An Omaha-based band Jane Doe & the No-Names is just starting, but their future already looks promising. The band’s first EP, Better Days, released last month. Anyone can listen online and although it’s only two songs, they are bold in distinct ways with catchy choruses and interesting riffs.
A criminal justice major at UNO, drummer Brennen Settles is a lifelong music lover. He’s shown interest in performing since childhood, starting out dressing as Garth Brooks, pretending to be a country music star. He briefly played guitaut after receiving a drum set for Christmas at 12 years old, he was instantly hooked.
“I enjoyed the very involved manner which a drum set is played and the physical exertion it requires,” Settles said. “It was great for alleviating teen-age emotion and it just grew into an extension of my inborn emotions and feelings.” Shifting from country, rock music eventually drew more passion from Settles.
He spent hours listening to his favorite bands and watching their music videos. Although he received a few lessons during his time playing with his high school band, Settles is primarily a self-taught drummer. He learned the most from listening to songs he liked and trying to repeat them. Settles’ earliest influences include classic rock bands like Rush, Van Halen and Def Leppard. Later, his involvement in music led to his appreciation of modern rock groups like Asking Alexandria and Shinedown.
Before Jane Doe & the No-Names, Settles was involved with another band with friends Zel and Blake. All three eventually left the band to start their own, ultimately connecting with Rob, who is now the bass player. After disagreeing on initial ideas for band names, the group finally came to an agreement. “We decided on this name while randomly calling out names,” said Settles. “Our bassist, Rob, who always has off the wall ideas, yells ‘Jane Doe & the No-Names!’ We all kind of paused, looked at each other, and said ‘that could work.’”
After laying down some initial logo ideas and receiving positive feedback, they fully committed to that name. The band started rehearsing, infusing the group with their shared and individual musical influences. Each member has a common respect for classic rock and pop punk bands which has also played prominent roles in their sound. “Imagine Green Day or Blink-182 with guitar harmonies,” said Settles. “When listening to our songs, we believe it’s quite apparent where our common passions align and are expressed.”
Once the band establishes main riffs and basic lyrical ideas, they get together and work out the accompanying parts. Much of their inspiration comes from listening to other songs and channeling their own feelings into lyrics. Every member puts their own touch into their separate parts, so when it blends together it becomes a product of their combined personalities. Each song takes the band anywhere from two hours to multiple weeks to create.
Jane Doe & the No-Names have played quite a few concerts already. Settles’ favorite so far was their first ever as an established band at the NoWhere Bar in Lincoln. With a turnout of over 100 people and great involvement with their never-before heard originals, this encouraged the band to keep working to build their fan base.
Settles is happy to now be on stage instead of watching from the crowd. “The best part of being in a band is expressing and sharing my passion,” he said.
“I grew up connecting with music on such a deep level. It moved me and shaped me. Now I get to be on the sending side of those feelings and not just the receiving end.” In the future, the band would like to release a full-length record. They have plans to record three more songs relatively soon, with nine tracks being the ideal amount for their first album. Settles dreams of being able to devote his life to all things music.“I would give so much to spend my days writing music, practicing and playing the few instruments I can play and possibly learning more,” he said. “And perform at shows where I can express my emotion through music.”
Jane Doe & the No-Names have a concert coming up on Nov. 18. They are playing at the River City Throwdown at Sokol Underground, where about a dozen total bands will perform. The show begins at 5 p.m. with $10 tickets available from any of the band members or $12 at the door.