David Dondero: is an American songwriter, guitarist, former lead singer of the band Sunbrain. In 2006, NPR's All Songs Considered named David one of the "best living songwriters" alongside Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney and Tom Waits. Dondero started his musical career on drums at the age of 10, due in part to the fact that he "was always drumming on stuff with my hands". Dondero released four records with the Clemson, SC-based punk/hardcore band Sunbrain (three on Grass Records and one on Ghostmeat Records), before breaking up in 1995. The following year, Dondero joined This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb for nearly two years as their drummer. He left in 1998 to focus on his solo material. He has since released seven solo albums - two with Ghostmeat Records, three with Future Farmer Records and the most recent two with Team Love Records. His eighth album, titled # Zero with a Bullet, was released on August 3, 2010. Dondero has toured with such acts as Crooked Fingers, Jolie Holland, Against Me!, The Mountain Goats, David Bazan, Preston School of Industry, Bright Eyes, Tilly and the Wall, Erik Petersen of Mischief Brew, Spoon, and Willy Mason. Dondero currently resides in Austin, TX.
Singer-songwriter and guitarist Justin Dzuban was born in the suburb of Delaware, Ohio, twenty miles north of the city of Columbus. He has been playing music his whole life, starting in elementary school with the violin. “I decided to move to trumpet for three years,” Dzuban remembers, “and then at age 13, I picked up the guitar?self-taught.” His first guitar, a Vantage model, was purchased from a buddy for $40.00. “I started with it,” Justin recalls, “and then came a performance in high school where I worked with a vocalist. The first tune we played was ‘Dumb’ by Nirvana. I loved the unplugged stuff Nirvana did. The next year, from the same MTV show where Nirvana recorded, we covered their version of David Bowie’s ‘The Man Who Saved the World.’” Dzuban grew up with a wide range of musical influences, including Simon & Garfunkel and Bob Dylan, The Doors, The Rolling Stones, and drawing from iconic musical acts of the ‘50s and early ’60s. When he started playing guitar, he was initially more into blues-based music than the songs he is recording in 2010, favoring the music of Jimi Hendrix, BB King, and early Rolling Stones. “I was doing some instrumentals,” he offers, "and playing in some bands, all covers at the time. “I was attracted to the guitar-driven kind of stuff, and although I played in a cover band in my early twenties, I soon got sick of it. Eventually, I met a guy who had a recording studio. He told me, ‘if you ever have any original sets, I’d love to record them for you.’ About the time I quit that band, I was laid off from my job in the print room of an engineering company, and I started writing songs. “For two months, the studio owner, Chuck Crosby, allowed me thirty hours a week, free. We actually still keep in contact now, many years later. It was a pivotal point in my life,” Dzuban admits. “It was a basement studio. Much different, compared to ProTools and what is out there now. Hard disc recording, and a great experience. I literally started writing on the spot. Five songs. The first was called ‘Clouds,’ and it was actually co-written with Josh Jeffers, who is now the executive producer on this planned debut album in 2010. Josh has been a long time supporter of my work.” Before his latest studio recording project, Dzuban first learned the recording process. “I liked being in the studio. It taught me discipline. I had all the time in the world to work on these tracks, so I recorded multiple takes. I was able to do a lot of listening to myself, and at the same time to be influenced by others. I started playing more acoustic guitar. Then I heard guitarist Wes Montgomery, and was able to study and appreciate his band, the grooves, the Latin kind of thing goin’ on. The guitar playing was smooth and effortless, a very unique sound, a whole new world.” During this whole time, Dzuban was also performing live in Ohio, playing acoustic sets around the Columbus area. “It was the best experience of my life, as far as my development as a performer goes,” he acknowledges. “I had a gig at this bar, BW3. I played a four-hour set there every Friday for a year. I literally logged some forty-eight shows and had a very cool crowd. At least thirty people a week. I was just 21. I learned a lot in that residency. At that point, through performing that much, I got to be really comfortable in front of anybody, a great point for me. Most of my sets were ad lib. So now, I can play a six-hour set. It showed me I could play music in front of people, the concept of playing for an audience that wants to listen. At the same time I also started doing some original stuff with a group.”