Performer of the Year, Best Live Band, Best Rock Performer (Covers), Best Hard Rock/Metal Performers
Screaming female fans? Check. Screaming male fans? Check. Enough Whammys on their walls to mark every year of the band’s existence? Check.
In fact, you might say Brother have it all. And then some. Mark Magdich (bass and lead vocals), Mike Magdich (drums), Michael Campbell (guitar) and Chris Biciste (guitar) can do no wrong in this town, and if playing the greatest hits of hard rock’s hair (ahem) heyday is wrong, then they don’t want to be right.
That’s not to say these dudes aren’t great guys. They are. Many of the over 100 shows they play each year are fundraisers that benefit cancer victims, homeless animals and disadvantaged children. They even gave up their chance to play this year’s Whammy show so a newer band like Cougar Hunter could step in instead, which resulted in one of the most memorable Whammy performances ever. (Who will soon forget the onstage hairspray application? Or the fans? By “fans” I mean actual wind machines that kept their hair in a permanent state of White Snake-itude. And were those socks in their pants? Only the cougars know.)
But I digress. Back to Brother.
This 10-year-old act was born in 2001 when identical twins Mark and Mike came up with the idea at, legend has it, exactly the same time. Actually, the debate still rages as to whether Mark or Mike had the Brother brainstorm first, but what really matters, of course, is the music. The brothers Magdich and their mates are accomplished, pedigreed artists who could pretty much play anything they wanted and play it well. They’ve chosen to cover acts like Journey, Queen, AC/DC and Dokken because, with the exception of the band’s relative baby Biciste, such music helped shaped their youth.
“We do this for the sheer love of music and for performing,” said Mike. “Our first T-shirts had this on the back: ‘Brother – It’s all about the music.’ That pretty much sums up why we do what we do.”
It took six years for Brother to break the Whammy barrier, but since 2009 they’ve had quite the mean streak, dominating their nomination categories and bringing the crowd to their feet and knees, respectively. This year they went home with Best Cover Rock Act, Best Live Band, Best Hard Rock Performer and the coveted Performer of the Year honors.
“We didn’t see any of that coming,” Mike said. “You’ve got to remember something about the way the band thinks. We don’t expect things like this. We’re very humble about what we do. We’re seasoned. We’re older. Age brings maturity, and we don’t seek out awards, but we’re very grateful when we get them.”
The Whammys were just the icing on the cake on what for Brother has been a very good year. Not only was their dance card full for almost every single weekend of 2011 with gigs in and around the Fort Wayne area, but they were also asked to play the Embassy for the second time in their career as a part of a double bill with fun favorites Cougar Hunter.
Brother’s success is proof that excellence and hard work have a way of paying off. It also goes to show you that people in northeast Indiana like to party like it’s 1971 or 1984 or 1990.
Mike said he and his mates are eternally grateful to their fans, whose support keeps them gigging all year round, even on nights when they’re exhausted from the demands of their day jobs. You might think that the members of Brother can support themselves with their weekend earnings, but Mike’s a music professor at Trine University, Mark’s a sales rep at Sweetwater Sound, Biciste works the graveyard shift at the Wal-Mart distribution center and Campbell’s a karaoke host with Shut Up and Sing.
Mike said that there are nights, Friday nights usually, when, after a long day at school, he has a tough time lugging his gear into his car and making the drive to yet another gig, but once he sees a packed house and picks up his sticks the real world falls away and all that’s left is the music and the fans, sporting those Brother T-shirts and showing the love.
“You can have the best band in the world, and you can play the most complex music out there and play it to a T, but if you don’t have a good fan base you’re not going anywhere. Our fan base is the best out there.”
by Deborah Kennedy
Copyright 2012 Ad Media Inc.