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A Change of Heathens

Band of Heathens regroups Saturday at the Parish

By Jim Caligiuri, 2:37PM, Wed. Sep. 5, 2012

A Change of Heathens

While preparing a review of the two new DVD/CD sets from the Band of Heathens, I discovered that the locals have experienced big changes since the beginning of the year.

I was aware that guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Colin Brooks had left to pursue a solo career, but I didn’t know the longtime rhythm section had been replaced.

Such upheaval destroys most bands, but Ed Jurdi, who with Gordy Quist is one of the last original Heathens, suggests a more positive outcome. He's also quick to point out that the idea of the group, which began as a song swap onstage at Momo’s for Thanksgiving 2005, was always that of a collective, and at times, life with a capital “L” gets in the way.

“In this whole time, guys have gotten married, had babies,” Jurdi says. “Parents have passed away and friends have come and gone. So it’s been life with lots of moving parts. I can’t speak for everyone, but I think everyone is where they want to be.

“For different reasons, guys wanted to do different stuff. Being on the road for five, six years is a difficult life. Everyone didn’t want to be the same place with it. We still talk to one another and I think everybody’s very happy and in a good space. I’m happy about that.”

The new rhythm section consists of bassist Brian Bowman from the Bodeans and drummer Richard Milsap, who just moved to Austin from Fort Worth. Part of the beauty of being in the Heathens and viewing it as a collective is that its members participate in other projects. Jurdi was a member of soul supergroup the Coveters with Suzanna Choffel, Dan Dyer, and Warren Hood.

“I’m looking for any creative outlet,” he explains, “whether it's writing songs with people or playing guitar in other people’s bands. Whatever it may be, I’m interested in living a creative life. I like when we get away and do other things. Everyone seems to come back pretty charged up and bringing fresh ideas to what we’re doing.”

While there haven’t been many hometown gigs this year, the Band of Heathens returns to Austin for a gig at the Parish on Saturday. Expect some new music as they're preparing to enter the studio next month.

“It’s like anything else in life,” Jurdi states. “Things are changing and it can be disconcerting or it can be invigorating.

“Right now it’s the latter for me.”

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