The Fallen Stars
Do you enjoy naps? I try to enjoy naps but I always feel like I shouldn't be napping.
If you were a bird, what kind of bird would you be? Canadian goose. I love that they migrate and are Canadian.
What's your favorite food while traveling? I have a habit of eating Slim Jims on long car rides but never any other time but it is far from my favorite. Probably Döner kebab although a drive thru Döner would be terrible.
What is one of your favorite songs and why? Paul Westerberg's "what a day for a night" is something I could listen to all day. I don't even know why. There's an easiness to it and simplicity but I still haven't figured out how to play it.
How do you feel about toast? I *heart* toast.
If someone handed you a mandolin, what would you do with it? First I would check to see if it was mine. I had a friend return a mandolin to me the other day and she has had it for nearly 2 years. I forgot I even owned it. I believe I own 4 or 5 mandolins but I only know where 2 of them are.
Do you know who sang the song "Driver's seat"? Yeah! Sniffin' the Tears baby! Love that song.
You've made a couple of albums now - what's your favorite song you have recorded? Ooh, that's hard. On our "Leaves on the Wind" project we have a song called "Nothing" that has my favorite recorded guitar sound and it also switches time signatures in the bridge and that makes me feel fancy. So I like that one a lot but not for obvious reasons. I really love the way "The Lights" came out and we did almost all of that spur of the moment one night in the studio. "Massachusetts" is probably my favorite song I've written and recorded - it's also the one I play whenever I pick up a guitar.
It's a long drive, how do you pass the miles? I'm probably the one driving - lots of music and daydreaming.
Tell me something interesting about the musical instrument you play. I've assembled all of my telecasters from parts. I prefer Allparts '62 Reissue necks, Ash bodies and Onamac Windery pickups. My main acoustic now is a Gibson J-100 xtra CE. It's pretty unique and Gibson only made this model in 1995 and only made about a dozen of them. Also my parents bought it for me a couple of years ago as my early inheritance - so it's really special to me.
What special skill do you bring to The Fallen Stars? I'm excellent at making breakfast and making something tasty out of very few ingredients.
If you were stranded on a desert island - would you try to make a raft to get off the island or would you just stay there? I would definitely start work on a raft or some kind of boat. Always bugged me about Gilligan's Island that they just accepted the fact they were stuck there.
What's been your favorite musical moment so far? The making of "This is Happening" with our buddy Ben Riddle was really special to me. We just wrote and recorded music in a short period of time and then it was done. Beautiful snapshot of 17 days in the studio.
What brand of socks do you like? Dickies - the kind with the extra padding on the bottom.
When was the last time you rode a bike? Just the other day. I like taking the bike over to the grocery store whenever I can.
What is your favorite Star Wars movie? The Last Jedi was awesome but I'm going to have to go Rogue One. Hands down.
Can you juggle? Only words.
Who is your favorite actor/actress? Toss up between Noel Fielding and Kristen Bell
What new music are you listening to currently? This week it's been War on Drugs and Band of Heathens
Where do you go for a great hamburger? I am partial to 5 Guys.
What is your favorite sport? Hockey by far.
Who is a better diver, Greg Louganis or Jürgen Klinsmann? Klinsmann will forever have the best dive ever in a World Cup match.
What is your favorite tv show? The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
What is your favorite BBC tv show? Sometimes it's Doctor Who but lately I've been enjoying watching The Big Fat Quiz of Everything.
What is the best movie about hockey? This is actually a difficult question. My gut tells me it's "Slap Shot" but my gut mostly just enjoys hearing Paul Newman say "fuck" a lot. I'm going to go with "Miracle" even though it omits my favorite part of the story of Herb Brooks coaching.
What's your favorite color? Purple or aqua. Something girly like that.
Do you enjoy naps? As often as possible.
If you were a bird, what kind of bird would you be? Owl. They mate for life, are mostly active at night, often shown wearing glasses (though in reality I need them a lot more than they do) and are always asking questions!
What's your favorite food while traveling? Whatever the locals are eating.
What is one of your favorite songs and why? There's a song on the Counting Crows album Recovering the Satellites called "Another Horsedreamer's Blues." It's in 6/8 time and is about a woman struggling with addiction and dreaming of horse-racing and hope. It's just got an incredible arrangement and feel and utterly stops me in my tracks every time I hear it.
How do you feel about toast? Love it! My grandparents used to live up the hill from the Wonder Bread factory, so their house always smelled like toast. Mmmmmmm.
If someone handed you a mandolin, what would you do with it? Give it to Bobbo. Or hide it from Bobbo. 'Cause honestly, does he really need another mandolin?
Do you know who sang the song "Driver's seat"? Yes, but only because I just read Bobbo's answer first and I will probably forget it again in a few days. Now the song is stuck in my head. Dammit Bobbo!
You've made a couple of albums now - what's your favorite song you have recorded? I'm really happy with our Leaves on the Wind songs. It was such an interesting challenge to try and capture each Firefly episode in musical form. If I had to pick just one song though, I think I'd probably go with "Stronger Than Steel," as it's really grown beyond the project and taken on a much bigger meaning and life of its own.
It's a long drive, how do you pass the miles? Zzzzzzzzzz.
Tell me something interesting about the musical instrument you play. Our song Valentine's Day is the true story about how my '74 Rickenbacker 4001 was stolen a few years ago, but we were lucky enough to get it back safe and sound. Thank you social media!
What special skill do you bring to The Fallen Stars? Hair, makeup and spreadsheets.
If you were stranded on a desert island - would you try to make a raft to get off the island or would you just stay there? Are there books? If so I'm totally staying, it sounds like a dream come true!
What's been your favorite musical moment so far? On stage at the Breminale festival in Germany was pretty amazing.
What brand of socks do you like? Whatever is in my drawer. Now if we're talking shoes, that's an entirely different story...
When was the last time you rode a bike? This summer on the Cape Cod Rail Trail.
What is your favorite Star Wars movie? I'm loving the new era in Star Wars, I thought The Force Awakens, Rogue One and The Last Jedi were all excellent. But I'm secretly partial to Return of the Jedi since it's the first one I really remember being excited about as a kid.
Can you juggle? Hell no. I'm definitely a one-thing-at-a-time kind of person.
What's your favorite color? Green.
Do you enjoy naps? Yes.
If you were a bird, what kind of bird would you be? Raven, they're smart and excellent problem solvers.
What's your favorite food while traveling? Biscuits and gravy when travelling thru the USA.
What is one of your favorite songs and why? "16 Days" by Whiskeytown on Strangers Almanac (actually, most songs from Strangers Almanac). I finally understood this whole "Americana" thing listening to the songs on that album.
How do you feel about toast? I don't have a problem with toast. I see it as a necessary and versatile breakfast item.
If someone handed you a mandolin, what would you do with it? Say thank you, decide that i should learn how to play it, then set it along side the other string instruments that i own, never to pick it up ever again (just like the others).
Do you know who sang the song "Driver's seat"? Nope.
You've made a couple of albums now - what's your favorite song you have recorded? "Lights" was fun, It has a fun groove. it was a spur of the moment decision to record that song. Also, most of the songs from the Riddle and the Stars 1st album "This is Happening"- really proud how that one turned out.
It's a long drive, how do you pass the miles? If i'm driving, I spend most of the time trying not to fall asleep. If Bobbo's driving, its listening to him tell the same stories I've heard several times while he plays music from random bands that I've never heard of.
Tell me something interesting about the musical instrument you play. Usually, I play what we have been calling a "Cajon kit". Essentially, its a wood box that i use for a bass drum and smaller "snare cajon" that i play with brushes. The snare cajon or "snajon" is something my dad and I have been putting together for a couple of years now, mostly from scrap he has lying around his shop.
What special skill do you bring to The Fallen Stars? I can play a train beat like nobody's business (there's a lot of those songs). And they say they enjoy my company, but I'm guessing that's only because they want me to stick around as they're drummer.
If you were stranded on a desert island - would you try to make a raft to get off the island or would you just stay there? Depends. Can i get past the breakers without losing Wilson?
What's been your favorite musical moment so far? Recording "This is Happening"
What brand of socks do you like? Haynes work for me.
When was the last time you rode a bike? Last Sunday.
What is your favorite Star Wars movie? As a kid it was Return of the Jedi. However, the new one Last Jedi is pretty strong.
Can you juggle? Music, work, and family life? You betcha.
Who is your favorite actor/actress? Paul Rudd / Emma Stone.
What new music are you listening to currently? Magnolia Electric Co.
Where do you go for a great hamburger? GD Bro Burger
What is your favorite sport? Baseball
Who is a better diver, Greg Louganis or Jürgen Klinsmann? I'd have to go with Greg since I've never heard of the other guy.
What is your favorite tv show? Last Week Tonight
What is your favorite BBC tv show? Dr Who
What is the best movie about hockey? Cutting Edge
Few musical partnerships are as lucky as Bobbo and Tracy Byrnes. Happily married for over a decade, they’ve been writing and performing music together for just as long. In the autumn of 2000 they moved from Boston, Massachusetts to Southern California and shortly thereafter founded one of Orange County’s leading Americana Rock bands, The Fallen Stars. Blending rock and roll energy, country-flavored instrumentation and folk-inspired story-telling, The Fallen Stars have carved out a niche in the Southern California scene all their own.
Their fourth album, Heart Like Mine, features sixteen tracks of "stellar country roots rock" according to Vintage Guitar Player Magazine. "With a tight rhythm section backing him, Byrnes unreels hot licks with thick tone, laying down an album of originals that are catchy and cool." The album includes contributions from a handful of talented musicians, including Rami Jaffee (Foo Fighters, Wallflowers) on Hammond B3, Caitlin Cary (Whiskeytown) on violin and Danny Ott (Chris Gaffney, Dave Alvin) on guitar and lap steel. The album has garnered critical praise, including nominations at the Orange County Music Awards for "Best Country/Americana Band," and being named "Top Ten Indie/Unsigned Album of the Year" by LA Music Examiner. Their last album “Where the Road Bends” was nominated for “Album of the Year” and “Song of the Year” in the Orange County Music Awards as well as the song “One, two, three (thousand miles back to you)” reached #43 on the German radio charts while on tour there.
The band played over 300 shows in the past two years, playing in 14 different states and 6 different countries entertaining crowds in clubs, bars, outdoor festivals, house concerts – anywhere with a stage and few places without a stage! One of the key qualities that make the Fallen Stars performances stand out from the crowd is their adaptability. Bobbo and Tracy often perform as an acoustic duo, him on guitar, her on bass, and both sharing lead and harmony vocals. These performances are rich with warm intimacy, shining on the sparse and spacey "Dam" or personal stories like “Valentine's Day.”
Add drummer Brandon Allen into the mix and they are transformed into a dynamic three-piece band. This powerhouse lineup bursts with energy, soaring through the big-hearted “Glad” and connecting with the audience on the swaggering “Welfare Cadillac,” before leading them on a wild ride through the dusty back roads of rock with “One, Two, Three.” With their Cowboy Junkies inspired cover of Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues" and a Springsteen-meets-the-Clash "Cadillac Medley," the Fallen Stars both reveal their influences and put a fresh spin on some great classics.
The Fallen Stars have honed their live show over the years, sharing the bill with bands as diverse as The Church, The Blasters, The Tubes, Ian Hunter, Matthew Sweet, The Motels, Dave Alvin, The Gin Blossoms and Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers. “It’s such a gift,” says Bobbo, “to have the chance to play with these great bands. We always learn something new.”
In the words of one Fallen Stars fan, “Their music is Americana with an edge, it feels like driving on Route 66 with the radio on full blast. Every song has a story, every story has a meaning. The more you listen to it, the more it becomes a part of you.”