The yards are a great band based in Lawrence, Kansas, home of the Kansas Jayhawks, 40 miles west of Kansas City.
GOM: From the top would you please give us the band members names and what they play?
Bradford Hoopes, keyboardist: Bradford Hoopes – keyboards Michael Hamm – guitar Brad Maestas – bass Danny Rojas – drums on the debut record: Bradford Hoopes – organ Eric Johnson – guitar Brian Baggett – guitar Tom Johnson – bass, engineer, producer Kelly White – drums additional former Yards member: Brian Mitchell – guitar
GOM: How long has the group been together?
Bradford Hoopes, keyboardist: The “group” was formed in the studio November 5, 2000. Kelly White, the drummer, and I had an idea to get some local funksters and hit the studio for a day of spontaneous jams, record them, and mix them, and have an old school one-day-in-the-studio record. So we recruited some local musicians, introduced some of them to each other that day, and proceeded to record. It was a magical day that has turned out for me to be not a side project but one of the musical endeavors about which I am the proudest and most excited. Unfortunately, most of the musicians that played on the debut record have gone on to other projects and careers, but I am determined to keep playing, so I will keep finding players.
GOM: What is the musical background in your band? How long have you guys played your instruments? Did any of you take lessons or go to Music College?
Bradford Hoopes, keyboardist: I have been playing piano since the age of three, took lessons through college, majored in music at Dartmouth in Hanover, New Hampshire. And most of the musicians that have comprised The Yards have a wealth of musical background, much of it at the University of Kansas.
GOM: How do you guys get such a colossal sound in your music? Your sound is enormous.
Bradford Hoopes, keyboardist: That comes from Tom Johnson’s production, which he has labeled dual mono recording. It has something to do with the microphone configuration, plus the fact that everything was recorded at once. The organ leslie was in the same room with the drums!! And then we also separated the organ and guitar into hard-left and hard-right configuration, much like the old mono recordings.
GOM: What do you feel is your most important accomplishment to date?
Bradford Hoopes, keyboardist: Well, that would have to be the birth of our son, Benjamin, this past July! But musically, The Yards ranks right up there with all the music I’ve been involved in.
GOM: Good answer! What do you think of music today as a whole? Are there bands out there that still do it for you?
Bradford Hoopes, keyboardist: Well, you really have to scour for the good stuff, but it’s out there. So much music is available only through independent means these days; it’s great to see musicians being able to get their sounds and vision out there pretty easily these days. Personally, though, I find myself always looking back for all the great inspiration…the bands that do it for me happened between 1965 and 1975 it seems!
GOM: How many CD’s do you have out for sale and where can your fans find them?
Bradford Hoopes, keyboardist: We have 3 CD’s. They are available at cdbaby, amazon, mp3, and our website: www.theyards.net The debut record is available at amazon, cdbaby and mp3. The two live records, Live at the Fox, and Live at Abe Jake’s Landing are available at mp3. The live records were recorded in 2002, opening for John Scofield in Boulder, CO, and Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe in Lawrence, KS.
GOM: Sir, I thank you for your time it has been an honor. In closing is there anything you want your fans to know? Any messages you would like to have go out? Perhaps some encouraging words to up and coming musicians.
Bradford Hoopes, keyboardist: Thanks to everybody that supports music, live music, recorded music, downloaded music! It’s a very exciting and diverse musical world we live in today, and the more the merrier!! Anyone for a jam? And thank you, Joe, and the Gods of Music.
The Yards, a great band and a big sound.