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Sound Circuit

Not Quite Brothers

7/3/2024

“Ain’t looking for nothing, but a good time and it don’t get better than this.”

The lyrics from a Poison song surge from Sam Johnson’s mouth. Jumping up and down to the beat, band members chime in with guitars and drums — mimicking the real band. 

A Van Halen song comes next with screaming guitar licks. Live rock music — and not from a boomer musician — is still kicking with the band Not Quite Brothers. 

Not Quite Brothers hails from Cedar Falls. Cooper Corcoran, who plays on rhythm guitar for the band, recently chatted with CITYVIEW.

Corcoran and Isaac Johnson, lead guitarist and backup vocals, both attended high school and played in a band together. Isaac’s twin brother, Sam, joined the band as lead vocalist, and the band formed in 2018. Other band members include Ben Schmelzer and Nathan Klein. 

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Not Quite Brothers got its name as the lead singer and guitarist are twins. 

“No, they don’t look alike. When it was the three of us, I was the odd man out. The rest of us aren’t related, which is how we came up with the name,” Cooper Corcoran explains. 

The band began playing rock tunes from the 1970s and 1980s that they all “know and love.” They have added new songs from nearly all decades of music to their repertoire, including a few country tunes. Folks often ask how a Generation Z band can play music that they didn’t grow up listening to. He credits listening to his parents’ music as a kid. 

“The ongoing joke is that we play music that was released before we were ever born,” he said.

Music by Tom Petty, Aerosmith and KISS frequent their setlist. 

“We’ve been compared to older musicians such as Van Halen or Led Zeppelin. It just comes naturally due to the songs we cover,” he says. 

The age of the concert goer varies based on the venue or event. 

“We all have a say in the music. Sometimes we’ll listen to a song on the radio and say, ‘We gotta do that song.’ We sometimes choose a different setlist based on the audience.”

However, they recently uncovered an interesting demographic trend. 

“Based on our stats, our fanbase tends to be women age 45 to 54. For some reason, we miss out on the folks in their 30s, which means they could be at home raising kids instead of going to concerts,” he explains.

Baby boomers embrace the band as well, plus they found a new demographic of college-age kids. Their rocker parents also embrace their sons’ music careers. 

“They’ve been nothing but incredibly supportive. We’ll go out seven hours from here, and our parents are in the crowd.”

Recently, the band performed to sold-out shows in Des Moines and Omaha. They have opened for Tesla, Buckcherry and FireHouse. Corcoran says it was his dream to play the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, and it came true. The band played a New Year’s Eve show where they recorded the concert for their social media sites. 

“It was definitely one for the books,” he says.

Starting a band as a teenager provides the ability to mature together. 

“I think of the band members as a true team. The lighting and sound guys, and the support from the crowd, all work together. I wouldn’t trade that for anything. Lots of cool relationships are formed from playing music. I didn’t expect that as a 16-year-old forming a band,” he reflects. 

When fans are screaming and singing along with their songs, or wearing their T-shirts in the audience, it’s an incredible sight. 

“I see the fans from the stage, and I want to thank them. The shows don’t go on without the fans. I consider it a privilege to know them,” he says. “Come out whether it’s your first time or 15th time. We’d love to see you.”

Catch Not Quite Brothers July 13 at Ankeny Summerfest, July 19 at the Waukee Arts Festival, Aug. 1 at Jasper Winery, and Aug. 16 at the Iowa State Fair MidAmerican Energy Stage. n

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Summer Stir - July 2024