Dane Manshack and Adrian “Scrapp” Brackens are an unlikely duo, with just the exact amount of opposing qualities needed to make a musical masterpiece, which they’ve been doing, on and off, for over 20 years.
It hasn’t always been an easy ride, and their journey to their latest album has extended through decades and miles of clouded hell.
“It’s just hard to get it done right,” says guitarist and co-songwriter Manshack. “I’ll come up with ideas and bounce them off him, or he’ll bounce off me. We have that connection, that singer-guitar player type thing, like Led Zeppelin had, like Black Sabbath had. I’ll come in with an idea and have the music written and he’ll do all the lyrics and just go in and write to it.”
The duo plays off each other like clockwork; sometimes Scrapp will step back during Manshack's guitar solos, and other times he’ll jump off the stage and start dancing with the crowd. When they met 20 years ago in Deep Ellum, the chemistry was apparent, and they began writing an outpouring high-energy rock 'n' roll infused with elements of poetry, releasing their first album in 2006, Soul 4 Gold.
Since then, though, they’ve faced a series of setbacks, performing sporadically and finally, 14 years later, finishing their second album, Disappearing Generation.
“We’ve had several different band members come and go,” Manshack explains.
The band's trials and tribulations have subsided in the last year. The KüL's newfound success could be attributed in part to inspiration from lead singer and lyricist, Scrapp, who has faced a series of personal setbacks throughout his life, from experiencing abuse as a child to addiction and other fights in adulthood.
“What kept us from putting out music, since I'm the primary writer, was a time when I really got discouraged with record labels and management bullshit,” Scrapp says. “So, I took a long break. ... I just walked away.”
Scrapp's mother, who was a well-known tambourinist in a world-renowned gospel group, introduced him to music as a young boy, when he began singing and playing drums in church.
Scrapp says he writes music with a specific goal “to touch and help people, whether good or bad,” and this fervor led him to make a name for himself in the gospel music scene in the Grammy Award-winning group God’s Property, featuring Kirk Franklin.
“We toured the world,” the singer says, reflecting on the experiences that shaped him musically before The KüL, “but I never put that in my band's face, because they are my family.”
And in that family, Scrapp has found himself in a leadership role that gives him comfort and a sense of belonging.
“Everyone is dedicated, but I think they often look to me for leadership and direction. And, because I've had so many personal issues, I wasn't the best leader at times.” – Adrian “Scrapp” Brackens
“Everyone is dedicated, but I think they often look to me for leadership and direction,” Scrapp says. “And, because I've had so many personal issues, I wasn't the best leader at times.”
It may have taken 20 years, but the pair feels like they’ve finally got it right, with a wildly entertaining group consisting of Scrapp on vocals and Manshack on guitar, plus their dainty, blonde bass player, Ashley Jeans, and a hardcore, young drummer, Trey Alfaro. Together, they make quite the unexpected crew. But when the music starts rolling, you’d think they were the cast of Modern Family.
Since reentering the Dallas music scene, the group has opened for Bret Michaels, Blue October and Lita Ford among others; they’ve also played with bands like Buckcherry and Candlebox.
“Honestly, I don't know what the future holds for us, but I do know we create life-changing music and put everything in our live shows," Scrapp says. "For now, we’re going to keep creating music to help and heal people's souls and hearts, as well as mine.”