There are two types of people on this earth: Those that get Back Porch Mary and those that don’t. When it comes to this band it really is that simple. There are no middle of the road fans out there. Back Porch Mary fans are a very dedicated, very interesting lot. They come from every walk of life, age group, and background. There isn’t a neat little bow you can tie them all up with. This is probably because there isn’t a neat little bow you can tie the music of Back Porch Mary up with. The fact that a genre doesn’t exist in the music business to contain them has been an issue for the entire life of the band.
The first Back Porch Mary show was played on May 17th 1993 at a fraternity party in Hays, Kansas. The show was shut down by local law enforcement and 38 people were arrested. This was very indicative of how things would go for Back Porch Mary over the next two decades. The band was founded by Mike Krug a native of Russell, Kansas. From the time he picked up a guitar at 15 he has been driven to write and perform music. Mike formed the first incarnation of Back Porch Mary with a few other music majors at Fort Hays State University in early 1993. This first band was loud and brash, leaning heavily on the rock, punk, and metal aspects of music that led Mike to the guitar in the first place. The band then relocated to Manhattan, Kansas in the fall of 1995. At this point the line-up solidified with fellow Kansans Jeremie Krehbiel on drums, and Monty Black on bass guitar. You might recognize the name Monty Black from the “Time of the Broken Heart” liner notes. He continues to write songs with Mike and remains a “shadow” member of the band to this day. The band recorded one CD of the songs written during this era. The CD entitled “Gather” was released by a start up fly by night outfit that called themselves a label. The CD sold well to the band’s fans in Kansas, but the world was calling and Mike wasn’t about to sit around and wait. Another very important thing happened in Manhattan, Kansas during Mike’s time there. He met and became friends with guitarist Slim Laurence and bassist Joe Miller. Slim and Joe had been playing in a honky tonk band that was based in Manhattan. Joe had just obtained his first upright bass, and they would all sit around and play music together in the back of a store called The Music Company. They would talk about forming a band playing what Slim called “Power Tonk”. However, that would have to wait. Slim and Joe had their band, and Mike had Back Porch Mary. In an odd twist of fate, both outfits decided independently to relocate to the city of Austin, Texas. They all moved to Austin in the fall of 1997.
The best way on earth to get a band to break up is to try and relocate that band. This proved extremely true in the case of Back Porch Mary. Within two weeks of arriving, the Kansas version of Back Porch Mary disbanded. Mike was forced to start from scratch in a city where he knew exactly two people, Joe Miller and Slim. For a while, Joe would fill in on the bass for whatever version of Back Porch Mary Mike could get together for a show in Austin. Slim would come and support the band, and Mike would go and watch Joe and Slim play with their newly formed honky tonk outfit around Austin. Then one night, Mike asked Slim to just play guitar at a Back Porch Mary show in Jonestown, Texas. Slim had never rehearsed with the band and didn’t really know the songs, but it didn’t matter. The seed was planted for what Back Porch Mary would become. Oddly enough, Joe wasn’t playing bass for the band that night. It would take a couple of more years to get Joe in the band, but once he threw his lot in with his old friends, Back Porch Mary as the world knows it came into existence. The band played their first show with Slim, Joe, and Mike on December 30th, 2001 in Mike’s hometown of Russell, Kansas.
The band went into the studio and recorded their first self-titled CD that was released in 2002. The band immediately hit the road as hard as it could playing with a revolving door of drummers. This is when the band started to garner its reputation as a must see live band. They played anywhere and everywhere they could traveling thousands of miles and making insane overnight drives. The music was also taking shape. The creed became that the band would play whatever it wanted. They had no intentions of sticking to one particular style. They wrote songs and forged their own sound over time. They never cared to fit into any category. They just wanted to play good music no matter what genre it may or may not fit into. The first CD leaned very heavily towards the rock side of things. This was a disappointment for the band. They all love honky tonk and country music, and they felt that the first CD didn’t represent that side of them at all. So, in typical Back Porch Mary fashion, they built their own studio and recorded an all acoustic CD entitled “Honest Hands”. This was a drastic departure from the first record and left many people scratching their heads. The fact was, the band loves acoustic music like bluegrass and continues to explore this style heavily to this day. The band continued to tour as much as possible building up a cult like following across the Midwest and South. This spawned a whole new aspect of the band called the Back Porch Mary Street Team. These people were and continue to be the very lifeblood of the band. The band slept on their floors, ate their food, and counted on them to help promote the shows in whatever town they happened to live in. There was no budget or money for advertising, so these people made little Back Porch Communities all over the country. Many of these people have become very dear, lifelong friends of the band, and the Back Porch Mary family continues to thrive.
After releasing the live CD “The Last Rock Show”, the band was really in need of that fourth member to make them a complete band. They needed a solid drummer that they could count on like they had always counted on each other. Enter Ryan Kyle, the only native Texan in Back Porch Mary. Ryan sat down behind the drums and made it his band. Finally, after years of searching, the band was finally complete. Ryan is a bit younger than the rest of the guys, and it was really fun for them to take him out on his first tours. With Ryan behind the kit off they went playing countless shows from coast to coast.
Finally, after much time and a lot of touring the band entered the studio to work on the CD that would become “Time of The Broken Heart”. The band felt that it had the songs and the experience to do their best work. They worked hard for almost a year on this one, mainly because they had to cram recording in between tours. The record did well and reached number 33 on the national Americana charts. The record also received more radio play and sold more units than any of the previous BPM efforts.
The band is currently working on their latest record and their first as a three piece band. The CD is being produced by long time BPM friend Paul Soroski and recorded at Walrus Studios in Austin, Texas. The album “Life is Now” was released in July 2011.
Back Porch Mary is currently playing shows, writing, songs, and putting the miles behind them. They are careening towards the 20th Anniversary of Back Porch Mary on May 17th, 2013.
No one can stop them.