Sebastian Keefe’s favorite job, possibly ever, was working at Poole’s Fish Market in Menemsha. But being a rockstar isn’t a bad second.
Last Tuesday, West Tisbury natives Sebastian and his brother Joe Keefe made their first late night show appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! with their indie rock band Family of the Year. On Thursday, the band performs on Conan on TBS at 11 p.m.
“For me, working at Poole’s was the most rewarding and fulfilling job I’ll ever have,” Sebastian said in a phone interview from his home in Los Angeles. “[Music] is definitely a whole different ball game.”
Their performance on Jimmy Kimmel was fueled with nerves but “was super exhilarating,” Mr. Keefe said, and he has high hopes for Thursday night.
“We’re definitely stoked about it,” he said. “It’s very fun.”
Family of the Year released its latest album, Loma Vista, last July and since then has been gaining success for hits like Hero and St. Croix. The brothers' success began on the Vineyard with the popular rock band Unbusted, playing venues such as the Hot Tin Roof and gaining notoriety for songs on the Farrelly brothers film Stuck on You soundtrack. They moved to Boston, eventually rebranded themselves as The Billionaires, changed a few members along the way, and after five years headed west to begin Family of the Year in 2009. In addition to Joe on vocals and guitar and Seb on drums, Family of the Year includes keyboardist Christina Schroeter and guitarist James Buckey.
“It’s been a long, steady, slow build,” Mr. Keefe said. “It’s where we always wanted to be and expected to be. To have the validation from other people — you always want music to reach people. It’s upsetting when it doesn’t but it’s unbelievable when it does.”
Mr. Keefe said being around fellow Vineyarders encouraged him and his brother to follow their passion.
“I see a lot of my peers from the Vineyard doing exceptional things and I think a big part of it is that influx of brilliant people that come to the Vineyard and share their life experience and creative energy,” he said. “It builds a mindset that there are bigger things outside of your town. It’s inspiring.”
Mr. Keefe credited his parents’ generation for helping to establish the brothers’ groundwork.
“We’d be the kids at the party on a late Sunday afternoon and they would always have guitars around,” he recalled. “Seeing that and being around people sharing music was the biggest inspiration,” he said.
And the support continues to be unwavering, Mr. Keefe said. The Keefe brothers’ mom, Julie Keefe, is the zoning board of appeals administrator for the town of West Tisbury.
“She is really happy for us and really proud,” he said. “Both of our parents have been huge supporters of this and we’re really fortunate.”
“We miss our mom terribly but it’s the cost of doing business,” he added.
But he and his brother keep tabs on the Island’s music scene while away from home and continue to be impressed.
“It’s been awesome to watch from afar the music scene develop,” he said. “There’s always been a really strong community of musicians.”
Family of the Year will begin touring the country at the end of the month and move on to several festivals in Europe this summer. If Mr. Keefe has his way, a Vineyard stop would be ideal if scheduling allows for it. In the meantime, Mr. Keefe said he is looking forward to connecting with the band’s fans, both at home and abroad.
“The highlight of all of this is having people react to our music,” he said. “There are singular moments that stick out, but the most inspiring and touching things are connecting with people and having that relationship. It means a lot to them. It’s flattering and crazy.”
Family of the Year performs on Conan on TBS at 11 p.m. on Thursday night. For a complete tour schedule visit familyoftheyear.net.