Knocking the socks off Southern Minnesota, the rock band Fender Bender won Best Band.
Two years in the making, Fender Bender is made up of people from cities all across Southern Minnesota including Brainard, Hugo, Faribault, Eagen, Richdfield and downtown Minneapolis — and it’s a family band.
“We all are related in some way,” said Dave Thiele, guitar player, bass vocalist, and band business manager. “The lead singer is my son [Matt ‘Matty Ice’ Thiele], the rhythm guitar player is my cousin [Randy ‘Moondog’ Thiele], his son is our drummer [Luke ‘Skyfox’ Thiele], my wife’s brother [Rob ‘The Doctor’ Young] is the lead guitar player and Jess [‘Flo’ Doffing] is actually my cousin’s wife’s daughter so she’s my step-niece. So all six of us are related.”
Gathered with family at his brother-in-law’s son’s wedding, Dave Thiele and the other band members decided to put their family musical talent to the stage.
Along with music, Fender Bender also has three lead singers to create harmonies, costume changes, light shows, eight foot tall stop lights and other car-themed props to give the best show possible.
“Every show we want to be better, we want to be more fun, we want to have more songs, we want to have more variety,” Dave Thiele said.
From country, rock, classic rock, some of today’s country and what Dave Thiele calls cross-generational music that continues to be a hit throughout the ages, Fender Bender plays what gets people dancing.
“We want people to dance, we want people to interact,” Dave Thiele said. “We’ll give them a cowbell and a drumstick and we have tumberiones. We give some stuff to the audience and try to get them engaged in what we’re doing and having fun, but really dancing — dancing for our songs — when people dance, that’s what we’re going for. Smiling people dancing — it’s hard to beat that.”
Honorable Mention: The 8th Street Band of Northfield
By Renata Erickson