Meet the Band: The Rocketboys


The Rocketboys aren’t in Kansas anymore.

After signing with Black Magenetic (A Great Big World, Dead Sara), the band went into the studio to record their newest E.P.- Left | Right.

The television show, Glee, aired their song “Viva Voce”  on the season premiere,  which helped catapult the song to the top of iTunes charts around the world.

The song started out as thank you to all the people who had been a part of our journey, Brandon Kinder (lead singer) explained.

“For me, as a singer, my voice was…my voice,” he said. “I can write something that means so much to me, but when someone else hears it, it means something totally different to them. That’s the beauty of music.”

If you’ve been around Austin over the last eight years, you’ve probably heard The Rocketboys play at Antone’s (when it was downtown), the Mohawk, the Parish, Maggie Mae’s,  Emos…the list goes on…

Maybe you even remember the long-haired Kinder playing at Austin City Limits in 2007 as Homer Hiccolm and the Rocketboys.

In 2009, Homer Hiccolm and the Rocketboys shortened their name to The Rocketboys.

Kinder, who started the band in 2005 at Abilene Christian University, needed a band name to enter a school-wide show for bands.  He remembers watching the movie October Sky and seeing a headline that said “Holmer Hiccolm and the Rocketboys.”

“The guys and I were fans of Sunny Day Real Estate and so we thought it would be cool to have a long, weird name too,” he said.

The band has since built a relationship with their namesake, Homer Hickam, Virginia coal-miner turned NASA Engineer in the movie October Sky. They were even invited to play at his 80th birthday party.

The Rocketboys SXSW 2015

“One day he emailed us and we thought it was a joke,” Kinder said. “I don’t think Google alerts were a thing then, but he wanted us to spell his name correctly, if we were going to use. it.”

Since signing with Black Magnetic, Kinder said he has been learning to let go of some of his responsibilities on the business side and focus on what he does best, writing music.

“If something were to happen to the band, I’d still write music,” he said. “It will always be a what I want to do. It’s just part of me.”


How do you balance family life?
I once had a conversation with an older musician in Nashville who was having a rough patch in his marriage. He said, “When you’re home, be home and make sure you’re at home. I try to do that.”

How do you define success?
Getting to play music in front of people. Having people sing stuff back to me that I’ve written. If that’s not success, then I’m not sure what is. It’s always good to remember where you came from and stay humble.

Any embarrassing moment you want to share?
Recently on our last tour run a guy came up to me after the show and said, “great job, tonight.”  I responded with, “Thanks for coming.” A few minutes later, I realized he was in the opening band, that I hadn’t been able to see. I felt like a jerk!

What advice do you have for anyone who wants to start their own band?
You have to really believe in it. It’s a lot of hard work, but the payoff is exponential. The longer you do it, the harder the work is. But it’s fun and sometimes you have to make yourself do it. Don’t be afraid to go for it.

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