Thermonuclear Rodeo: How parenting brought this local band together
The phrase, “I’m with the band” takes on a new meaning for several families in the Clemson area as parents are the ones practicing in the basement and their kids are the ones in the audience.
Thermonuclear Rodeo was started by Jennifer Goree and Tony Tidwell in 2015 after years of friendship and musical collaboration. Now the band boasts seven members — six of which are parents. And most of them met through their children.
“We met through the kids first,” said Goree, a Six Mile native who works at Clemson University. “We have several children about the same age and it just came about from there.”
Thermonuclear Rodeo is made up of Goree, Tidwell, Kristin Miesbauer, Will Chandler, Larry Williams, Dominic Mastroianni and Evan Dehner.
Between them, they have 12 children ranging in age from 6 to early teens. Goree says they’re like step ladders going up, and many of them are friends.
Several band members started as solo musicians and worked together on occasion before the band was formed. Now they play throughout the Upstate for a variety of venues, specializing in a sound that “fuses the soul of Southern lineage with the soil of Celtic mystery to create a sonic atmosphere they first noticed whistling in the wind as it passed through a place called Six Mile,” according to the band’s Facebook page. They play family-friendly picnics and festivals as well as at private events and in bars. They have played at Fall for Greenville, in the South Carolina Botanical Gardens, and many other events across the area.
Music might be their passion, but being parents always comes first for the band members. According to Goree, it can get difficult to schedule rehearsals when there are 12 children with soccer practices, birthday parties or illnesses to contend with.
“We’ve committed to the fact that the kids are the priority. We’re not doing this to become famous, we’re doing it because we love it,” she said.
Thankfully, she added, the kids are not embarrassed by their parents being on stage. They enjoy seeing their moms or dads rock out and going to the family-friendly gigs Thermonuclear Rodeo plays. And the parents are glad their children can see the hard work and dedication they put into the group.
Drummer Larry Williams’ 10-year-old daughter Ashby said she really enjoys going to see her dad perform, and she likes the music they play.
“I like traveling with family and friends,” she said.
The members of Thermonuclear Rodeo aren’t musicians by trade, however. Their day jobs range from being a high school English teacher to arborist at Clemson University, with a homeschooling mom and a carpenter thrown in for good measure.
As for whether or not their children will follow in their footsteps, many are already budding musicians. Several take piano or violin lessons or sing in a choir, and one plays saxophone in the school band. Audiences will have to wait another 20 years to see if Thermonuclear Rodeo The Next Generation happens or not.
It’s the love of the music that keeps the group going with their music, and they hope to be playing for Upstate audiences for years to come, Goree said.
For more information, check out their Facebook page www.facebook.com/thermonuclearrodeo.