It’s been a whirlwind year for Best of Friends. The Americana/folk band, which is comprised of both family and friends, has had quite the success for starting out as a side project for its members including Morgan Dorr and John Keefe, from pop-punk band Boys Like Girls. Morgan and John, along with Allyn Dorr, Ethan Dorr, Jamel Hawke, Kevin McHugh, and Mario Fanizzi, have accomplished some serious feats within this past year.
They released their debut music video on Vevo for “Here We Go” which was deemed MTV Buzzworthy and picked up by both CMT and VH1. They’ve also played numerous shows from Los Angeles to Boston and the seven-piece band will embark on their first acoustic tour this winter.
Their live performances are very impressive; with the diverse and raw talent from each member, they really set themselves apart from the other bands out there. You can witness this for yourself because Best of Friends will headline the Acoustic Christmas tour with Josh Withenshaw and Dylan Jakobsen as supporting acts. Tickets are available at www.thechristmastour.com.
To find out about the tour and what is next for Best of Friends, I had the pleasure of interviewing two of the band members, Ethan (ukulele, vocals) and Allyn Dorr (upright bass, vocals).
For someone who's never seen Best of Friends perform live before, what can they expect?
Allyn: We have a lot of fun performing and I think that's easy to see when we play. We are serious about our music and just as serious about making it fun. We sing, we shout we laugh, there's a lot going on. And then the fireworks go off!
What has been your most memorable Best of Friends performance so far?
Ethan: Our first show, probably. We threw a party in a big room at Serenity Studios in LA, invited a couple hundred of our good friends and filmed the whole day. That was the basis of our "Here We Go" video and I think it's easy to see what a blast it was to be there that day.
You guys have a handful of shows under your belts, are there any embarrassing stories you'd care to share?
Allyn: We had a real close call playing the Out of the Box festival on Boston Common this summer. We were a last minute addition to the show, given a half hour between Augustana and Boys like Girls. To simplify things on stage, we all wore in-ear monitors with no stage amplifiers.
Ethan: Right. We had zero time to get the sound worked out and 10 seconds into the first song, we realised we couldn't hear anything right! Morgan had Jamel's voice and my ukulele in his ear monitors and nothing else. Through most of the half hour, there was no piano and no bass for any of us. It could have been really embarrassing but we pulled it off.
Do you guys have any pre-show rituals?
Allyn: Morgan does a lot of very odd sounding vocal warm-ups but so far, I haven’t noticed any back-stage pep rallies or voodoo worship yet.
What is your favourite song to perform live?
Ethan: Probably “Here We Go” because everyone knows it from the video but we have a new one “Twist Shake Shout” which we’re pretty excited about. Wait till you hear it.
Did you guys ever think that this family/friend band would become so huge, getting played on Vevo & recognised as MTV Buzzworthy? What has everyone's reaction been?
Ethan: No, we started this just to have a great song for Kevin’s wedding and it grew naturally from there. Everyone loved the songs and more songs just came rolling out. But then, we were so stoked, we started to think that people would like the music as much as we did.
Allyn: And we have to mention the Dorr-itos, Morgan’s international fan club, who have a huge promotional reach and unbelievable creativity. I’m pretty convinced the Dorr-itos played the major role in getting our video over 100 thousand views.
Who would you guys like to tour with?
Ethan: Fleet Foxes, We The Kings, Kid Rock, and Celine Dion. Just kidding on that last one. But we’d be thrilled to be on tour with anyone.
What is one thing that is a must-have while on the road touring?
Allyn: We all have our special binkies. Ethan likes his dark chocolate, John can't travel without this ratty old stuffed bear, Mario has to have his espresso, and Jamel has a suitcase full of hair care products. Morgan, umm, you don’t want to know.
What city are you most looking forward to playing at on tour? What city would you like to play that is not a part of the tour stops?
Ethan: We have a date in Las Vegas that will be a reunion of sorts. In August, we all were there for Kevin’s bachelor party and made a lot of new friends. A city we’d like to play? Maybe San Fran. It seems like a big hole in the schedule, don’t you think?
What can we expect next from Best of Friends?
Allyn: There’s a ton of stuff in the works but coming up first is new music, lots of it. A new video is planned and more extensive full-band touring in the spring if everything falls into place. Business-wise, we’re working hard on it but nothing is final yet. We’ve got our fingers crossed.