Today we’d like to introduce you to The Ides of June.
Much like the fabled Ides of March, The Ides of June was born out of tragedy. Following the unfortunate passing of frontman Dusty Huggins’ mother in 2012, he and his close friend Clay McConnell decided to embark on a journey of music-making. Both had grown up in mostly musical families; McConnell’s grandfather had even been inducted in the Georgia Country Music Hall of Fame. However, up until that point neither had really put much time into learning music. As has been the case for so many musicians, Huggins began to dedicate most of his time to learning guitar and teaching himself how to sing as a way to cope with an incredibly difficult time in life. He and McConnell began writing songs while simultaneously learning how to play music together.
Both knew the end goal was to secure a full band with which to play the songs they had been working on. In early 2015 they met drummer Justin Nelson and bassist Mike Rosenfeld. They began casually “jamming” with their two newfound comrades, but the master plan was to rope them into being dedicated band members. This happened soon enough and by the end of 2015 they were performing live in Atlanta, Ga. By 2016 the band had enough music to go into the studio and begin working on their debut album Exist! Which was released later that year.
Over the course of the next couple of years the band went through some lineup changes. At the end of 2016, Rosenfeld decided to part ways with the band. On that exact day, Huggins reached out to Alex Gannon, a friend from college who had just moved into East Atlanta. Gannon filled in on bass for a few gigs before Huggins invited him to officially join the band. Huggins moved to bass and Gannon split the role of rhythm/lead guitar with McConnell.
The new quartet began working on music for the band’s 2nd album. After a year of writing and gigging they were back in the studio, and in late 2018 Stop, Rock & Roll was released. Shortly following the release of the 2nd album, Nelson departed from the band and shortly after that, McConnell moved Arizona to pursue other opportunities. For a few months Huggins and Gannon spent their time auditioning players for the open positions. In the meantime, they continued to play as much as possible with stand-in musicians until they were able to secure a full band once again. After a couple of prospects, the band finally settled into its current lineup. Nich Gannon (Alex’s brother) took over drums and Eli Browder (guitarist/frontman for local Atlanta band Warsaw Clinic) filled the 2nd guitar part. Alex and Huggins had often discussed the desire to add a keyboardist and their chance came during this restructure of the band. Matt Bruno had sat in on keys on a couple of gigs. He officially joined on electric keys in 2019, completing the transformation of The Ides of June into a full five piece band.
With the addition of the new members, The Ides of June’s sound inevitably began to shift in a new direction while maintaining its core (and of course Huggins’ lead growling vocals). Huggins and Gannon already had some ideas for where to go next, and all they needed was a band to help them get there. With a solid group of musicians once more, they wasted no time in starting work on the new songs. After hashing out five new songs (in between an onslaught of unexpected yet welcome gigs throughout the last half of 2019), they were once again in the studio near the start of 2020 to begin recording their 3rd album. The band had just barely finished the preliminary mixes of the new album when the Coronavirus took the country by storm. They are currently waiting (impatiently) for things to settle down in the world before going back to finish out the album and plan on the release date.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Overall it has been a smooth road, but it is definitely not always easy. When it was down to just Dusty and we had a hard time maintaining relevance in the scene and continuing to play gigs while simultaneously looking for new band members. Then after finding some and having those members not work out and having KEEP looking was very tough and even borderline discouraging. However, in hindsight it was well worth the challenge. I (we) are extremely proud of the group of guys we now have and the level of musicianship is stronger than it has ever been.
Can you give our readers some background on your music?
The Ides of June has come to stand for equality. We strive to do our part to contribute to the greater good the only way we know how: through our music. We hope to spread love everywhere we play and to all we encounter.
Our sound itself is fairly eclectic due to the range of influences amongst our members. We are often described as having a Southern rock vibe, but hard rock, blues and even a bit of funk also find their way into our music.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I don’t believe “luck” has played any part in our band. We have all worked exceptionally hard to be the best musicians we can be individually. When we come together to write, rehearse or perform as a band, we pour everything we have into it. The result is not always (in fact it is RARELY) the perfectly clean and polished product we may strive for, but it is certainly always genuine. To attribute anything we have (or haven’t) succeeded in doing to luck would be prevarication.
- Website: www.theidesofjune.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @theidesofjune33
- Facebook: @theidesofjune33
- Twitter: @theidesofjune33
All photos shot by Elle Wood Photography