The Nadas - Come Along for the Ride
How many bands can say they’ve written, recorded and performed for nearly 30 years? Played with The Beach Boys, America, Bon Jovi, and Huey Lewis. Been inducted into Rock n Roll Hall of Fame (The Iowa Location). Written their hometown’s theme song (twice) Been touted by Playboy the best band you've never heard of. Fêted by [Insert Politician here]. How many songwriting duos even withstand one another that long anyway? To say nothing of producing hit after memorable hit: Walk Away, Templeton Rye, Long Goodbye, Carve Your Name, Meant To Be. The list is long, fan favorites legion – as evidenced by the band’s emphatic sing-alongs. Take Beautiful Girl; no Nada’s’ Iowa State Fair performance is complete without a stage filled with harmonizing pageant hopefuls. This is a band that makes a stage wherever it goes. Whether crisscrossing the country in Meatloaf’s old bus with Big Head Todd, or performing in a living room, railroad station, cruise ship, ski chalet, street corner. The Nadas have done it all. In their 29th year, the band is working on its fourteenth studio album, “Come Along for the Ride, set to be released in 2023.
The story begins in Ames, Iowa, circa 1993 where two young Iowa State University Students began learning songs off a mix tape and harmonizing in the stairwell of a fraternity house just off campus. Jason was obsessed with the folk music and singer songwriter scene while Mike was more influenced by the early 90's college rock scene. Eventually, Jason relented, ushering in an amplified, arena-ready five-piece sound replete with anthemic choruses (“Everybody’s wrong; I’m not a loser!”) and soaring guitar solos (“Storm”).
These days The Nadas are – Mike and Jason together with bassist Brian Duffey, and drummer Brandon Stone along with Perry Ross on Keys, Guitar and Percussion – brew up a potent mix of Stones-era “Country Honk,” with a healthy dose of 90s alternative rock: distorted, twangy, plaintive – and always melodic. Moreover, the band writesmusic evocative of its home state: level-headed and grounded, ambitious and soaring. Authentic. An electric, an acoustic, a slammin’ rhythm section and sprinkling a smart, subtle keys, The band has churned out a bakers dozen of studio albums as a five-piece, logging thousands of miles (“We've had more breakdowns and flat tires than most people have had oil changes") performing for thousands of fans. To date, the band has moved more 250,000 albums via aptly titled label, Authentic Records (but who's counting anymore). In fact, Authentic has home grown a solid roster of local talent of the years, from bands such as Towncrier, Bright Giant and She Swings She Sways, to solo troubadours such as Jason Levasseur, Dick Prall and Benjamin Wagner. These are major league players who know the value of a farm team.
Their last record "Duo, Numero Uno" found Jason and Mike at it again, banging out a batch of songs with those original ingredients two guitars, two voices, four chords and the truth. Simple. Or is it? These ten songs were invested with a quarter century of hard living: long days, late nights, second marriages and the attendant challenges of being a rock n roll dad. Duo - Numero Uno has fun, easy, uplifting songs such as Small Crush (probably a future teen pop smash hit) and Need a Little Lovin' to rich, deep and layer gut punchers like When You Leave (good luck having a dry eye after this song) and Trust Fall and Tu Me Manques. They even re invent a couple of old crowd pleasers with Listen Through The Static and their most popular song on digital streaming services, Walk Away.
"We have always written songs from the heart as we have grown up and matured, our fans have gone through the same things in life and have come along for the ride" said Butterworth. Over twenty-five years on, the magic is still there. It’s there at the bands annual Little Bear Summer Camp in the Mountains of Colorado, The Iowa State Fair, the annual cruise. It’s there at every amphitheater, backyard and bowling alley.It’s more than what they do; it’s who they are.