Rock Trio Goodbye June Talk Family, Growing Up in the Church - Rolling Stone
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Rock Trio Goodbye June Talk Family, Growing Up in the Church

Southern cousins explain how music is a way of life – and what keeps them going

Rock trio Goodbye June are gritty, hardcore – and total family men. The cousins grew up in West Tennessee and Southern Indiana before moving to Nashville to pursue their dream.

“Being family and being around each other our whole lives, we eventually came together and were just like, ‘we want to do this, we want to try to do this for the rest of our lives,'” says lead vocalist Landon Milbourn.

After lead guitarist Tyler Baker’s brother died, they were inspired to get serious about music.

“We’ve been through a lot together,” Milbourn adds. “We made it through. The music is just what’s kept us going. It’s the most continuous thing in my life.”

The cousins grew up in the church: Milbourn’s father is a music minister, and Brandon Qualkenbush’s (rhythm guitar and backing vocals) father is a preacher.

“[Church] is where we got our feet wet as far as moving people with music,” says Qualkenbush.

Inspired by classic rock and gospel, the cousins consider their sound rock-alt.

“We like to write honest music,” Milbourn says. “Real life stuff.”

But the church finds its way into their music as well: their lyrics examine the afterlife, relationships and the meaning of life. All three men are involved in the songwriting and production process – work that’s as arduous as it is rewarding.

“Being in the studio is a blast, but it’s very taxing,” Milbourn says. “So the live show is the grand payoff, you get to connect with fans and you see people singing your songs and they message you on social media to say how [your music] affected their lives in a positive way and how it helped them get through tough times.”

“That’s what makes it all worth it for me,” he continues. “I like to carry it on, I keep on writing and keep pushing forward.”

While on a trip to LA, the band heard that Budweiser was looking for an American rock band to spearhead their campaign. They decided to “shoot for the stars and see what happens” – and ended up banging out a song called “Liberty Mother” in about four hours. Budweiser loved it and used it for the campaign.

All of this hard work has paid off: their fan base continues to grow every day.

“One of my favorite moments in my career was this time in Tuscon, [fans] were crowd surfing to “Darlin’,”” says Milbourn. “People just started losing their minds and crowd surfing. It’s a very somber, sad song but it was really connecting with people and they were having a blast.

“That is my favorite part of what we do,” he continues. “Seeing the emotional connection you can have with people you don’t know and have never met. Some of it kind of transcends a lot of differences.”

And transcending those differences is at the core of the band.

“In the seemingly divided world we live in,” says Qualkenbush. “I would [tell fans] to put down your swords and love each other.”

Check out the new video for
“Good Side,” released on the same day that Baker’s daughter was born.


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