Last month we put the call out online asking our readers who they would like to see on the cover of The Hub in April and by an overwhelming majority Leddit Ride was selected. This group of fellows have not been jamming together for very long but are quickly taking the lead in the Wichita Falls music scene and growing their fan base.
Wichita Falls has a long history of producing talented musicians, and when a new band emerges it usually takes some time to gain the popularity necessary to be a public opinion favorite, but Leddit Ride has taken that rule of thumb and thrown it out the window. Having been formed a mere six months ago, these guys have captured the public’s attention with their heavy sound, southern rock flair, and easy going demeanor.
Allow me to introduce the band to you. Patrick Street is the 24 year old lead singer and front man. He is a chef at The Pelican Restaurant. He and drummer, Mason Warren, 25, have been jamming together for ten years. Mason is a pipe fitter, and formerly worked at the same company as Nick Williamson, the 35 year old bassist and sheet metal fabricator. Bryce Falnes, the 25 year old lead guitarist, reads water meters for the city of Iowa Park, and is a student of one of Wichita Falls’ largest icons, Jason Brown, who proudly states that Bryce is one of his top ten students (of about 1000). Ruben Espinoza, 24, is the multi-talented lead and rhythm guitarist who daylights as a manufacturer of equine spas.
In April of 2016, Patrick and Mason met with Bryce and another unnamed guitarist and did some jamming. Lacking a bass player, Bryce called up his buddy Ruben to play bass with them. Ruben hadn’t been in a band in a while, so he met up with them and at the very first jam session they started writing songs. In a short time they had worked up a set of four originals and five cover songs. Things were sounding pretty good, but they all concur that something was just a little bit out of place. Ruben excused himself from the band for about a month and a half. It was during his hiatus that the mystery guitarist left the band, too.
It was at one of Dru Gid’s open jam sessions at The Office in November that the universe lined up and they all met together for the first time, this time with Ruben playing guitar, and Nick was just a jam participant. Nick confesses that after the night of the jam he didn’t think any more about it, until Patrick called him a few days later and asked him to come and jam with the band. With Ruben now playing guitar and Nick on bass suddenly everything that was previously out of order seemed to fall into place, and Leddit Ride was born.
Ironically, during this interview it was discovered that I was at The Office that night. After I had my turn on stage I was out on the patio visiting with some friends, and when these guys started playing my ears perked up like a dog’s does when you yell ‘squirrel’. Unbeknownst to me I got to witness the very birth of the band.
The next encounter I had with these guys was at another of Dru’s open jams, this time at The Iron Horse Pub with full house PA on a big stage, right where they need to be.
They scrapped every song on their set list and started fresh. They now boast eleven original songs, which they plan to release on a CD in the near future. Nine of the songs are from a live performance at Stick’s Place that Jim Maertz of Romeo Whiskey recorded one night when the two bands shared the bill.
One important attribute of Leddit Ride that I have noticed is the praise they have for one another. Nick said he feels very lucky that Patrick called him to come play for them. Knowing that Ruben had been the bassist previously, he humbly states that he is not the best bass player in the band. An eight year Marine veteran who served three tours in Iraq, he says he knows what is important in life. Writing music is one of those things. He loves the musicianship in the group, and ‘’how they can take the noise he hears in his head and half-ass pound out on the bass and turn it into a song.” And performing live he can feel their stage presence, the vibe, the “cosmic groove” as he defines it, and that’s what Leddit Ride is.
Ruben came back to the group just a week before their first gig. He also appreciates the musicianship and the work ethic of the other guys. He said he has never felt this ‘click’ in a group before, and how he enjoys writing songs with them. “Like, a member of the band will come in and start a riff, and the others will build a song out of it and when the band is grooving on a new song you can just see the wheels turning in Pat’s head coming up with the lyrics.”
He also feels something special about capturing Leddit Ride live, as the band is grooving together and it radiates to the audience and he can see them moving to the beat. He says, “People have to deal with life during week and when they come to see us they can just turn everything off, listen to the music, feel the music, relax, and Leddit Ride.”
Two of the band members didn’t talk a lot during my interview with them, and Bryce came in second in that category. He did say that he has a heavy southern rock influence in his playing style, and I have to admit that the more I see him play, the more evident it becomes. I can definitely see how he made it to Jason’s top ten list. When he and Ruben are ripping up some twin leads in a song I am reminded of groups like Skynyrd and Charlie Daniels.
When I asked Mason, who was mostly silent throughout the visit, if he had anything to add he just shook his head and said “nah, just Leddit Ride”. He did say he has been drumming all his life. His uncle Duke Harkrider is a drummer, and he has been around music his whole life.
Mason and Patrick are the deepest roots of the group, having known each other the longest. According to Patrick, when Bryce started jamming with them they felt like they could take the project to the next level. Though not a fan of the catered rock formulas that you hear on mainstream radio, Patrick writes, in his words, “with more root, more truth, more soul, the kind that’ll make the hair stand up.”
A big fan of Skynyrd’s Ronnie Van Zant and how he wrote about everyday stuff, Patrick writes with the same style. He can take a real story or event, or someone he’s met a couple of times, and use the information he has collected and spin it into lyrics about them. It usually happens right there on the spot and you can’t change the lyrics. That’s what came out, that’s what it is.
This is one of the coolest group of guys I have met and after my interview I got to sit and watch these guys go through a rehearsal. From the first downbeat I could feel what they have all been saying about the vibe, the ‘cosmic groove’. Even though we were in a small room I could feel the stage presence. Patrick and his laid back vibe reminiscent of Jim Morrison if he were 24 in today’s world; Nick, the “keeper of the riff” and his tone, style, even his beard has Leddit Ride all over it; Bryce and Ruben switching back and forth with rhythms and leads; and Mason driving the beat like a big block engine, I got to experience up close and personal what it feels like to Leddit Ride.