What started out as a jam session with friends to relax and blow off steam turned into one of the hardest working bands in Wichita Falls. Deep In It founder and bassist Brian Beck, and guitarists Robert Duncan and Chris Rodriguez got together in Brian’s Garage to have a little fun.
Brian had been the bassist for the band Fundamental Mojo and they played extensively at frat parties, MSU functions, casinos, and for a time they were the house band for Shooters Bar before it burned down. Shooters bar was located downtown behind P2.
Chris had been the guitarist for the TuTones for about 17 years, playing R & B standards, Frank Sinatra, MoTown and the like, and his playing style, as well as his song repertoire, is extensive.
Robert, Brian’s dad, is a retired property manager, and played in his church band.
It wasn’t until February of 2017 that the right mix of players formed the nucleus of the band currently known as Deep In It. This Trio of musicians played in the garage with several different drummers and guitar players. Word got out that there was a hot new band in town and people started calling them for shows, so Chris handed the other guys a set list and told them, “They want us to play. I will show you these songs, I can sing them, let’s play a gig.” And they hit the door running.
They had decided to add some country songs to their repertoire and needed someone to sing and play the country style, so Robert called up Derrick Kuehner, former guitarist for recording artist and songwriter Jordan Walker. Robert and Derrick played together in church band, and when Robert asked Derrick if he would like to come and sing some country songs he said yes. When he showed up for the first rehearsal they told him to forget that, he is now a lead guitar player. “Here we are a year later,” Robert says, “and we’re just now getting to those country songs.”
Suddenly the bookings of the band took off. Deep In It started getting very busy and that took its toll on drummers. It was difficult to find one that could commit to the schedule. They utilized several drummers to play shows for about six months. “Then Billy became available,” Derrick said. The Billy in reference here is Billy Pennington, former drummer for the bands Twicebroken, Roselwan, and 8 Minute Fall. He and Derrick had also played together in the Jordan Walker Band.
Robert says, “It was a magical formula right off the bat!” And Brian adds, “As soon as I got a hold of Billy, I filled up the calendar for the whole year so he couldn’t go anywhere.”
The band worked almost every weekend last year, and so far this year, there have been few exceptions to a similar schedule. Working so hard and so often, they have also developed quite a following. They not only do shows in town, but they also venture out to other cities like Medicine Park, Lawton, Lewisville, Vernon, and Bowie to name a few. When I asked how you go from a garage band to the busiest band in town Brian tells me, “I’m the guy that gets on the phone. I don’t let them tell us no. I think I’m sweet about it, but I bug them to the point where they know this guy is not going to leave us alone if we don’t give them a gig. We get a gig and they love us and they want us back right then and there. I don’t think we’ve played a venue that we haven’t gotten another booking before we left”.
“But venturing out further is a little more difficult. Everyone wants an EP. I’ve been BS-ing my way through so far — Facebook, YouTube — and we usually get a call back pretty quickly which is a benefit for us. We do have original material, but we also do the dance floor stuff and we’re really good at keeping people out on the floor.”
And they sell a lot of merchandise. Brian tells me, “The first time we played at Fubar Saloon in Lawton we sold 75 shirts and 100 koozies. We were passing out shirts and collecting money as we played. By the way, we will be back at Fubar again on September 15th.”
On top of building a solid reputation, Deep In It recently took the top honors of the Times-Record News public poll in the Live Music category, solidifying their reputation even more. If that wasn’t enough, Brian reached out to blues great Malford Milligan and asked him if Deep In It covered a couple of his songs would he be interested in performing them with the band. Malford said he would be honored to do it, and Malford made an appearance with Deep In It at The Iron Horse Pub. “That was one of the highlights of my career,” Chris said. “He made us feel like we were the most important people to him,” Brian adds. As an extension of that special performance, Malford asked the band to do a complete show with him at The Iron Horse Pub for November 30th as well. Congratulations again, guys!
I asked Brian how it feels playing in a band with his dad. He replied, “It’s great. We feed off of each other. I know where he’s going and what he’s going to do next. It’s a lot of fun!” I then asked Robert how it feels playing in a band with his son. “It’s not as bad as when he was younger,” he said with a chuckle. “But I spent many years as a property manager. In that job I made all the decisions. Here I let him make the decisions. Just tell me when and where to show up and what to bring. It’s so nice, and he pays me when I do it!”
The band had decided earlier this year to take October, November and December off from playing to rest and work on some studio material. Brian has his own remodeling business, coaches football, and likes to hunt, so his plate is pretty full this time of year. But it seems as though they have a hard time saying no to a good gig. People have called them to play parties, weddings and events, and not really wanting the job would overprice their rate. Much to their surprise they would take the offer.
At the time of this writing, December is the only month in which they have no bookings, and although there have been requests to not book every single weekend next year they are already filling in dates in January, February and March. “A ride like this doesn’t last forever so you better enjoy it,” Brian said with a big smile.
But they still plan on going into Studio to do some recording. They are also in the top five nominees for best live music in Texoma and there is a little money involved that would help them pay for the studio time should they take top prize. They are also regional finalists in the NeXt2Rock competition, a statewide songwriting contest. You can follow their progress in this competition on Cumulus Radio website and 104.7 The Bear website and radio station.
I think that they all agree that it’s been a wild ride from a friendly jam session in a garage to being this Deep In It.
Tim with the band. photo: David Barnard