Scowl Brow was formed in the late 2000s by singer-guitarist-songwriter Robby Hale, who immediately recruited veteran drummer Joshua Taddeo and eventually bassist Justin Driscoll, who actually came into their orbit as a photographer.
“In 2011 Joshua asked me to come take photos of his band,” Driscoll says. “But they were the only Charlotte-based band I’d seen that impressed me. I’ve been playing guitar my whole life, and I kept asking them if they needed a second guitar player.” The answer was always no, until late December 2012. “I was in Chicago and boarding a flight home when he called,” he remembers. “So I listened to the six-song EP, got off the plane, called him back, and said I was all in.”
Driscoll says that Scowl Brow takes a direct approach to their songs, and they don’t have time for simple classification. “We just play honest, straightforward, driving music that is catchy,” he says. “It still amazes me how mosh pits break out at our shows. Technically it’s considered ‘indie rock,’ I guess, but I think the punk undertones and the way Robby delivers his lyrics separates us from the rest. His lyrics are brutal and honest.”
An example of such honesty is found on Born Again‘s “Cold Dirty Bed,” an acoustic barroom weeper with surprisingly sensitive lyrics: “I held you all night, and I knew I’d never let you go/ Because when your best friend’s your lover, it’s the best feeling you’ll ever know.”
For a band that cites punk as one of its biggest influences, there’s little of that genre’s cynicism or attitude on that track. “Punk-rock is definitely my favorite style of music, and what we were all raised around, but we listen to all types of music,” Driscoll says.
As for the band’s live performance, Scowl Brow stay as raw and informal as possible. “We just get on stage, crack a beer, let the amps ring out, and just go,” Driscoll says. “We don’t make set lists, and we don’t plan it out. We just play. We’re just three dudes who want to play rock ‘n’ roll.”