Beaten Hearts get back to rock roots

Since forming in early 2009, The Beaten Hearts has been building their name within the Metro Moncton area, pumping out punk-influenced rock n’ roll with ease. The group is on the cusp of releasing two 7-inch vinyl singles and to celebrate the impending releases, it will perform at Plan B Lounge on St. George Street tomorrow night.

Comprised of members Brian Lamanna, Derek Lounder, Jeremy O’Neill, Ray Auffrey and Tyler Boutilier, The Beaten Hearts first single, Red-Line Gurls, will be released on Portland, Oregon label Sonic Jett Records. The group’s second single, Badlands will be the first official release on the Maladroit label, a boutique label started by band members Lamanna and Auffrey.

United by a mutual love of guitar-based, high energy rock n’ roll, vinyl will be the preferred method of release for The Beaten Hearts. This isn’t all too surprising considering that both Lamanna and Auffrey are vinyl enthusiasts.

“There is zero interest from us regarding CDs,” Lamanna starts. “We aren’t anti-digital – we plan on making the songs available as digital downloads through our upcoming Bandcamp site but personally, I have no desire to spend money to produce an easily scratched silver frisbee. If a label wants to sink money into such ventures, I’ll gladly go along, but if it’s just us I would rather my money go to pressing vinyl.”

Auffrey echoes his band mate’s sentiments, saying “After all these years, it is still my preferred format on which to listen to rock n’ roll music. There is no better feeling than putting on a 45 on the turntable, in my opinion.”

Auffrey points out that by releasing two singles almost simultaneously, it will ideally help give the band double the band’s exposure. While the band has enough material to release a full-length effort, he says the songs were not necessarily conceived with an album in mind and as such, singles made more sense.

Although The Beaten Hearts may be a “new” band in terms of the length of time that they have been together, there is a wealth of experience brought to the table by its members: Auffrey was a member of legendary Moncton punk band Bad Luck #13 while O’Neill and Lounder are both currently members of local punk band Fear of Lipstick.

Vocalist Brian Lamanna was a member of Seattle band The Valentine Killers in the late 1990s before he relocated to the Moncton area in 2003.

In many ways, Lamanna was the catalyst who would get The Beaten Hearts rolling.

“When I first moved to Moncton, I checked out bands and quickly gravitated to The Mean (of which Auffrey was a member) and Fear Of Lipstick,” Lamanna says. “I got on really well with everyone and would end up talking rock n’ roll shop whenever I saw them around town.”

Having lived in Seattle, a major American city with a vibrant music scene, Lamanna says that he has come to recognize that bands from our part of the world have to work a little harder to make a name for themselves. Ultimately though, he feels it helps fuel the fire.

“In Moncton, doing things yourself for your band is more of a necessity. In Seattle, many bands in the scene may have done an early DIY (do-it-yourself) release or show, but most of the better bands knew that clubs would start calling them to do shows based off of reputation and press and labels would start asking to put out a record.

“The quality of Moncton punk/rock n’ roll bands is top shelf. But due to the city’s location and the lack of many touring outfits from the city, most labels don’t know about these groups. The end result is stellar outfits like Strawmen and Kamalas doing self releases for their work. In Seattle, DIY was more of a credibility thing while in Moncton, it is more of a necessity.”

For Lamanna however, The Beaten Hearts have proven to be more than an outlet fueling a desire to make music. He admits that he had given up playing in bands in 2002, figuring that it was time to “grow up” once children had entered his life. He soon came to realize however that he had simply been trying to find reasons not to play music.

“I always wanted to have one more go at my ‘dream’ band, but I couldn’t justify it,” he shares. “My daughter was diagnosed with autism in 2007 and upon seeing how hard she worked at learning to do basic things, I realized I was making excuses about why I couldn’t do things. My mother passed away two years later and the finality and ephemeral nature of life was really driven home. Two weeks later, Ray and Derek were in my basement playing Saints and Shangri La’s covers.”

Article published in April 29, 2011 edition of the Times & Transcript