Oct. 14 2014 05:48 PM

Plus, Gabriela Sanchez leaves Okapi Sun

Rob Bondurant
The Joelsons

Singer / songwriter Rob Bondurant, a touring member of The Silent Comedy, is getting ready to release his first full-length album, Hurricane, which is being self-released on Nov. 11 under the name Bondurant

He recorded the album in Nashville with his band at Blackbird Studios, which is owned by country-music star Martina McBride. Bondurant didn't fund the album through a Kickstarter campaign or label backing; it was something much rarer in the industry: a private investor.

Earlier this year, Bondurant played a private event for Dylan Bates, chief operating officer for Chicago-based ATI Physical Therapy. Bates was so impressed with Bondurant's music that he offered to help fund the recording and other expenses. 

"His friends call him Bruce Wayne," Bondurant says of his unexpected new business partner during a conversation at Modern Times Brewing in North Park. "Sometimes I won't hear from him for a month." 

The deal that Bondurant has with Bates is not unlike a traditional label advance in that it's made with the intention of recouping the initial investment and, ultimately, yielding a greater return. Bondurant won't disclose the amount of money involved but says it's forced him to think more critically about the path ahead.

"I'm now very conscious of the decisions I make and how I spend money," he says. "The last thing I want is for this to fail. The focus is now to become self-sustaining."

With the release of Hurricane on the horizon, Bondurant is planning an eventual record-release show, though he doesn't yet have a date for that. 

After spending several years playing covers in coffeehouses and bars, he says he's ready to take his career and his sound to a new level. 

"I've got a really good band behind me," he says. "I don't want to just be acoustic-guitar guy. I want to play great rock 'n' roll."

Okapi Sun announced via Facebook that Gabriela Sanchez, aka Dallas, is leaving the group to join an organic farm in Napa Valley. Maren Parusel, aka Leo, will continue performing as Okapi Sun, though she's not yet announced whether anyone new has joined the group as a permanent member in Sanchez's absence.

Email jefft@sdcitybeat.com or follow him at @1000TimesJeff


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