The Band's Story
Based out of Berwyn, PA but forged through iterations of original bands in Berlin, BetterDucks are an Indie Alt Rock band fronted by German born vocalist, guitarist and primary songwriter Dirk Externest. Better Ducks sound is - to curl up with on rainy days or to dance to in a sun-soaked summer. They fuse a driving rhythm section with vocal harmonies, melodic guitar work, with the deep richness of Dirk's lead vocals… think Wilco meets Knopfler with an occasional live encounter with The Drive By Truckers.
BetterDucks are unique with the pure warmth and honesty in their song-writing coupled with distinctive 70's vintage imagery and lack of pretense. Their music touches upon a range of emotions spanning both their upbeat to mellow songs, guiding listeners through their unique take on life's memorable moments.
The skillfully balanced harmonies gently unfold the narratives, with the soulful richness of Dirk's lyrics and voice. Dave Faunce backing vocals and keyboards accompany along with balanced clean and edgy melodic embellishments of Nick Voutsakis' guitar solos and passages backed by the driving rhythm section of Mark Betterly's Bass Lines and John Morgan's Drum work. The combination leaves the listener with a memorable live and studio experience.
BetterDucks are headlining locally and opening for national touring bands at some the area's most intimate music venues. Check out a show and their first release "And Then Some" or sign up for their mailing list.
The Band Members
Dirk Externest ...Developed the ability to operate vocal chords in compliance with musical occurrences while operating mentioned chords in compliance with mentioned occurrences as a young teenager. Has exercised this ability in various bands ever since - of which none has made into in any hall, chamber or mudroom of fame. Speaks German fluently, sings English the same way. Treats 6-stringed instruments kindly, never calls them "axe". The fast track to his heart is to
prepare "Kohl & Pinkel," a traditional meal in northern Germany. Good luck with that.
Mark Betterly ... learned early on, that to get what you want, you need to sell your soul. It's a life lesson that has been passed on from generation to generation and has brought him full circle. Not influenced by any particular bass player, Betterly has always shied away from cover bands
and focused mainly on obscure, no name song writers which is why he ended up with the BetterDucks.
Definitely flying to his own beat, Mark Betterly, lays the down the bottom end for the Ducks, just like anyone else could. Mark grew up in the 60's and 70's listening to the funky sounds of the Ohio Players, Mandrill, Earth Wind and Fire and The Isley Brothers. Mark started playing guitar in the 10th grade until one day someone asked him to play bass in a small 3 piece easy listening group. He was hooked. Through college, Mark played in a successful jazz group performing all the old time jazz standards mixed with quite a few originals. It was here that Mark learned to develop his own bass lines which pulled from his jazz knowledge and the need to groove. Influenced only by a groovy bass line, Mark never cared if the genre was rock, funk, jazz or country, "if it felt like it grooved, I liked it."
John Morgan ...
At an early age, John went to a Philadelphia Mummers parade and was amazed by the drummers. After playing on pots and pans for a while, his parents bought him a snare drum from Sears. While still in grade school, he progressed to taking lessons from Harry Yutzler, the local high school band director. After a bit of progress, Harry recommended that John take lessons with Bob Spangler who played drums with the Glenn Miller Orchestra and Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey. Mr. Spangler gave John a solid foundation in the rudiments, swing, jazz and sight reading.
John played in garage bands and then at 16 years of age, was invited to play with an up and coming Philly based band, Cafe Ole’. After several years in Café Ole’, John left the band to further his percussion studies at Berklee College of Music. While in Boston, John gigged around town with various jazz bands and eventually returned to the Philadelphia area where he taught drums and continued to play with a variety of bands. Currently, John loves playing with BetterDucks. He enjoys laying rhythms down for the blended musical styles, digs the chemistry between the band members and looks forward to a bright future.
David Faunce ... has no comment
Nick Voutsakis ... has been playing in Philly based bands since his early teens and has been influenced by a variety of rock guitarists as well as classic and contemporary Alt/Indie bands. Nick released his debut instrumental album L2.X in 2016. He contributes melodic and energetic guitar solos, layers and passages to Better Duck's compositions in the studio and especially enjoys bringing an improvisational spirit to live performances.