Todd Keenhold ’85 will return to Ithaca on Sunday with his bandmate Eric Truran for a Grateful Dead-inspired “raucous acoustic” show from 4 to 7 p.m. at The Haunt. The members of the Kind Buds have been playing together sporadically for about six years and are eager to make their Ithaca debut. The Kind Buds will also perform live on WICB radio Monday. Senior Writer Kathy Laluk spoke with the Kind Buds about how the band was started, performing across the country and returning to Ithaca.
Kathy Laluk: How did you two meet and get the band started?
Eric Truran: We had been playing together in a picking circle — a sort of guitar playing club — held at my place. There were half a dozen of us or so. … [One of Keenhold’s friends] came by and played and then basically said, “You and you, come to San Diego with me to play this show.” We thought he was crazy, but we did it.
Todd Keenhold: The two of us had actually played lots of Grateful Dead songs in our younger years when we were learning to play guitar, so we both kind of had that music in us that we had learned apart from each other, and we both have our own style with that when we brought it together. We really complement each other and work really well together. We kind of felt that right away and kept that going as a duo. That’s what makes us really unique — that we
truly are a duo.
KL: I know you play covers of different rock ’n’ roll artists, but how would you describe your sound as a duo? What genre would you consider your music to fit into?
ET: We have tried to coin the phrase “raucous acoustic” because we play with a lot of intense rhythms and each take lead improvisations where we each [are] kind of off-the-cuff [and] play a lead while the other one plays a good guitar rhythm. It’s kind of hard to break the stereotype of being two acoustic guitar players who sing.
TK: We’re a mini jam band without the rest of the band. … We’re mostly known for our covers of Jerry Garcia’s music, but we also do some covers of Motown, Smokey Robinson stuff and some Beatles to try and keep it broad. … We’re really a live performance duo. We don’t practice a whole lot, except on stage.
KL: What was the music scene like during your time at the college?
TK: I actually went out and saw a lot of music. I wasn’t really a performing musician back then. I was playing a lot of guitar with friends at Ithaca, but we were going out and seeing the Grateful Dead and other bands.
KL: Did you ever think you’d be in a rock band?
TK: I can’t say I never dreamed of it, ’cause I definitely did, but I was always a harsh critic of myself, so I’d never go out by myself. I always had to be pushed out on stage by friends initially. Now I really enjoy it.
KL: You don’t get the opportunity to visit much, so what are you looking forward to about coming back to Ithaca?
TK: It’ll just be kind of weird to be back after about 25 years and seeing what’s changed in the music scene. I know The Haunt, where we’re playing, has moved since I’ve been in Ithaca, so it’ll be interesting to see if that changes the mood or feeling of it at all.
KL: What would you say to Ithaca College students who aspire to be musicians and perform across the country? Do you think there is a way for them to begin now, while still in school, or is it a full-time job?
TK: Don’t quit your day job. Have a steady day job, but go out and meet people. It’s all about networking and being in the right place at the right time. It’s cliché, but it’s true. The music world is humongous and really difficult to break into … but it’s just fun to be a part of that and be in the moment.