About Us

JOE PITTMAN

JOE PITTMAN was born & raised on Saint Paul’s East Side & now resides in Woodbury, MN. Joe started doing vocal solos at church at age 15 & has been playing guitar since 1995. He also plays a mean harmonica! Joe’s main musical influences include Bob Dylan, Larry Norman, Elvis, Johnny Cash, Led Zeppelin, ZZ Topp & Brittany Spears.

Instruments: Vocals, rhythm guitar, harmonica, and auxiliary percussion.

RICK THRAM

RICK THRAM was born in Minneapolis, MN in 1970 & grew up in Farmington, MN. He currently lives in Savage, MN.  In school, Rick was a proud member of the Tiger Marching and Concert Band, as well as the guitar-slinger for the jazz band. Rick played the piano & trumpet until age 16 where he found the magic power that was the guitar and never looked back. Rick’s musical influences are U2, The Beatles, The Cure, Dave Matthews Band, Pink Floyd. Rick plays lead guitar, rhythm guitar and vocals.

SHANNON BUGNON

SHANON BUGNON began playing music at age 7 & no one could get her away from the family piano. She also was a soloist in school choir & performed in several musicals. She took advanced placement music courses at in college while in high school, won state awards and scholarships for her vocal abilities. During her career, Shannon collaborated in the composition over 100 original songs. Her musical influences are Pink Floyd, Journey, Queen, Crash Test Dummies, Shinedown and Shpongle.  Instruments: synthesizer, piano, tubular bells, marimba, glockenspiel, auxiliary percussion.

MICHAEL CONTRERAS

MICHAEL “Slick String Stanley” CONTRERAS is a Mpls born & raised musician. He rocks Metz Amplification Amps from local wizard John Metz & Vig Pickups from other local wizard Ted Vig @ Vig Guitars. Slick started playing at age 12 when his uncle gave him a guitar and some knowledge of the blues. The rest is history. Music influences are Hendrix, Zeppelin, Tool, Black Sabbath, Curtis Mayfield, OG Slick, Duane Allman, Derek Trucks, & many others.
Mike is a proud soon-to-be father & works as a machinist during the day. He also enjoys giving guitar lessons in his free time. He says he can beat everyone in the band at arm wrestling.  We’ll let him believe that for the time being…

CALEB BRUNZ

CALEB BRUNZ was born in Mankato, MN & grew up in Sioux Falls, SD. He now lives in Woodbury, MN. Caleb started playing drums at a young age. He sharpened his skills playing drums for local worship bands. Caleb joined 8LivesDown in 2015. His favorite drummers are John Bonham & Carter Buford. His musical influences are Led Zeppelin, Fugazi, Metallica, Big Head Todd & the Monsters, Dave Matthews Band & the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Instruments: Drums, auxiliary percussion, piano, & (of course) cowbell.

SHANE McCOY

SHANE McCOY began playing electric and bass guitar in his early teens. He co-founded his first high school bands, Dorian Gray & Hung Jury. While serving in the military and attending college, his focus turned to writing original material. In 2006, Shane formed the band Broken & continued to write music as well as record & produce music for several amateur artists. In late 2016, Shane was asked to join a new band that formed in a now defunct record store in Saint Paul. That band, Burn Room, evolved into 8LivesDown. He grew up listening to classic rock including Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones & AC/DC. His favorite genres are early English blues from the 1960s including Fleetwood Mac as well as American blues, including Mike Bloomfield, Savoy Brown & Johnny Winter.

Our Story

8LivesDown came together in 2016 with one goal in mind.  To get together with other talented musicians and have a little fun.  It grew from that.

Joe Pittman started the band on July 16, 2016 with friend and band-mate, Phil Johnson and they set up their first get-together in Phil’s Studio-B (basement) to see if they could put a band together. Those present: Joe Pittman (vocals), Phil Johnson (lead guitar), Caleb Brunz (drums), Rick Ellis (vocals) and a guy named Roy (bass).  Immediately after the first session, Joe, Phil and Caleb decided they would move forward together and look for a bass player.  They met at Phil’s a few more times.  They then moved their practice sessions to the “Music Factory MN” in South Saint Paul in Sep/Oct of 2015.

It was at that time the band got leads on two bass players simultaneously, Shane McCoy and Rick Thram.  The night before Shane and Rick attended their first rehearsal Joe informed Rick that another guy (Shane) was coming to play bass, and Rick could play electric rhythm guitar instead.  The line-up was set!

November 3, 2016 was the first practice in the Natural Sound Studios in the Rossmor Building in downtown Saint Paul.  The band affectionately named the studio “The Burn Room” as they waited to move in. The reason for the name was because the new studio space was being repaired from a recent fire.

After a few months in the Burn Room studio, the band moved into a larger space at Natural Sound Studios.  It was during their time in this studio, Phil Johnson decided to move to Colorado for contract work, effectively removing himself from the band.

On May 14th, 2017, the band brought in potential keyboardist/vocalist, Shannon Bugnon, after Caleb ran a search on Facebook.  They met at Keys Cafe in Saint Paul and after auditioning, they decided to work together.

While still in this larger studio, the band brought in a lead guitar replacement for Phil named Nick Gustafson, which they called “The Kid”.  Nick played with the band for about 9 months.  After Nick left, rather than find a new lead guitarist, the band moved Rick into lead guitar position.  They decided to name the band in honor of their first practice space, and “The Burn Room” was born.

The band’s first official gig was on July 18, 2018, playing at the Paul Davis Block Party.  The band brought in rhythm guitarist, Mike Tuckner for that gig.  Mike was with the band for their first two gigs (July and September of 2018).  Mike then moved to Ohio to start a new career.

After the band’s first few gigs in the Fall of 2018, they focused on expanding their set list.  They also decided to rename the band “8LivesDown”.

The spring of 2019, the band hit the ground running and never looked back.

A year and a half of playing some 15-16 gigs, obtaining new road and lighting equipment, and getting ready to start a new music season,  COVID-19 hit in March of 2020.  The band played their last in-person gig on February 20,2020 at Big Guy’s BBQ in Hudson, WI.

Since the pandemic and resulting shut-down of the planet, the band concentrated on retooling their sound and their sets.  They played their first-ever virtual concert on March 28, 2020 via Facebook Live and got over 1,000 views.

The band moved to their third, and largest yet, studio at Natural Sound Studios.  Shane and Caleb oversaw and constructed a new sound stage for rehearsals.  The band graduated to in-ear monitors, and Shane put together an awesome road rack.

The latest exciting saga for 8LivesDown is bringing in a new lead guitarist, Michael Contreras.  Moving Rick back into rhythm guitar with some additional leads.  The band is bringing in new cover songs, and at the same time they are searching for their own sound and developing structure for writing their own original material.

” Hired this band to play at our event. They took it very seriously and arrived on time. They were well organized, the set list was perfect and the music sounded great. They were enjoyed by all..”

SHAWN RACINE • MUSIC ENTHUSIAST

Behind The Scenes