Musical Career

March 23, 2023

Dead City Planners – Mid-80s

Formed in the mid-eighties, the original Dead City Planners formed with Robert Como, Wayne Burghardt, and John Budz at its core, supplemented by a rotating cast of bass players. Como and Burghardt wrote a majority of the 50 original songs written for the band, with Budz contributing a few songs of his own, mainly influencing and aiding in the composure and performance of Como and Burghardt’s music.

Texas Sessions 2000 – May 2000

In 1996, Burghardt and Budz (not to be confused with their joint musical act, “Burghardt & Budz”) formed a band called Texas Sessions during an extended camping trip in Austin, Texas. Joined by Steward Cundy, the band has written and performed their own original songs, specifically for the band. In May of 2000, the band got back together in Texas to make some new music, however, during the summer, Como was invited to play and actually wrote a song for the first time in ten years. He added drum tracks to the songs recorded in Texas, and additionally played the keyboard on the track, Forty. Burghardt edited and produced all the songs during these sessions using Cakewalk by Bandlab.

John, Stewart, and Wayne of Texas Sessions 2000

Texas Sessions 2001 – February 2001

The new Texas Sessions band, now fully integrating Como, began a project to record old Dead City Planners songs, owing their higher quality to better equipment and experience. On this album, unofficially dubbed (Raised From) The Dead City Planners, four of the eighteen songs are newer versions of some of Como’s older music, and eight of the eighteen are new songs composed by either Burghardt or Budz.

Polar Vortex – 2014

Although this band has existed since Como was in high school, it was only in 2014 that it was officially named. As the descriptions of songs on Como’s page state, such as this one, they were inspired by the discussion of the polar vortex which had descended onto Chicago at the time. If you want to hear his earliest band perform some of his oldest songs, they’re worth a listen.

Harvard Instruments of Peace – 2015

In 2015, Como wrote and composed songs for a church band entitled the Harvard Instruments of Peace, or simply as HIP. In the description of a video in which the band performs the four songs he created, he explains, “‘A Journey of Faith’ presents the pros and cons of religious thought. The first two songs, ‘A World Without God,’ are critical of religion and embrace hedonism. ‘I Want More’ reflects on a better life than merely pursuing pleasure. ‘Living Water’ and ‘Choose to Believe’ embrace Christianity and the religious life. I offer these songs as food for thought for anyone contemplating religion on their life journey.”

EX + 1 – 2017

Formed in 2017, Ex + 1 was Como’s most recent, dedicated band. It, of course, featured Burghardt, alongside Morton West’s Steve Sofferman and Jaime Woods. It was the most recent iteration of the project Burghardt and Como began in 2001 during the Texas Sessions. Although the band hasn’t fundamentally split or changed its vision, it has rebranded, solely because the name was difficult to remember.

Steve Sofferman of Ex + 1, 2019 (Ex + 1 Facebook)

Dead City Planners – 2021

In 2021, Como and Burghardt reclaimed the Dead City Planners moniker once more. After a short hiatus following their rebranding from Ex + 1 in 2019, the band remained dormant over 2020, until Burghardt got sick. This was the moment Como describes as pushing him to go, “let’s do this.” Sofferman remained in the band as a guitarist, but with the leave of Woods, the band introduced Tom Henniger and Morton’s Jim Wallace. Their first album was recorded and produced by the engineers at Berwyn Recording.

The End of the Empire (And Other Love Songs)

When asked about the band’s debut album, Como expresses great pride in the band’s work, “we couldn’t have made a better first album.” For him, the most important parts of making and performing music are the realization of his music, so he can finally finalize and realize ideas that he has had stewing in his mind for years, as well as an appreciation for composing and performing, especially as a collective with his fellow bandmates. “I am pleased that I have been able to get other people in the world to play my music,” he explains, “There’s not a lot of other people who do, but there are a few!”

Raised From the Dead City Planners

As stated earlier, during the run of the original Dead City Planners, Como and Burghardt themselves wrote almost 50 tracks, not to mention the songs they’ve written in the time since then, providing them with a large repertoire of material which to perform. Como speculates that the band has two to three albums of content ready in the backlog to polish. Utilizing the experience gained from creating The End of the Empire, Como expects to create a better album and is optimistic about the band’s future. Recording of the new album is set to begin recording in June and will feature Como on piano for two tracks.

Leave a Comment

The Sterling • Copyright 2024 • FLEX WordPress Theme by SNOLog in

Comments (0)

All The Sterling Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *