With his third T-shirt of the night dripping with sweat, Zach Brown, lead singer of Lima Bean Riot (LBR), steps up to the microphone and says to the captivated audience, “Who’s ready to party?!” As his question is answered with ear-splitting screams, Brown’s chiseled features and his bright, blue eyes light up as he begins to sing. While singing, Brown acts out the words with motions, moves from one side of the stage to the other, jamming with his band-mates, all while gyrating his hips and driving the audience wild. Brown began his music career in eighth grade. He and his dad went to a music store to sign Brown up for guitar lessons, a new hobby in which he had developed interest in. While taking guitar lessons, Brown made some connections with other musicians and joined a band. Per the suggestion of his connections, Brown decided to give lead vocals and singing a try. After doing so, he realized that while he enjoyed the guitar, singing was his true passion and calling. From eighth grade to the present Brown has been the lead singer of several bands. His band while in high school, Civil War, developed a strong fan base by playing at local high schools. (Some would be interested to know that two tapes recorded by Civil War are still available for purchase at the Mad Platter in West Chester.) After the break-up of Civil War, Brown searched for another band. About three years ago, he found an already well-established band in need of a quality lead singer. The band was Lima Bean Riot and Brown had just the type of charisma the band had lacked in its previous two singers. It was with this band, now made up of a group of guys Brown calls “talented and just great” that he found his niche. Over the last three years, Lima Bean Riot has gained a lot of popularity and a strong fan following. As the lead singer of a popular band, Brown has learned a lot. He has learned about people and his strong leadership skills. “Being a lead singer has really boosted my confidence. I’m a lot more comfortable with any situation,” he said. Also, from being in a band Brown has learned what people are capable of. “Our fans are great, but sometimes they can get a little crazy.” With his classic good looks and charming personality, Brown is a favorite with the ladies. “This one night [about two years ago] we were performing at 15 North and I chipped my tooth on the microphone. A girl asked me if she could have my tooth. So, I gave it to her. About three months later she came to another show and she brought my tooth with her. It was weird, but it is something that I will always remember!” he said. One of the things that Brown loves about performing is that on stage one can get a view of the whole bar. “Being above everyone in the bar and looking out at the whole bar gives you such a new perspective on life. It’s like you can start thinking ‘oh so that’s what it looks like when I get like that!'”Although Brown may joke about his fans’ wild behavior, he loves to see them pumped up and looks to them to get him excited. “There’s nothing like the feeling I get when I step up to the microphone and the crowd is so loud that I can’t even hear the music. It gets me really amped up. I feed off the energy,” he says. Brown grew up outside of West Chester and finds the most energy at local venues such as 15 North and Maddies. “When we play at the local places the energy is unbelievable. I get really amped.”
Brown also loves to play down the shore in the summer. “Everyone down there has the mentality that they are going to have the best time in the world. It is hard not to feed off that,” he said. Brown loves performing and loves his band. “This is the only thing that I’ve ever put so much energy into,” he says. “This is every aspect of my life. I wake up in the morning thinking about it, spend the day getting ready for the shows, and spend the nights performing or thinking about performing “I love it.” On his nights off, Brown says that his body is still used to performing. “Around like 10 o’clock I get all psyched and start pacing around the room. I get real excited. It’s like my body is saying ‘Ok it’s 10 o’clock, let’s go! I’m conditioned,” he said. “My roommate and friends think it’s so weird.” But along with all the fun and excitement of being in a band, Brown mentions that there are some drawbacks. “Yeah, there’s some negative stuff. Like, I miss out on some things I want to do. We perform every Friday and Saturday night, every New Year’s Eve and Christmas Day. We may be out drinking and having fun, but I never really get to hang out with friends [besides the band],” he said. “I guess it has taught me who the true people are in my life. My real friends and my family put up with it. The ones that are just along for the ride, they get pissed off that I’m not really around and can’t deal with it. It’s like I gave is my life.”
Despite these negatives, Brown wants to “sing until the day I die,” he said. Brown has both immediate and long-term goals set for the band. The first is to release Lima Bean Riot’s debut CD. “The release of this CD has been filled with excitement, anticipation, and turmoil (the band decided to replace long-time bass player, Mike, due to personal reasons) but I think all the suffering and hard work will result in a huge pay-off,” he said. As future goals, Brown shares the same sense as all musicians, “I want us to become rich and famous,” he jokes. “No, honestly, I want people to start hearing our original songs and be respected as more than just a cover band.” Brown and the other band members have written numerous original songs and perform them. “There is something about singing your own songs that is awe- Warming fans’ hearts some and gives you such a rush,” he says. “It’s like, not only do you write to express what you are thinking but then you can go out and put it into a performance. It’s something that you can be really proud of.”
Right now, these originals are played on Y-100. “It feels good to hear your song on the radio; it is a way to see what you’ve accomplished,” Brown said.
The lights flash as Brown once again approaches the microphone. “Is everyone having a good time out there tonight?” he asks. “Anyone wanna hear one more song?” Again his question is answered by splitting screams and Brown’s Adonis-like body contorts as he dances to the music that fills the room. He sings his heart out, sweat drops from his head and as the song ends, he drops the microphone and walks off the stage.
Check out Lima Bean Riot online at www.limabeanriot. com; there is also a mailing list that you can join to get information about upcoming shows.