CALEDONIA, Ontario – The Breaking Wind, an unsigned teen band from Caledonia, Ontario, Canada breezed right into prime time when ESPN and ABC played a portion of their song “Dear Mr. Murphy” for an on-air teaser, prior to the kick off of Saturday Night Football, Michigan vs. Iowa Oct. 10.
Lead vocalist and guitarist, Marty Isaacs, 17, described hearing the song for the first time during the pre-game spot as “surreal.” Isaacs composed and arranged the song for their debut, self-titled album released in June.
“‘Dear Mr. Murphy’ could work a lot with different action shots,” he said. “It works perfect for football because there’s a lot of tackling, and lots of hard hits in the song and different rhythms.”
ESPN and ABC producers didn’t scout them out. It was really about being in the right place at the right time. And bassist Ryan Johnson, 17, is a testimony to that.
It all evolved when he made his way to President Barack Obama’s inauguration in January. He met up with Marc Herring of Herring Media Group, the producers of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian Live Earth concert event in Washington, D.C.
The Breaking Wind performed at the July 2007 event. Johnson and Isaacs are enrolled members of the Six Nations Reserve.
Johnson said Herring put him in contact with Tim Horgan, an Emmy Award winning producer responsible for music intros for ESPN and ABC sporting events.
“We only use the best music for prime time games, that’s why we chose The Breaking Wind,” Horgan said. “‘Dear Mr. Murphy’ immediately stood out as a hard-hitting track, ideal for use in conjunction with contact sporting events.”
Johnson said the band got the idea for their name from a fictitious Broadway play poster in the movie “The Producers.” “It’s a play on words; it can mean a change in the wind, and storms have breaking wind,” he said. “We just kind of liked the name and it kind of stuck, so we kept with it.”
Former names include “Foxy Grandpa,” “The Brassy Bunch” and “Peg Leg Pig.”
Like the wind, their direction changes with each song. “Red House” and “Mr. P.C.” has straight up blues and jazz rhythms when compared to the alt-rock beat of “Dear Mr. Murphy,” and the more subdued styling of “All of These Changes.”
The band’s Web site says they are influenced by rock, blues, funk and jazz, and more specifically by the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, John Coltrane and Queen.
Lifetime pals Johnson and Isaacs met drumming sensation Ryan Mickeloff at a band camp sponsored by Caledonia Music Center in 2006. At their first gig, they initially played Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” in front of a small audience. “They liked me, so they stuck with me,” he said.
Mickeloff, now 14, started playing the drums when he was 6. His two counterparts got their start in music when they were 13.
The band originally had a lead singer who composed and arranged most of the songs on the first album, but he left the band, without managing to disrupt their growth. Isaacs seized the opportunity to step into the role of lead vocals.
While they may not be well-known in the states, at least nine stations across Canada play their music. Since returning to school in the fall, the trio has not played any gigs. They are slated to play at the Canadian Aboriginal Festival Nov. 27 – 29 in Hamilton, Ontario.
“It feels good when they compliment a song that you worked on and helped write,” Johnson said. “It’s just fun to share it with people and let them feel what they feel about what you are producing and playing.”
The band is in the process of writing new songs with plans to get back in the studio to record a second album.
Isaacs and Johnson plan on going to college when they graduate from McKinnon Park Secondary School in Caledonia this spring. Isaacs plans on pursuing a degree in broadcasting, and Johnson in audio and film engineering. Mickeloff wants to take it one day at time and focus on high school for now.