BoDeans frontmen Kurt Newmann (aka Beau BoDean) and Sammy Llanas met in high school in 1977 in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and worked together in a number of bands before settling on a rather unwieldy format as a rocking electric-acoustic duo.
At around the same time, the two also perfected their distinctively skewed Everly Brothers-style harmonies, which evolved from Newmann’s warm Midwestern drawl and Llanas’s eccentric treble rasp.
A friend in Milwaukee eventually introduced them to drummer Guy Hoffman who came aboard in 1984. With the addition of another friend from high school, bass player Bob Griffin, Llana felt that the chemistry was right.
The group passed a demo tape to producer T-Bone Burnett, who had an ear for roots-rocking American bands and had helped launched the LA-based Los Lobos. Burnett liked what he heard, and when the BoDeans scored a deal with the Warner Bros-distributed Slash records, he agreed to produce their debut LP.
Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams (1986) contained a hot sonic presence that made tracks like She’s A Runaway and the first single, Fadeaway, leap off the vinyl.
Guy Hoffman departed in 1987 and the band operated as a trio for a while, before adding keyboard player Michael Ramos.
Over three successive albums – Outside Looking In (1987), Home (1989) and Black and White (1991) – the BoDeans explored the expansive terrain of American music – country, folk, blues, R&B, pop and rockabilly – with a restless, stubborn (and sometimes erratic) passion.
On Go Slow Down (1994), the band rediscovered the focus that made their 1986 debut so strong.
After Blend (1996), Slash Records elected not to renew the BoDeans recording contract, Neumann and Llanas released solo albums, and the band was placed on indefinite hiatus.
In 2003, the band signed with Rounder Records, releasing their seventh album, Resolution, in 2004. Sammy Llanas officially left the band in 2011 due to “differences of opinion”, and the band stated that they would continue without him (with the band’s guitar technician standing in).
Sammy Llanas officially left the band in 2011 due to “differences of opinion” and the band stated that they would continue without him (with the band’s guitar technician standing in).
The BoDeans continue to tour and record, largely as a vehicle for Kurt Neumann.
Kurt Newmann (Beau BoDean)
Vocals, guitar, drums
Sammy Llanas (Sammy BoDean)
Bob Griffin (Bob BoDean)
Guy Hoffman (Guy BoDean)