Coming together as a band is a task at the best of times – finding like-minded people who all believe in the same vision and persevering through thick and thin to produce something everyone can be proud of. Add comedy into the mix and this task becomes somewhat monumental. Enter The Fireturtles. Not only have they come together, stayed together and defied the odds, the are the number one destination for comedy on ReverbNation and releasing their debut album, ‘Self-Titled Debut’ this month. We were lucky enough to sit down with their fearless leader, Brett Duggan, to find out how they came to be and how they plan to take over the world.
How is it that five artists from different backgrounds came together to harmoniously produce such a significant blend of comedy and music? In its current incarnation, The Fireturtles consists of five members – Brett, Casey, Brian, Todd and Pete. Brett helms the team and hails from Boston (as does Brian). Casey was raised in LA as part of the music scene. Former church choir singer, Todd, joins from Oregon and Pete, the drummer, recently moved to LA from Portland, rounding out the group as the drummer. The Fireturtles formed in the halls of The Second City, Hollywood. ( A place known for its exciting comedy scene). When Brett said, “I asked fellow improviser (original FT’s drummer), Jason McNichols, if he was a real drummer or just a nervous taper.” He said “yes, I am a real drummer” and the rest is history.
We asked Brett what it was about music, and comedy, that entices him:
“Music can do so many things”, he says. “It can lift up emotions and bring people together. It is wild enough to start revolutions, yet gentle enough to send a baby to sleep”. So why add comedy? Because laughter is healing. What could be better than a song and laughter? “ It is the job of the satirist to point out the flaws in society, culture and in the human condition. We make people think about stuff with a spoon full of sugar”, he says.
The music industry is competitive. The comedy industry is competitive. What is it that makes The Fireturtles stand out? There are musical comedy acts out there – mostly duos. And, there are serious bands who write and perform funny some songs. The Fireturtles have a certain je nails se qui, an X Factor that you just get as soon as you see them perform, or hear them perform. As Brett says; “we are a five piece band; a tidal wave of ridiculousness!”
How is it that these five, distinctly different people chose this genre of entertainment? Most of the band went to the school at Second City. They all love music and they all love comedy. With that, they all took the chance to do the things they love together. When you see them perform, you can tell they are genuinely friends; a family of misfits that love and champion each other – and that is part of their charm.
One of the most infiltrating questions you can ask a musician is what their favorite song is and why. Brett says, “Yellow Submarine”, by Beatles. Why? Because it was a beautiful and funny song, sung by the Ringo their famous drummer. Brett began his musical journey as a drummer, so the song gave him hope. They say Ringo had to press record himself cause the others laughed at him for wanting to sing it. Yellow Submarine became the title track of the album and inspired the movie of the same name. Brett quips, “The Fireturtles are all about Music and Comedy, albums and movies, oh my”.