“The day Hollis Brown is where we want to be as a band, is the day I stop doing interviews,” says Mike Montali, singer and guitarist for New York band, Hollis Brown.
Hollis Brown is a band you need to know about. The band — made up of Jon Bonilla on lead guitar, Michael Graves on drums, Michael Wosczyk on bass, and Mike Montali singing and playing guitar — are stars in the making.
Obviously students of music history, the band didn’t just look back for their sound, they also mined the rich history of rock and roll for their name. “Since the Rolling Stones took their name from a Muddy Waters song, we thought ‘let’s find a cool song title,’” says Mike M about the band’s moniker.
“A friend of ours mentioned a few Bob Dylan songs, so we did some searching,” says Jon, “and we found Hollis Brown.” A eureka moment ensued and the band was born.
Growing up in close proximity to one another, it wasn’t difficult for the guys to figure out who’d they be playing with. “We grew up playing music together,” says Mike W, “we knew we had what it takes to be a great band with the people we had.”
Having lived in New York City all their lives, the guys in Hollis Brown heard plenty of music. As a result, they knew exactly what they didn’t want to do. “We never wanted to be some Lower East Side art rock bullshit band,” says Mike M, “so much of that is just a bunch of weird synths and noise.”
Art-rock bullshit is the last thing anyone would confuse Hollis Brown for though. Inspired by greats like Neil Young and Bob Dylan, Hollis Brown is a rock and roll band with hooks for days. Songs like ‘Bring it Down’ swagger out of the gate and demand repeat plays and sing-a-longs, Jon’s mind-fuck solos only ramp up the awesomeness. Hollis Brown’s sound has plenty of nods to their influences, something the band usually remembers when they are playing live.
“A lot of bands are weird and only want to play their original music,” says Mike M of the band’s use of covers, “but to me there’s nothing better then playing a great cover of a song that you love.” Whether it’s ‘Outlaw Blues’ by Bob Dylan or any number of songs by Credence Clearwater Revival, Hollis Brown have no problem letting people know who they listen to.
“When I see bands live, usually my favorite part of their set is the cover that they choose,” says Mike M, “It gives an insight into what they listen to and who influences them.”
There’s no better time than now to check out Hollis Brown. After selling out Brooklyn Bowl for their EP release show, which they split with DMC from Run DMC fame, the band slayed numerous showcases at SXSW. With big time tours coming up and the band drawing huge crowds all over New York City, you should still see Hollis Brown at clubs like Mercury Lounge while you can – they’ll probably stop doing interviews soon.