Questions & Answers with Kenny Liner of The Bridge
The Bridge, from Baltimore, headlines Stage 2 at Annapalooza. The bluesy Baltimore rock band has a strong local following and a relentless touring schedule. Cofounder Kenny Liner adds two distinctive elements to the band: He mimics a beatbox using only his mouth. This hip-hop tactic is unheard of in a rock band. Liner also plays the mandolin, an instrument more common in bluegrass, folk, and country than rock bands.
Q How did you first discover you could beatbox?
A In elementary school, I loved the Fat Boys [a 1980s hip-hop group among the first to beatbox]. They were my favorite. I started imitating them when I was about five or six years old. I used to get kicked out of school and class for doing it all the time. It was kind of like a nervous habit.
Q What made the group decide to include a mandolin?
A Me and Chris started the band, just the two of us. It was just a mandolin and a guitar. It sounded different. Me and Chris still write all the songs. It was fun. We still love doing acoustic shows. But it’s not the same. You can’t rock out as hard.
Q What are you trying to achieve in your music?
A We are just trying to play good music and have fun and do things that are true to us. We are trying to musically be ourselves and do the things we feel. We want the fans to have a good time and enjoy themselves.
Q What’s your proudest moment with the group?
A My proudest moment is the first time we did a Europe tour. I had always wanted to go to Europe but was never able to afford it. It was great that the music was able to take me there. When we did the tour, the people were really digging what we were doing and responding great.
Q You have a heavy tour schedule. How do you find time for other things in life away from the stage?
A When I am home, I basically just chill with my girlfriend and relax. I don’t have much going on besides the band. Between my girlfriend and playing music, I don’t really have much time for anything else.
Q Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
A Jerry Garcia, Beastie Boys, My Morning Jacket, Los Lobos. We got to open for Los Lobos, which was pretty awesome. Chris, our guitar player, sat in with them. It was a very proud moment for me. I have gotten to see the other ones a bunch of times.
Q Your band plays many festivals. What does it mean to the band to be playing Annapalooza, so close to home?
A We are really excited. I love Annapolis. Our drummer is from Arnold, and he has a lot of family out there. It’s another hometown show. It’s always great to play in Maryland. It feels like home.