, “What’s that?!” So I made the first CD in 2000. And sure enough, songs started popping out. And then Daisy came along, and I thought, “Well, I’d better write some songs for her, too. Otherwise, I’m going to be paying for some serious psychiatry bills later on in life!” [laughs] So this little innocent CD soon turned into a new career where I was playing all over the city. The motto was not to pass up anything and learn what this new world was all about. I played every party, YMCA and daycare imaginable.
How was it to go from opening for Bob Dylan to now gearing your music for the toddler set?
The Bob Dylan audience was a breeze compared to the little monkeys in the daycare! [laughs] It was exciting because it was all new to me, and it was all me. It was all my own songs, and I had such a strong personal connection to them. The amount of humility was probably very healthy and good for me, too! Who’s to say that you know everything? I wanted to entertain the kids and for them to have a good time. In the process, I learned so much.
It was your schooling.
It was. It was a great place to do it. I would perform for kids, and then go to Dalton and do songwriting with the third graders. When I first began playing, it was just me with a guitar. It felt good to be responsible just for me. It was much simpler.
It was just all stripped down.
It had to be simple for me to feel good about it. There was interest in my music from record companies, but they would have wanted me to change things, or leave songs out of the album. That’s why I put the music on my own label. I didn’t want people telling me how to do it; I wanted to keep my personal integrity and dedication to the music.
When did you decide to create The Little Band That Could?
After a couple of records in, I started craving playing with other musicians. I was watching Bruce Springsteen play at Shea Stadium one time and it was an incredible experience. I remember feeling how he uplifted the audience, and seeing how he was with his band, and that made me realize that I wanted a band again. In my band, some of the band members were the parents of my kids’ friends. When we would have play dates, the kids would play and we would play music. That’s how the band formed.
What are your plans for the band?
We are touring a lot and now we’re touring on a national level. We’re gearing up to record two records this year. I want to do it the same way that I had done it in the past; get us together in a room, play music and capture that magic.
Are your kids into music?
Gus and Daisy both play the piano. Gus plays the tenor sax, and Daisy takes violin. Sometimes they’ll come on stage during a show. I also leave instruments around and if they’re curious, they’ll pick it up and pluck on it. But they can trash a backstage better than I ever could. I’m not even joking about that one!
Bridget does the business side of the music. I wanted to keep it this way; keep it from the heart. We love working together, and it keeps the whole family involved.
How did you meet?
We went to high school together. We met again in NYC when From Good Homes was playing at Nightingale, a Lower East Side club. She came to a show that we did. Turns out she had a crush on me in high school.
Did you have one on her?
Um, no. [laughs] Sometimes it takes men a bit longer to appreciate the finer things in life!
Are you concerned about not seeing your family as much if you go on tour with the band again?
Well, one thing is different. I’m not sleeping on the floor of a van, from Topeka to Boise! [laughs] Those days were pretty harsh. It was great to do it then. Not now.
Yes, bad for the back.
[laughs] And the kids in the back complaining, “Are we there yet?” The good thing is that most of the gigs are on weekends, and we go together as a family. I’ve been able to take my kids on the road, which has been a lot of fun. We do road trips, and I love seeing the country that way. I love those drives. When I was younger, we moved around a bit, and so I remember us driving everywhere. It’s in my blood. And it’s fun to do it as a family. It feels more complete to have them there with me than to hop on a plane. It’s a richer experience.