Sons of Hippies signs with Cleopatra Records
The Sarasota-based trippy trio has finished its first national release for Los Angeles-based Cleopatra Records. Cleopatra has a diverse roster of artists, home to rock, goth, hard rock and heavy metal bands. Among its recent signings is former Queensrÿche singer Geoff Tate.
The Hippies’ still-untitled album, expected to be released in April, contains 12 songs.
“Eight of the songs were previously released on our other albums,” says singer-guitarist Katherine Kelly, “but we wanted to rerecord them, to give them more consistency. The other four are new songs.”
Kelly, Jonas Canales and David Daly again teamed with Pro-Pain guitarist Tom Klimchuck, who produced the band’s 2009 debut album, “Warriors of the Light,” and the 2010 follow-up “A-morph.”
How did Cleopatra enter the picture?
“They sent a scout to one of our shows in Tampa,” Kelly says. “He really liked what he heard, but we didn’t hear back from him for a while. I had his business card so I called him up; I guess they wanted us to make the first move. Then the ball starting rolling after that. Within three weeks, we had a signed contract.
“They liked that we had a lot of songs and that we’re completely tour-ready. We have a tour bus and we’re ready and willing to go anywhere.”
As for the album, Kelly thinks Hippies fans will be pleased.
“It has our spacey sound, but in a way they’re pop songs, very accessible,” she says.
THE FUTURE FOR SEVEN YEARS PAST
Seven Years Past is throwing a CD release party at Jake’s Tavern on March 1, with guests Big Blu House and Rocky Mountain Fast Guy. Their new album, “Switches,” was produced by Goo Goo Dolls bassist Robby Takac at his studio in Buffalo, N.Y.
“Our bass player, Bret (Calltharp), looked around for places to record and I don’t know how he came across Robby, but he sent him an email,” says singer Lisa Larkin. “He asked him what it would cost to use the studio and ‘Oh, by the way, would you like to produce it?’ We had sent him a rough demo of the record and he liked it and said he’d love to do it.”
Through a Kickstarter campaign, the band raised $8,000 to pay for studio time, flights to and from Buffalo and hotel rooms.
“There are great studios around here, but we wanted to go some place different,” Larkin says. “The area around the studio was great, with some really cool old buildings. We even took a trek over to Canada and also visited Niagara Falls.”
For the most part, Takac didn’t tinker much with Seven Years Past’s high-energy rock sound.
“He didn’t change a whole lot because he liked the way it was done,” Larkin says. “We even have real strings on it. How cool is that?”
The band is releasing the album on its own, hoping to create a buzz locally and regionally. “We’re evolving as a band,” Larkin says. “It’s fun to watch it shape and grow.”
HAVE VAN, WILL TRAVEL
Bradenton’s Have Gun, Will Travel has a busy month ahead; the Americana giants have shows scheduled in Florida and Georgia, including a stop Feb. 7 at Ocean Blues in Sarasota. They’ll also play Atlanta, Augusta, Athens, Tampa, St. Petersburg and Orlando.
A LITTLE SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY
Guitarist Damon Fowler, who lives in Bradenton Beach, blues guitarist-singer and fellow Floridian JP Soars and Memphis-based keyboardist Victor Wainwright made their area debut as Southern Hospitality at the inaugural Bradenton Blues Festival on Dec. 1.
Now they’re releasing their first album, “Easy Livin’,” on March 12 via Blind Pig Records. It was produced by three-time Blues Music Award winner Tab Benoit. (The group’s rhythm section is rounded out by Soars’ drummer, Chris Peet, and Fowler’s bassist, Chuck Riley.)
The supergroup came about purely by accident, Fowler says.
“We were all playing separately at a festival in South Florida about a year and a half ago,” he says. “Afterward, a club hosted an after-party jam, where you could just hang out and jam after the festival. I’ve known JP a long time and we get along so well musically and personally. Victor was there, too, and we had a blast.
“Turns out there were these people there who wanted to hire us to play a pre-Blues Cruise party. Then we thought it’d be nice to fix up a little tour around it, to help with expenses. From there, it was a project that sprouted legs of its own. It just happened naturally.”
When record labels started showing up to their shows, they knew they should probably take their collaboration seriously, Fowler says, laughing.
They eventually signed with Fowler’s label, Blind Pig, and they’ve been rolling along ever since.
“Musically, this is very satisfying, and we’ve already booked summer dates in the Netherlands, Slovakia, Norway,” he says. “It’s crazy. It has a life of its own.”