The BoDeans are a rock and roll and roots rock band formed in Waukesha, Wisconsin in 1983 by Kurt Neumann (vocals & electric guitar) and Sam Llanas (vocals & acoustic guitar). In 1985, after adding a drummer and a bassist, the band signed a contract with Slash/Warner Records and recorded their first album. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the band had several singles in the Top 40 "mainstream rock" charts. In the mid-1990s, the band had two Top 10 songs in the "Adult contemporary" charts.
In January 1987, a Rolling Stone magazine reader poll voted them Best New American Band. They have rotated through various musicians, including keyboardists Michael Ramos and Susan Julian, and drummers Rick Jeager, Kenny Aronoff, Rafael Gayol, Nick Kitsos, and most recently Kevin Leahy.
Their 1993 song "Closer to Free" was selected as the theme song to the TV series Party of Five.
The band took some time off in the late 1990s so Sam and Kurt could each record solo albums. Sam created Absinthe "A Good Day To Die" with the help of Milwaukee musicians Jim Eannelli (guitars and bass) and Guy Hoffman (formerly of Oil Tasters and Violent Femmes, currently of Radio Romeo). Kurt released his solo album called Shy Dog on which he plays all the instruments.
In 2001, the 17-song compilation The Best Of BoDeans - Slash and Burn was released on London/Slash/Rhino. In 2004, they returned with new songs on Resolution released on Rounder/Zoe. Their most recent CD, in 2005, is Homebrewed: Live from the Pabst. At the end of 2005, a DVD for Homebrewed: Live from the Pabst was released.
Around January 2006, Bob Griffin left the band for unknown reasons.