By Jim Schutze
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By Anna Merlan
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By Alice Laussade
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Ten years ago, Ned Brower was attending SMU when he formed a band called The Cosmetics with one Carter Albrecht. Now the drummer for the Los Angeles power pop band Rooney, Brower has recently paid tribute to his sadly deceased, Dallas-based mentor.
"The title track of our new EP is about Carter," says Brower from a Rooney tour stop in Minneapolis. "He was both my musical mentor and a great friend of mine."
The EP Brower speaks about is called Wild One, the third release from Rooney, a spunky quintet that has existed on the periphery of success for several years.
Often compared to bands such as The Cars, Jellyfish and Blur, Rooney (named after the principal in the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off) parlays its craft at the shiny end of the power pop spectrum. Sweet little songs like "I'm Shakin'," "I'm a Terrible Person" and "When Did Your Heart Go Missing" have found their way onto commercials and various nighttime dramas.
Yet even a high profile slot opening for the Jonas Brothers in 2008 hasn't made Rooney a household name.
Brower is hoping this new EP can help the band reach a different level of popularity while at the same time let people know how much Albrecht meant to him.
"I truly feel that Carter was one of the greatest artists," says Brower. "I wish more people would get to hear his music. If our record sends people his direction, that would be a great thing."
Interestingly, the song "Wild One" is the only cut on the new EP written and sung by Brower. Seems the drummer (who handles backing vocal duties for Rooney) has been mulling over paying tribute to his mentor ever since he found out about Albrecht's death while on tour in Europe a few days after the tragedy.
"We were in England and it was just devastating," admits Brower. "Carter wrote me a really nice note about our record just a few days before he died, and he floored me with how kind he could be."
The song "Wild One" is Brower's reaction to Albrecht's death, but there is nothing morose about the cut. Over a playful beat, Brower muses thoughtfully about the irony of seeing Albrecht's name in the news as a result of his death instead of his talent. "You were the toast of the town, but you were already in the ground," sings Brower, before asking, "Why'd you have to be the wild one?"
Brower says he still thinks about Albrecht every day and wishes his friend and mentor was around to hear what his college buddy has accomplished.
"Carter was a true genius," says Brower. "Writing the song for him was one way that I could fight the sad reality that I wasn't going to hear anymore of his music."