Three veterans of the music scene in the desert of Phoenix, AZ, have come together to create a sound reminiscent of independent music from the past, without falling into the trap of being labeled as “retro” artists. The Father Figures are the collective effort of Michael Cornelius on guitar and vocals, Bobby Lerma on drums and vocals, and Tom Reardon on vocals and bass guitar. The names of these three gentlemen should immediately raise eyebrows, as all have contributed to some of the more recognizable collaborations in the Valley of the Sun for well over twenty years.
If you are a fan of hardcore music laced with a heavy melodic edge, chances are you have seen frontman Tom Reardon over the years in one of several bands where he developed his unique bass style. In addition to The Father Figures, Tom continues to be involved with Hillbilly Devilspeak, Pinky Tuscadero’s WKAF, and North Side Kings. Tom’s tongue-in-cheek lyrical delivery, coupled with his heavy, riff-based songwriting, provides a solid foundation for The Father Figures.
Bobby Lerma picked up the drumsticks while still in grade school, driven to play the drums by punk rock, post-punk and new wave artists of the late seventies and early eighties. With extensive band and session experience over the years, he added several other musical influences to further develop his unique style of playing. Bobby is an artist that has been in high demand for two decades; playing in bands as diverse as Jeff Dahl, The Voice, and The Captives.
Michael Cornelius was the original bassist for JFA (Jodi Foster’s Army), which was (and is) the seminal skaterock band known to any skater from the era, but his talent and experience extends far beyond the scope of the frenetic thrash attack of a band like JFA. Michael’s presence was also felt in the stellar funk rock outfit Housequake, jazz/hip-hop group Suite No.3, and he played guitar in the experimental punk bands Zuwal and the Jr. Chemists.
The Father Figures came together during a Memorial Day weekend in 2009, with the simple idea of “just friends playing together,” as Cornelius stated. The fact that the three members have played in bands for decades leads to a collective wisdom and a more ideological approach to creating music. “We originally just wanted to create a post-punk sound and work off that common musical thread.” Lerma stating this is right in line with Reardon’s belief that “we have ideas for something different (musically) and we are all open-minded.”
After two incredible shows at the Ruby Room and at the St. George’s Day Fest at the George and Dragon, both in July of 2009, The Father Figures realized this was no mere project. They are a band that takes cues from Sonic Youth and meshes the sounds of Fugazi and Interpol. This process has enabled the Father Figures to create a wall of sound that is full of great pop hooks, delivered with sheer power.
Three music veterans; one creative force in independent music. This is The Father Figures.
- Frank Gallardo, independent music writer