Every musician started out as a fan, but it’s not always love at first sight when meeting the performers you grew up worshiping. For Brandon Sanders, guitarist and lead singer for local band Indien, meeting Vic Ruggiero of The Slackers last year seemed the culmination of rock fandom. A conversation and a shared CD later and suddenly he’s on a first-name basis with his idol, looking to blow the roof off the Melody Inn on November 4th as Ruggerio shares a stage with Indien and The Innocent Boys.
“I went to Fort Wayne to see the Slackers play last year and while I was there I brought two CDs of our band, one for the venue and one for the Slackers, in the hope that I could be like, 'Here you go!’ Sanders explains. “So I met Vic, and he was very nice. I told him it was a shame I’d had to drive to Fort Wayne just to see them, but if they could make it to Indianapolis, I’d book them at a show down here.”
Sanders says he encouraged Ruggiero to stay in touch, but never expected anything. But the connection was made, and this past May he was able to book a show for his idol to play a show at the Mel, leading to an ongoing musical conversation.
“I’d kind of asked Vic to play a song with us [on stage at our next show] but the way I worded it he thought I meant record with us,” Sanders laughs. “So he’s all, ‘Yeah, I’d love to!’ So I went with it, because if I can get this guy on anything of ours I’d love to.”
Since I last reported on Indien during the Battle Royale at Birdy’s earlier this year they’ve made a lot happen. They’ve quietly released a new album online over the summer and have continued playing live as often as possible, roaming throughout Indiana and Kentucky building their audience.
The Melody Inn, the band’s unofficial home-base, has provided Indien a place to showcase its unique blend of punk-inspired adult alternative, but they remain proud of the fact that few have been able to pin them down to any one genre.
“Every song we play can come off completely different and we don’t really have a particular style. We just do a bunch of everything,” Sanders says. “And on this album that shows off better than on the prior record. When we’re writing we still write in completely different styles. It’s been cool to see that working on audiences.”
In the end it comes down to a love of live music, and that they will soon share the stage with one of the artists who inspires the band’s continued output, all the better.
“We’re better live, leave it at that,” Sanders says. “And you should come see Vic play, because if you don’t know who the Slackers are you’re missing out on a big thing.”