Stepbrothers: We are family

by McKenna Cardwell

A t-shirt is an underrated article of clothing. Not only is a t-shirt comfortable, it’s practical and good for layering. It can express political views as well as your loyalty to a football team.

But did you know that t-shirts have also contributed to the beginning of a band?

It was a music venue in Boise, ID called The Venue in 2012 where Charlie Ritch wore a t-shirt supporting the band Trash Talk. Ralph Mugot, who was playing in a band with Patrick Buckley, wore a R.A.M.B.O. t-shirt the same night.

Thus, a band was born.

“We were like, ‘Hey cool shirts we should start a band like this,’” Ritch said. “And then one day I showed up to Patrick’s house and we started a band that didn’t sound anything like R.A.M.B.O. or Trash Talk. We started a punk band.”

With the addition of Taylor Tomita on guitar, Ritch, Buckley and Mugot redefined the definition of family and became the punk band, Stepbrothers.

Based out of Boise, Stepbrothers blend their skater-rock, pop-punk sound with an experimental energy to create sounds that are continually test their boundaries.

“I honestly don’t know how it all works together,” Ritch said. “Besides a few common bands our influences are really very different, but I guess our weird chemistry just works together.”

Initially the band envisioned a faster, hard core rock sound for Stepbrothers. However, they started out more along the lines of a 90s pop-punk band.

“That first CD, Everything Might Turn Out Fine, is a bit all over the place because it was really the first time we were all writing songs together,” Ritch said. “We wrote the songs pretty fast and they kind of changed throughout the album since we were still figuring everything out.”

Stepbrothers takes stylistic influences from bands like Jawbreaker and Manchester Orchestra, but their different musical backgrounds come together to create a sound completely their own.

The band has played around with incorporating genres of emo and skate-punk into their music. With their latest album, Stepbrothers slowed things down, bringing in some heavier elements. They focused on bringing more dimension and dynamics into their music.

“With this new record, we started off writing things that sounded a lot like the last record,” Ritch said. “We found we weren’t stoked about it since it just felt like we were writing things because that’s what we had been doing, and so we started writing some different stuff.”

While each member balances the demands of the band with other “normal” jobs, Stepbrothers works hard to set aside the time to play and tour as much as they can.

Touring is one of the ways that Stepbrothers is working to expand the reaches of their band’s influence.

“We are successful in our book when we are able to hangout and meet new friends,” Ritch said. “We get to play with cool bands and see parts of the country that we’ve never seen. But if we could get to the point where making music and touring could be stable money-wise then that would be awesome.”

Stepbrothers is about to head out on tour with Southtowne Lanes after a winter of bunkering in against the harsh Idaho weather.

“Going on tour isn’t exactly what you think it is as a kid, but it’s more about the fact that we did it,” Ritch said “Anybody who told us that this was stupid or that we couldn’t do this, it proves them wrong. You just find a route, you go out with your friends and you take your crappy van out on the road knowing that it’ll probably break down along the way.”

Catch Stepbrothers at Swillery on March 31 with The Co Founder and Southtowne Lanes. For updates, follow their Facebook page.