How do you know IT, when you hear it? You just know that you know, right? Thinking back on the music that brought a band from obscurity to the forefront of your awareness, they each have one thing in common; pure, powerful adrenaline of sound that takes you out of yourself and carries you on a journey of emotion. This leads me to this introduction of the band known as Kelen Heller, who possesses that mysterious IT factor. Kelen Heller is on the porch, about to kick the door down on the next generation of hard rock enthusiasts, but I have to say their appeal is not limited to a particular age group. As I sat blasting out Never Lived my teenage son came in and wanted to know who I was listening to, and frankly he looked at me like I was a little bit cooler in his estimation!
Kelen Heller is Ricky Shuler, vocals; Kevin Wall, drums; Efrum Ferguson, lead guitar; Mark Frey, guitar; Brandon Moore, bass. These men hail from Greenville, South Carolina and came together in 2009. Fragments from various bands that came together in what can only be described as a necessary joining of forces. Recently the band released their EP entitled “Kelen Heller – LTD” which was recorded with Rick Beato, the platinum album producer best known for his work with Shinedown.
Asked about plans for the band, lead singer Ricky Shuler had this to say, “We set out at the beginning of the tour with plans to show everyone what we are made of. …Riding up the road full of excitement and ready to kill it where ever we go. The first week of shows get us into the groove and a routine we’ve never experienced, all the while making new friends and fans for life. We are giving 110% every night. Pictures taken and autographs signed every night! Our people back home hanging on to every post, and so proud of us. What a humbling feeling. We are on fire right now. After the tour we have plans to record more and hit the road again, expecting bigger and better things next time out. Keeping our nose down and churning our legs, we will not stop what we set out to do; taking over the world!”
This band is a mix that has everything necessary to become the next major national act; the looks, take Ricky’s glorious mane of hair, bassist Brandon Moore looks remarkably like Nikki Sixx in my opinion, the style (who dresses these guys?), the material, the sound and above all the talent. I admit that I am a little terrified of Efrum Ferguson. There is something about a man who is never seen without this mask concealing his true appearance. Rumors range from being horribly scarred to being an infamous psychopath. The fact that he doesn’t speak only freaks me out that much more, yet he is no mute. A horrific giggle is known to erupt sometimes. Fortunately with talent like his, it is easy to overlook the rest of his frightening appearance. For me it is like looking at a lifeless doll’s face, yet the churning guitar magic speaks where Ferguson does not. While he refuses to speak, a written comment leads me to want to know more about this enigma; he said “You don’t choose music. It chooses you, and you can’t do a thing about it.”
The thing that struck me about the music from Kelen Heller, is the fact that while they are unmistakably hard rock that kicks you in the butt and has you banging your head in time to the driving base line, the lyrics are fantastically well written and meaningful. There is true musical talent going hand in hand with the brilliant image they present. When I asked who gets the credit for the songs the response was this, “Although the majority of a song idea may belong to any given member, the song isn’t complete until all five of us put our stamp on it, so to speak. The producer on LTD has co-writing credits on a couple of songs, but it’s still only two entities involved, him, and Kelen Heller. Every Kelen Heller song is written by us, equally; all for one, as they say. Be it broke or wealthy, we’re in this together.”
Kevin Wall, the exceptionally talented drummer had this to say, “We wish for every band what they wish for themselves, there’s room for us all at the top.” A very generous attitude in an openly cut-throat industry, I have to say. But then again with talent like these guys possess, they can afford to be generous.
Be sure and check out the video for the awesome Never Lived, it is habit forming and absolutely outstanding. The song So Deserving is my particular favorite and shows the depth of the talent these guys have. The best advice I can give to anyone who truly loves excellent hard rock is to be sure and check out Kelen Heller. You won’t be sorry.
You can find Kelen Heller at the following:
In the event you can make it to see them live, future shows include:
Saturday, November 16 at The Chop Shop in Charlotte, NC, show starts at 7pm
Friday, November 22 at Sky City in Augusta, Georgia, show starts at 8pm
These guys are absolutely on my radar now, and I will not rest until I’ve seen them live. Whether I have the nerve to get near Efrum or not remains to be seen. One thing is for certain, Kelen Heller is going all the way!
Much love and respect <3