The band’s journey began at Mentor High School, which all four band members, Brendan Burt (vocals, rhythm guitar), Matt Greismer (backing vocals, djembe), Paul Bryan (lead guitar), Jesse Sopczak (percussion) and Ian McGovern(bass, harmonica) attended.
“I went to high school with Matt and Paul and in our senior year we started to jam together,” said Brendan Burt. “At this point in time only Paul knew how to play guitar. Me and Matt would harmonize on vocals.”
Jessie Sopczak (percussion) and Ian McGovern (bass,harmonica) also attended Mentor High School but were not involved with the band at that point.
After graduating high school, Burt and lead guitarist Paul Bryan headed to Kent State University. It was during this period of time that Burt taught himself to play guitar.
“I knew that I needed to learn an instrument if I wanted to get serious about making a band,” Burt said. “I taught myself how to play the guitar and by the time I was a junior I played my first concert at The Robin Hood in Kent.”
After graduating from Kent State, Burt and Bryan moved back to Northeast Ohio and started to assemble a new band with Greismer, who graduated from Bowling Green. Sopczak and McGovern, who joined the band in January 2011, completed the lineup end and rounded out the sound.
“The band orbits around a unique dynamic of acoustic pop and harmonics,” said Ian McGovern. “We are trying to add a few new songs each show to keep the sets fresh, a few new surprises each show. The constantly growing fan base has been incredible.”
Burt draws much of his inspiration from classic rock bands such as Pink Floyd and mid-90s alt-rock. Greismer comfortably boasts a classically trained tenor range which matches his modest nature. Bryan pulls much of his influences from mid-90s jam bands including the Dave Matthews Band and Rusted Root.
The Brendan Burt Band has a vast playlist with artists including Bone Thugs, Kanye, Akon, Sublime, Pink Floyd and Dave Matthews Band. The band covers a set range from Johnny Cash to R. Kelly, Tom Petty to The Smashing Pumpkins.
“We also like to play great songs from the past 30 years that people may have forgot about,” Burt said. “ It’s always refreshing to hear from fans after a show that say we played one of their favorite songs and that they haven’t heard the song in a long time.”