By Joe Bachman
WISCONSIN RAPIDS — “It’d be like if Tom Petty and The Beatles grew up listening to Bob Marley.”
One way to describe the unique sound of Diesel Jesus & Brethren — an act that consists mainly of Brandon “Brando” Onstad, a professional bassist that has played everywhere in the country from Nashville, Memphis and Los Angeles.
Originally from Eau Claire, Diesel Jesus & Brethren is the solo project of Brandon “Brando” Onstad. Featuring guests from various local acts, Onstad will play a mostly acoustic set with self-produced material which will be influenced by everything from folk and alternative rock to reggae.
“I’m a working musician, and I’ve played with some different groups and got to tour around a lot in different genres, but I came back to Wisconsin because this is where I’m from,” said Onstad. “I’ve had a taste for all of that stuff and I want something a little different.”
Onstad moved to Central Wisconsin a year ago, and was asked to play Rapids Music Fest by the organizer, which is seen as an honor by Onstad, who has already played with a couple of groups in the area, including local favorites Southbound.
“I love it around here,” said Onstad. “The people are very supportive of the scene — they made it a scene just because they showed up — they saw.”
So where does the name come from? According to Onstad, who considers himself a spiritual Christian, the idea came to him one day while reflecting on his diesel-fueled Mercedes-Benz.
“I have an old school, diesel-fueled Mercedes-Benz, so that became part of my life — and diesel is less refined than gasoline, and I’m less refined than Jesus,” said Onstad.
Onstad has released a new EP on Reverb Nation, which shot up to as high as No. 26 on the national Indie charts. You can check it out by visiting https://www.reverbnation.com/dieseljesus
“What would love do? That’s my whole message,” said Onstad. “Kind of like what would Jesus do? God says that he is love not that he has love, but he is love – so what would love do?”
Diesel Jesus & Brethren will be playing at Rapids Music Fest, June 17, in the 1:00 p.m. slot.