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The Family Business

An interview with Singer Alec White from Classic Rockers, The Family Business

The Family Business Artist's Facebook
by Mike Huberty
July 2016

Break out the bell bottoms! Madison’s THE FAMILY BUSINESS evokes 70s radio staples like MOLLY HATCHET and BAD COMPANY. A little bit of Southern Rock flair with the power of English Blues-Rock, it’s all butt-shaking grooves and big guitar riffs. Originally forming as the young men of FEDORA in the mid-2000s, Guitarist and Singer Alec White, bassist Garrett Wartenweiler, drummer Derek Hendrickson, and guitarist Eric Ziegler have cut their own space out of the Mad City rock scene over the past decade. I’ve seen the band play from the High Noon Saloon to SXSW and talked to singer Alec White about their upcoming performances.

MI: What got you into wanting to play music in the first place?

AW: Brian Koenig (Ed Note: Now the fretburning axeman in LORDS OF THE TRIDENT) was my first big inspiration to really start playing guitar and stick with it. He gave Zig and I lessons when we started playing. I can’t speak for the other guys, but Garrett’s father and Derek’s father are skilled musicians in bands, so I’m sure that inspired them to get into it.

MI: Who were the bands that got you into rock?

AW: There are too many great bands to pick favorites, but QUEEN, AC/DC, IRON MAIDEN, RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS, and THE DOORS are among the groups that initially did it for me.

MI: Which one of those bands brought you guys together?

AW: We all went to an AC/DC concert together. I know we all have love for AC/DC.

MI: Why Classic Rock?

AW: Rock and Roll can be a powerful thing. I feel like I’ve always been clamoring to be a part of it in any way I can. It’s fun, and it brings people together.

MI: What song would you recommend to people to listen to help introduce them to the band?

AW: The single is “Stones”. It’s a good example of a tune that started with us four in a room improvising, and eventually formed parts and settled into an arrangement. It’s always a fun song to play live.

MI: Your original name was FEDORA and you changed it. Why THE FAMILY BUSINESS?

AW: For me, THE FAMILY BUSINESS is the entire network of people involved with the band. It’s a way of including everyone who participates in the music, from studio engineers to listeners, in the name.

MI: The name of your album is Balls Pricey, what’s that mean?

AW: “Balls Pricey” has been used as a synonym for the word “costly” or"expensive”. Garrett coined the term once while describing an early morning food purchase with a hefty price tag. The band was immediately smitten with the new term, and collectively vowed to make it the title of our record. The album is about Rock and Roll, and the power that music can provide.

MI: You guys are a busy band, what’s your favorite show been so far?

AW: Playing a show with the RIVAL SONS and playing South by South West were both fun shows. We used to play a particular biker club’s annual party that was consistently memorable. I feel like the most memorable shows have been at outdoor festivals or parties at night. Those crowds tend to be bigger and more energetic.

MI: If people come out to see you this month, what’s the show going to be like?

AW: At any given show, Derek plays his drums very loudly which causes, zig to shred on his guitar which causes face melting, which consequently sends me into fits of shouting and sweating heavily. You might even get lucky enough to see Garrett eat something especially nasty on stage . So far, he’s consumed a dead praying mantis, a small rubber ball, and brick of limburger cheese.

You can get in on some FAMILY BUSINESS action Sunday July 31st at Madison’s Atwoodfest. They’ll be on the Alchemy Stage at the corner of Winnebago and Atwood at 4:30pm.

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