February 7, 2017

From Garage to Main Stage: the Evolution of The Wire Pilots' Sound

By Brian McCulloch

On Wednesday, January 25, the World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF) featured The Wire Pilots for January’s Monthly Music Series. The group, led by composer and guitarist Dan Rubright and percussionist Ted Rubright, brought their eclectic brand of jazz to the 3rd floor gallery. The brothers, accompanied by Rick Vice on bass and Sandy Weltman on harmonica, buzzed through an hourlong set filled with bouncy guitar riffs, wailing harmonica solos, and fluid bass moves, all fused together by Ted’s fervent percussion work.

Like many musicians of their generation, the Rubrights were inspired by the British Invasion. “I heard The Beatles and that was it,” Dan said. Shortly thereafter, when the brothers were in middle school, they formed their own rock band. “We played bad prog rock,” Dan quipped. The band marked Dan’s first swing at writing original tunes, a craft he’s honed for over 40 years since then.   

The brothers’ natural inclination towards exploring sound took them to musical realms outside of rock ‘n roll. Ted, who earned his Graduate and Postgraduate degrees from Juilliard, delved into classical music. Dan, on the other hand, was digging into jazz and simultaneously developing his songwriting skills. “I loved composing,” he said. “That was the draw of the guitar. I could just sit around and make up things.”

The Wire Pilots began several years ago when the Rubright brothers were invited by a friend to jam at his bar. Something clicked and the brothers continued the pursuit of what has become The Wire Pilots’ sound. The Wire Pilots’ genesis story harkens back to the brothers’ early prog rock band–the same band they formed in their parents’ garage out of nothing more than their passion and desire to play. Fittingly, the Rubright brothers named their first album The Short Way Home. 

The brothers continue writing, playing, and performing all over the Saint Louis region. “I love it just as much now as I did back then,” Dan said. The group has one record out with plenty more in the works. Keep up with The Wire Pilots here. To learn more about the WCHOF Monthly Music Series, and to keep up with all things Hall of Fame click here.