NORMAN — After the surrealistic sounds he made with Starlight Mints and the alternately bright and wistful daydream pop he created on his 2006 solo album “White Paper Beds,” Ryan Lindsey's inner-punk suddenly busted forth in 2011, and BRONCHO was born.
Certainly no one expected such an outburst from the thoughtful singer-songwriter from Norman whose sunny and infectious solo tunes landed him a publishing deal and have been licensed for network TV series soundtracks, film and even by Starbucks for its in-store background music.
But the rebellious evidence is all there on “Can't Get Past the Lips,” a 10-track album of raw, swift and slashing tunes that clocks in at barely over 20 minutes in length.
And fans can sample BRONCHO's CBGB-style of slam-dance-inducing music Saturday night in Norman at Opolis as the popular bar and micro venue celebrates its 11th year of presenting the best in alternative rock to local discriminating music lovers.
“It kinda started as a side project, and I think for me as a writer, aside from my solo record, which is definitely a certain genre, as far as stuff I was writing for the publishing company, all that stuff was kind of all over the place,” Lindsey said in a phone interview from his Norman home.
“I was writing songs for all kinds of different avenues.”
Then Lindsey started exploring a rougher road, writing and recording some tunes in a more tempestuous vein and sending them along to his bassist, Johnathon Ford.
“He was playing with me at the time on my solo stuff, and I just started singing him the stuff, and it eventually became BRONCHO,” Lindsey said. “And he got really into it, and Nathan (Price), who plays drums with BRONCHO, he was already playing on all these recordings. And so Johnathon said, ‘Well let's just start bookin' shows.' So at first I thought, well, I'm not necessarily ready to start playing shows, but I do like these songs.
“But then they had these shows booked, so I was kind of forced to. So we started playin' shows, and it really just started making sense ... It happened without us really planning it. Yeah, it is quite a bit different than stuff I've done in the recent past.”
Short, simple, fun
With Ben King (Cheyenne) bringing his guitar and vocals to the fray, the band began recording in earnest in 2011 at the storied Church Studios in Tulsa and at Blackwatch Studios in Norman with engineers Jarod Evans and Chad Copelin.
The finished product, from the defiant, rapid-fire album opener “Pick a Fight” to the rough-and-tumble title-song closer with its twin guitar attack and angry vocals that bear absolutely no resemblance to Lindsey's near-whisper singing on his solo work, hearkens back to the glory days of bands such as the Ramones, Iggy and the Stooges and, in particular, the early Replacements.
“Yeah, I think the Replacements are a huge influence on BRONCHO,” Lindsey agreed. “For me definitely, the Replacements make the most sense as far as the way that things have sounded, the way we kinda went about recording.
“But beyond that, as far as songwriting-wise, I think it also extends even to like Buddy Holly and some of the early rock 'n' roll, that, I think, really influenced a lot of the dudes who came after, as far as Replacements, and you know, a lot of that punk stuff is based on early rock 'n' roll. ... I add a different flair to it, but I just like hearing good songs, and with BRONCHO it's all about keepin' it short and simple and get in and get out. But have a fun time.”
His old friend and former bandmate Andy Nunez, co-founder of the late, lamented Starlight Mints and co-owner of the Opolis with his wife, Marian, said he wasn't surprised at Lindsey's musical change of colors.
“Ryan was touring with Starlight Mints for the last couple of years of that band, and he was kind of moving in that direction a little bit,” Nunez said. “He was actually up for a movie role that got him doing research into that era of the late '70s, early '80s punk-pop era. You know, there were some great bands out of that era.
“So I kind of saw him getting into that anyway. But I also think Ryan's a great songwriter. A great song, you can do it a million different ways. Like someone just said the other day, ‘Oh you should hear Ryan do BRONCHO songs on acoustic, 'cause they're a whole different thing.' You know, you wouldn't even guess they were BRONCHO songs.”
No set plan
And Lindsey said he'll continue to do his melodic pop-rock solo work. He's even collaborated with ex-Semisonic leader and superb songcrafter Dan Wilson on several tunes, two of which were recorded by the clean-cut Ballas Hough Band.
“It was two of the guys from ‘Dancing With the Stars,'” Lindsey said with a chuckle. “They had this band and, you know, we wrote some songs. (“She Was the One” and “Turnin' Me On” from the 2009 album “BHB.”) It was an experience. I had fun doing it.”
Influences, comparisons and labels aside, Lindsey just figures BRONCHO is only rock 'n' roll, and he likes it.
Others like it, too. “Can't Get Past the Lips” was picked up by the Los Angeles-based Fairfax Recordings imprint in June, and Lindsey and company already have started working up new songs for their sophomore album, due out early next year.
“I think (BRONCHO) will progress past just being a punk band,” Lindsey said. “I'm not sure how, but who knows? Maybe we'll just make punk records. I don't really know. It's fun to have an idea and not really set a plan.”
Meanwhile, he plans to have a good time Saturday night at Opolis, which will feature indoor and outdoor shows.
“They're setting up a stage behind the Opolis, so there should be plenty of beer and open sky,” he said.