Artist Spotlight: Jordan Brooker Band
We always try to introduce you to new music on 99.5 WKDQ, but we can’t put everybody on air. So, I decided to start spotlighting some of my favorite artists just for you! New artists, old artists, in between artists, local artists, I’ve got them all! I’m a HUGE supporter of local talent. I mean, let’s be honest, would you rather sit home and watch TV or have the option to go out and catch some live music?
The Jordan Brooker Band consists of Jordan Brooker (lead vocals, guitar), Matt Helmkamp (vocals, guitar), Nathanial Walker (bass) and Mark Johnson (drums). I’ve known Jordan for a while now, and I don’t miss too many of their shows here, so I decided to bring them in studio with me last week to introduce them to you! Long story short, they’re just four great friends who love traveling together, improving their skills and making great music. Actually, with the short attention spans they have, I don’t really understand how they ever get anything done! ;)
Jordan Brooker started playing bass in a little band with his two brothers when he was twelve years old. Once his brothers quit, Jordan picked up the acoustic guitar and started writing songs when he was 16 and at the age of 18, he started playing shows around the Fort Wayne area. I met Jordan through college, the only difference is that he was smart and got out ;) He knew he didn’t fit the college mold and music was what he wanted to pursue, so before long, Jordan moved back to Fort Wayne to focus on the dream. In his opinion, that was one of the biggest accomplishments and best moves he could have made. The next goal on his list is to sign that million dollar piece of paper. Buuuuut, it’s always good to have a backup plan, right? Don’t worry, Jordan’s got one! If all else fails, he’s gonna be a race car driver! Sorry NASCAR fans, I’m pretty confident you’ll be out of luck on that last one! He understands what a hard business this is to get into, so as long as he can still write his music and play his songs, he’ll be happy. Jordan is the man behind their original songs. He’s one of the most talented people I’ve ever met. In fact, Jordan drew a master piece all over one of my folders a few years back which I still to this day have. I gotta have some kind of proof of knowing him when he gets all famous and forgets me! Some bad habits he wishes he could break are biting his nails and chewing tobacco… I don’t know why, that bottle of spit is just so dang hot… You can follow Jordan on Twitter @jmbrooker.
Nathanial Walker got into music through the KISS videos he’d watch with his dad as a toddler. When he was 9 years old, he decided he wanted to be a rock star, and then realized after having to be sat down by many teachers, that the dream was pretty impossible. Then again, these guys get to spend their weekends up on stage with different people cheering them on every night. What's the difference?! Nathanial gave up on the dream for a while until Jordan contacted him to play in the band. Here’s the kicker, Nathaniel doesn’t even listen to country! According to Jordan, which I completely believe, is that they’ve got songs they perform every single weekend, and Nathanial still doesn’t know who they’re by, let alone the words. Thankfully, they're working on improving that area of his life, and he will admit, Dierks Bentley is one of his favorites. In Nathanial’s eyes, being able to get on stage every weekend and do music full-time is his biggest accomplishment. Everybody’s got some bad habits though, this one is a little different. Nathanial’s bad habit is lying in bed for 12 hours a day and watching Netflix. You can follow Nathanial on Twitter @NathanialWalker.
Mark Johnson played in middle school band and started playing percussion. Up until he got his first set of drums, he’d sit in his room and air drum to Aerosmith. Once that set came though, there was no getting him out of the garage. If you’ve ever seen Mark behind the drums there’s no denying his passion and love. One of his biggest accomplishments was being able to spend some time teaching drum lines last year, and last winter. When I first asked Mark if he had any bad habits, his instant response was, “nope.” Don’t worry, he finally owned up ;) Apparently Mark’s bad habit is caring about his hair too much. I can believe it. Have you seen Mark’s hair? That takes a lot of hard work! Another bad habit is wearing the same 5/50 shirts over and over again. His wife, Cassondra, would be more than happy to back that last statement up, I’m sure! Mark is also a new father. He started his beautiful little family 10 months ago with the birth of their first child and baby boy, Sammy. Mark wanted to step up and talk a little bit about Jordan by saying, “Jordan is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. He doesn’t care if you want to come up and talk to him, and get your picture taken. Come up to the guy!” All of the guys in this band are this way. They’ll talk to you about anything really. They’ll even take selfies of themselves on your phone when you aren’t looking! Or maybe that was just me… You can follow Mark on Twitter @_markjohnson_.
Matt Helmkamp currently lives in Nashville for school. Music is something that Matt grew up around seeing as his mom plays the flute and his dad plays a little bit of everything. Matt got started in middle school band, and found a passion for jazz band. Now I’ve gotta hand it to him, Matt is one of the most incredible guitar players I’ve ever seen. That’s actually how he landed his spot in this band. Matt is the only person who doesn’t live in Fort Wayne full-time, and these guys are performing somewhere every weekend. I asked Matt how difficult that becomes, and he pretty much brushed it off like it wasn’t a big deal. “I don’t have class on Fridays, so I can drive up Friday, play our shows, and drive back down Sunday. We’ve been playing a lot in Louisville and Evansville, so that’s a little easier for me, and when we play in Fort Wayne, it’s a little tougher but it works.” Matt’s biggest musical accomplishment up until this point was being named Most Outstanding Musician in the room during a big jazz festival he was able to play at Ball State. Some bad habits Matt should break? Easy! All he really needs to do is stop scheduling haircuts during practice time and making fun of people! I’d love to be able to give you the link to follow Matt on Twitter, but I can’t, because he doesn’t have one. SUPPOSEDLY, if I make him one he’d use it… but I’m not buying it.
These guys almost fell together on a whim. Jordan was scheduled to play a show in Fort Wayne, but he needed a band to do it. He’s known Nathanial since high school, and Mark is Nathanial’s brother-in-law, so these guys played as a three piece for months. They thought they sounded great! Heck, Jordan felt like George Strait up there, but what they didn’t realize at first was that they were missing all of the big guitar parts. Mark knew Matt as an amazing guitar player, so when he called him, he was pretty surprise to hear that Matt had thought about calling him too! Altogether, these four have been playing together for just under a year, but you’d never know it. Some hobbies for the guys range from Jordan and his guns, to Mark and ultimate Frisbee, to Nathanial and concerts with his dad, to Matt and any kind of sport you could think of. The guys, for the most part, share the same goal. They want to be able to be self-sufficient by doing this for a living, while being able to look over and see the same guys on stage every time. With the fan base they’ve been growing, I don’t think that’ll be a problem. I can’t say I’m surprised. Let’s be honest, they’re some good looking guys! Jordan’s even been threatened by some women with kidnapping, in a “romantic” way, of course. Hey, the way I look at it, free room and board ;)
Out of all of my new artists, the JB Band is hands down my favorite, so give them a chance! Brian Brooker, the band’s manager, has some videos of them performing on their website along with the dates of where they’ll be. You can find it at jordanbrookermusic.com. Oh! And do NOT forget to like them on Facebook! They’re constantly sharing the places of where they’ll be performing along with the people they’ve been able to open for. In fact, just this past weekend the guys opened for Eric Paslay, who we know pretty well here in the Tri-State! Listed below I’ve got the audio from my interview, along with a couple of videos of an original song Jordan wrote called “Thataway”.