Class Historian: An Interview with Broncho
Oklahoma’s indie rock band Broncho has certainly made a name for themselves, and if you own a TV, there’s little doubt that you’ve heard their catchy number, “Class Historian.” Following their recent show at Rudyard’s, Free Press Houston was able to chat with frontman Ryan Lindsey about the band’s home state, vintage guitars, and the realities of being “commercial.”
FPH: Why the name “Broncho” and not “Bronco?”
Ryan Lindsey: You know, I have no idea. [laughs]
FPH: How important is Oklahoma rock to you and the band? Specifically the scene in Norman, Oklahoma.
Lindsey: It’s pretty good. There is definitely a scene going on. It changes from time to time because it’s a college town, so everything sort of recycles. People move away. In the last year or two, a new scene has started and it matches with the scene I’ve been in for a while. And yeah, it’s cool.
FPH: As cliché as it sounds, since the Flaming Lips are from Oklahoma, have they been a large inspiration for the direction of Broncho?
Lindsey: Yeah, definitely. Clouds Taste Metallic is pretty good. I like [Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots]. I like all of their stuff, though. I know the guys in the band and I like them on that level, as well.
FPH: Did everything start from an 80’s punk film?
Lindsey: Not necessarily, but some of the early parts of the band that did.
FPH: Broncho has a very upbeat, melodic tone, so what are you currently using on your pedalboard?
Lindsey: I have a Boss Super Chorus, a Holy Grail Reverb, a Full Tone, and MXR Distortion.
FPH: What about the guitar? What year is that Silvertone?
Lindsey: I use a 1962 Silvertone 1448.
FPH: I pretty much gave up on the vintage Japanese guitars; I find them to be poorly built. Has it been smooth sailing for you when it comes to the guitar’s stability?
Lindsey: The 1448 I have is fairly simple. I have had it worked on a couple of times, but not much more than that. Most of the time, older instruments need more work than newer ones, but guitars can be a bit different. Fingers crossed, everything will remain easy. I have two of the guitars. I used to have another [guitar], but it got stolen, and it was a Teisco. An early 60’s, red Teisco. I loved it. Our video for “I Don’t Really Want To Be Social” had it in there.
FPH: What started your interests in class historians? Did you run as one in school?
Lindsey: A class historian is an office held in high school. I’m not really sure what it was supposed to be, but all of my friends ran for class office, and I decided to run as class historian. All I really had to do was show up to meeting, and then had to write and read a poem at graduation. I campaigned pretty hard, and made all the promises required as candidate to win the candidacy. I eventually wrote a song about it.
FPH: Could you imagine a school election like the presidential one we are having now?
Lindsey: [laughs] It’d be cool, huh? Local Donald Trump.
FPH: When that song started to blow up and companies wanted to start using them in commercials, were you always open to it? Were you put off by potentially being a “sell-out,” according to critics?
Lindsey: I was definitely always open to it. You gotta make that money! I think that some people are put off with bands putting songs in commercials because they don’t have to pay the bands bills [laughs]. Yeah, I don’t know. I get both sides of it. I mean, when you hear a song, and I don’t think our song was this way, necessarily, but there are constant “commercial songs” that turn people off, but I don’t really care. I’m into it.
FPH: Do you think people lose interest in those bands all together?
Lindsey: Yeah, maybe some people do, but the other side of it is that other people hear stuff for the first time and get turned on to it, so it’s a two-sided debate for sure. There are still people hearing us for the first time if one of our songs is on a movie or commercial, and they begin to get into us. There’s always someone who hasn’t heard a song and that’s always a good thing.
Check out to Broncho’s new single, “I Know You,” and their latest record, Double Vanity, released June 10.