Brendan and Billy Ryan have always dreamed of performing in their hometown of Huntington. Saturday, that dream comes to realization when the brothers' indie rock band, the Bogmen, headlines The Paramount with openers the Last Hombres and the Knockout Drops.
"We've always been hungry for a great Long Island venue of this size," says keyboardist Brendan, 43, of Hampton Bays.
Guitarist Billy, 45, of Huntington adds, "We've been talking about it with friends and fans since The Paramount opened."
IN THE BEGINNING
The story of the Bogmen begins 22 years ago when the band formed and went on a tour of colleges selling cassette tapes out of their Winnebago. The band signed with Arista in 1995 and released its debut album, "Life Begins at 40 Million," which was produced by Jerry Harrison from the Talking Heads. It featured the single "Suddenly." But when the Bogmen's sophomore effort, "Closed Captioned Radio," didn't take off, the band broke up in 1999.
"We got caught in the machine," says Billy.
Brendan notes, "Was Arista the right home for us? No, it wasn't. It was an R&B and pop label, not an alternative rock label."
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Brendan lost his wife, Kristy, in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, and the band re-formed for a benefit show at Irving Plaza in Manhattan, resulting in the release of a live album, "Love at Irving Plaza 2001," from the gig.
"I didn't want to do it. But there were so many memorials and funerals that we wanted to do something that brought everybody joy within the Bogmen community," recalls Brendan. "My band members got behind me and kind of pushed me to do that. Personally, it was rewarding and we raised $200,000. It was a good thing in a dark period."
After reuniting in 2001, the band didn't play together for another five years. Each member got involved with his own projects. Brendan and Billy formed Ryan Bros. Music, a music production company for TV (Seth MacFarlane's "Dads") and film (the Farrelly brothers' "The Heartbreak Kid").
"The cool thing about what we do is that it doesn't naturally come to us," says Brendan. "It's a challenge and makes us try different things."
However, almost every December the Bogmen would reunite for a holiday show at a New York venue. Even though the band was inactive, it would regularly sell out Bowery Ballroom or Webster Hall, proving there's still a fan base for its music. The band even put out a studio EP, "Lookin' for Heaven in the Barrio," in 2010.
"The Bogmen are like black licorice," says Billy, "either you don't like us or you love us."
At the Paramount show, the Bogmen will continue their charitable ways by hosting a preshow Wounded Warrior event. They will greet fans during an open-bar cocktail hour fundraiser, in which a vocal trio, American Bombshells, will perform patriotic songs dressed in military garb in honor of Memorial Day. Iraq War veteran Jason Braase will be the guest speaker.
Today the band has matured and enjoys performing scattered dates.
"We come together for the love of music and we get along great, so it's a lot of fun," says Billy.
Brendan adds, "I think what's healthy is that we can make fun of each other because we have such a history together. Nobody has a fragile ego."
After all they've been through, the brothers Ryan like being back in Huntington, where it all started. In fact, the band spent the week rehearsing at Briggs Music on Park Avenue, preparing for Saturday night's gig.
"Billy's just excited to be able to walk to the Paramount gig," Brendan quips.
Billy responds, "What can I say? I love being back in the village. It's like Christmas every day!"
WHEN | WHERE Saturday night at 8 (preshow Wounded Warrior fundraiser starts at 6), The Paramount, 370 New York Ave. in Huntington
INFO $25-$60 ($75 for the fundraiser only), 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com