Bridges Burnt — Chris Cowell, left, Toby Puffer, Aaron Franklin and Dan Woody — compete Sept. 7 in the Cover Wars Final.
By Don Groves
The Albany Ledger
A heavy metal band with roots here in Northwest Missouri now has bragging rights in a Kansas City competition.
Bridges Burnt battled through six qualifying rounds of competition to claim the Cover Wars Final on Sept. 7 at the Voodoo Lounge at Harrah’s Casino in Kansas City.
Bridges Burnt is Dan Woody of Albany on bass, Toby Puffer of Bethany on drums, Chris Cowell of New Hampton on guitar and vocalist Aaron Franklin of Princeton. The group has been together since 1997, Woody said, writing original music. But lately the band’s been covering other groups’ songs as a way to help them get their originals better known.
“We’ve all been in other bands,” Woody said. “I’ve been playing music since I was in high school. I began playing bass in the 1980s.”
While it’s Bridges Burnt originals the band enjoys performing most, it was covers of band likes Volbeat, Jackyl, Chevelle, Shinedown and Led Zeppelin that helped them win the Cover Wars competition conducted by Jim Kilroy. Bridges Burnt competed with four other bands on March 11 in the first round of the Cover Wars and was chosen to move on to the finals of the competition. It sounds simple in hindsight, but Woody said they had a number of strikes against them from the start.
Bridges Burnt found themselves competing against more than 30 Kansas City area bands and were virtually unknown there. In fact they had rarely performed publically the last few years. Bridges Burnt also found itself taking its metal music to predominately classic rock fans in Northwest Missouri, which posed some obstacles. Woody said the band was able to overcome that obstacle, though, which was apparent at the Cover Wars Finals.
“They gave us 100 tickets to sell for it,” he said. “We sold them and asked for another 80 or so. We’re indebted to the crowd showing up and the people supporting us.”
While Bridges Burnt had plenty of fans at the competition, it wasn’t until nearly 1 a.m. Sept. 8 when the judging came to an end and Kilroy announced that Bridges Burnt was the winner of Cover Wars.
“This was a huge victory far above being named the champs of the competition,” Woody said.
He said the guys who make up Bridges Burnt have been involved with other bands throughout the years but they’ve seen a common theme all across Northern Missouri: towns hire bands from Kansas City or Des Moines because of where they are from rather than supporting those some very capable bands that live in their backyard.
“Winning Cover Wars a few weeks ago just goes to show you that you don't have to live in the big city to be good,” Woody said. “It simply means you have to work hard at something you love to do.”
And working hard it something Bridges Burnt plans to continue to do. Woody said they recently gave a benefit concert at Shadowfax for Jared Reidlinger, whose downtown Albany business and apartment collapsed in August. Woody said the band will be back at Shadowfax the Friday after Thanksgiving.
“Chris Brown’s been good about helping us,” he said.
Woody said Bridges Burnt has also been booked for a wedding and has a performance in Des Moines. After that it’s back to the Voodoo Lounge where they’ll be the headliners in late winter or early spring. In the meantime, he said they’ll continue getting together once or twice a week in Eagleville to practice and writing more songs for an upcoming CD, which they hope to complete in 2013.