A Canadian garage rock duo that also mixes doo-woop and punk will take their fall tour to Bloomington. The King Khan and BBQ Show will perform at 9:30 tonight at the Bishop with the Gartrells, a rock group from Atlanta.
While the King Khan and BBQ Show have been playing as a group since 2002, The Gartrells are a newly formed band. So new, in fact, that singer Jared Swilley said he doesn’t remember when the group formed, just that he knew he wanted to form a band with guitarist Rod Hamdallah.
“I saw Rod one day in Atlanta and he had a pompadour and so I asked him if he wanted to start a rockabilly band,” Swilley said. “Me and my brother and John Kang kind of formed into playing with Rod because of his haircut.”
Swilley said the group formed from band members’ other projects, such as the Black Lips and the Legendary Shack Shakers, and their tour with the King Khan and BBQ Show is their first.
The Gartrells’ self-titled EP was released online on its Bandcamp in September, but Swilley said the hard copies of the EP were officially released Nov. 29. Hamdallah said MP3 files of the songs are available via Bandcamp, and the actual 7-inch records will be finished and ready for sale at the show tonight.
Hamdallah said the band will perform a set of original songs at the Bishop, with the exception of one cover. While the new EP only has four tracks, Swilley said the band has a good deal of other material.
“We wrote a bunch of other songs,” Swilley said. “We’re kind of coming into fruition as a band on this tour, so it’s really a very new thing.”
Although Swilley said he and the other band members are busy, the Gartrells will be coming out with a full album sometime in 2017.
“We’re going to record an LP soon,” Swilley said. “The Shack Shakers and the Black Lips both have new records coming out, so it’ll be a little difficult for us to have the time to do it, but it will be coming.”
Swilley said the group’s name comes from Delia Gartrell, the widow of his mentor, James Timothy Shaw, known as the Mighty Hannibal. Shaw was a rhythm-and-blues, soul and funk singer and songwriter.
While the Mighty Hannibal and other artists provide inspiration for the Gartrells, Swilley said when it comes to his own songwriting, there is no real rhyme, reason or method to it.
“We just kind of come out and play what everyone’s ideas are,” Hamdallah said. “We just kind of mold everything together.”
Swilley said the group is excited to be on tour and is looking forward to spreading the word about the new band. He said it will be his first time in Bloomington and he doesn’t know what to expect personally, but the audience can count on a really great time.
“We’ll play whatever kicks ass the most,” Swilley said.
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