Getting to Know Bret Crow
Bret Crow’s Denton story started like many others you may have heard. He came to Denton to study music at the University of North Texas, composition to be exact, joined some bands, graduated, got a job, and now makes a living as a full-time musician. With “amazing” being the only word needed to describe what that’s like, Crow can be found performing around Denton and DFW just about every night of the week.
Crow grew up in Pearland, TX and became a bass player mostly out of necessity. His friends were playing drums and guitar and in order to have a full lineup, needed a bass player. Growing up on a lot of '50s music and with a list of influencers ranging from Frank Zappa to James Brown, Weird Al and Les Claypool to various metal and punk bands, and anything funk, Crow’s taste in music has always been eclectic.
Once coming to UNT, he met up and began jamming with Matt Cochran, current saxophone and keyboard player for Puddin’ Taine, in 2007. Forming a group called With Gusto, Crow would write the music for the group a la Zappa, very thoroughly composed with rhythm parts followed by horn parts and so on. With the formation of what became Puddin’ Taine in 2011, and also with his solo work, his writing style is based more on jamming and improv, and coming up with songs from that.
The idea of Puddin’ Taine was born out of improv - Crow, Cochran, and lead singer Brandon Dowd were part of a house band every week in Plano on a variety show called Open Stage and while they originally did covers, they spent the later two years doing improv every Monday night for about an hour and a half. The current lineup, which includes guitarist Brandon Arthur and drummer Zack Haygood, has been in place for a year and a half. You can look forward to a new album from them hopefully before the end of the year.
In addition to Puddin’ Taine, Crow also plays bass for Bone Doggie and the Hickory Street Hellraisers and has a solo project, The Bret Crow Show, which merges music and comedy. When asked about why he adds the comedic element to his work, Crow said “comedy has always been a large part of my life growing up. I knew when I was ten years old that I wanted to be a comedian. I like to enjoy myself and make people laugh. There’s no other better feeling.”
Crow’s solo show is a regular on the house show circuit around Denton - he hosts Mable Peabody’s Open Mic night on Tuesday night and can generally be found at Abbey Underground’s on Sunday and Killer’s Taco’s on Thursday.
“Music in Denton is exploding and I’m really looking forward to seeing everything that’s happening in the coming years," Crow says. "There’s always going to be something new, something exciting happening in the entire scene. There’s going to be new musicians coming up, putting projects together, putting supergroups together. Bands are starting to mix and match and mingle, actually support each other. Which is such a necessary thing ‘cause you don’t want everyone at each other’s throats, or competing for gigs within the same genre. We’re all here on this earth to work together and help each other grow. I don’t ever want to put anybody in a negative light or talk down because we’re all working together. That’s what music is all about - bringing people together and having fun, doing the best that you can.”
We tend to agree with Crow's stance - let’s just have fun, y’all.
Photos by Mateo Aaron Granados
Header image design by Brittany Keeton