Though Scott Butler, John Aldridge, and Landon Thompson, met while
attending Nashville's Belmont University in 2005, The Black and White
Years call Austin, Texas, home. The move to Austin has seen the band
evolve towards the infectious electro-dance-rock sound that has
brought them five Austin Music Awards, radio airplay, and heavy buzz-
worthy status during SXSW 2009, one of the world's largest and most
renown music festivals.
It was only in 2007 that the band played their first SXSW Festival…
Their "official" showcase was in the parking lot of Opal Devine's,
far from the SXSW epicenter of 6th Street and Red River. B&WY were the
first of a five-band line-up and took the stage to an audience of
exactly seven people. One of those seven people, however, was the once-
upon-atime Talking Head and Modern Lover, Jerry Harrison. Harrison was
captivated by the band's performance and over the rest of the weekend
he visited them at their rehearsal space, where The Black and White
Years performed their entire catalog for him.
Five weeks later the band was in Harrison's San Francisco bay area
studio, Sausalito Sound, recording what would become the band's
eponymous debut album, The Black And White Years. The band did not
have a drummer at the time that the album was recorded, as they had
opted for the precision of programmed rhythms. Harrison recruited
session drummer, Steve Ferrone (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Duran
Duran, Saturday Night Live, Eric Clapton), to lay down the live drums
tracks for the album. Billy Potts was brought on board to join the
band as full time live drummer in 2008.
Fast forward, to SXSW 2009…
The Black and White Years are the epitome of a SXSW dream come true.
At the Austin Music Awards, the annual show kicking of the SXSW Music
Festival by recognizing excellence in the Austin music community, the
band was the big winner for 2009. The Black and White Years took home
FIVE awards including Best New Band, Song of the Year ("Power to
Change"), Best Rock Band, Bass Player of the Year (John Aldridge),
and Producer of the Year (Jerry Harrison). The band also played a
series of well-attended showcases,
capped off by the prized BMI Showcase where they shared the bill with
DEVO, Tricky, and Datarock.
The band's song, "Power to Change," has received a fair amount of
national attention via modern rock specialty airplay and college radio
but also went the distance at WEQX/Albany (#1 for four weeks), KROX/
Austin (Top 10 and #1 Requests) and full time adds at stations like
CD- 101/Columbus and Indie 103.1/Los Angeles.
The music video for "Power To Change," quite the poignant
commentary on society as a whole, was well received in regards to its
message and relevance during the 2008 US Presidential elections. A new
video for the song, "Zeroes and Ones," has just been completed and
was featured on Kanye West's website shortly after its release.
The band has appeared at the CMJ Music Festival, Austin City Limits
Music Festival, MIDEM and done some limited touring throughout the
Midwest and Northeast of the United States. They will be making their
debut appearance in the UK at the O2 Wireless Festival on July 4-5 and
will embark on their first U.S. tour later this year.