Rock of ages
Candy Apple emerges from the garage drenched in reverb … and tambourine
Playing to an eager Off Limits crowd, local garage-rock outfit Candy Apple absolutely nailed its debut performance back in late September. Seemingly void of any of the nervousness or hiccups that often come with the territory, the band tore through nine originals full of fuzzy electric guitar squeals, blasts of vintage organ and the unshakeable pulse of a tambourine, leaving a unanimously positive sense of approval from onlookers.
“No one is really playing this style of music around [here], so I think it felt pretty fresh for the audience,” said Jake Sprecher, the band’s southpaw guitarist and vocalist.
Storming out of the gate with healthy amounts of energy and conviction, Candy Apple seems poised to make an immediate mark on the local music scene. Channeling the raw spirit and unabashed fun of ‘60s garage rock, the band shreds through the past, calling to mind classics of the genre, such as the Sonics and early Stooges.
“It’s the kind of music you can cut loose to,” Sprecher said.
Even more impressive than the straight-off-the-Nuggets-style tunes that night, however, was the immediate sense of chemistry and enjoyment the members of Candy Apple seemed to enjoy with one another. Along with Sprecher, the band includes Scott Barwick on vocals and Farfisa organ, Katie Kelley on bass, Wes Jensen on drums and Sunny Summer providing percussion along with some sultry moves on tambourine. And speaking of tambourine, Sprecher is quick to elaborate on just how vital an element the instrument is to Candy Apple’s sound.
“It’s not having a tambourine player for the sake of having a tambourine player,” he said. “If you listen to any garage band worth a shit, they probably have a tambourine player, just because it fits the music so well. [Summer] brings a vibe that would be sorely missed without her in the group.”
The initial ideas for the band started more than a year ago, while Sprecher was playing drums for Machinegreen, one of Barwick’s other bands. Originally, however, the tunes were to be written in a much more modern vein, drawing influence from noisy but danceable bands such as Canada’s Death From Above 1979, which Sprecher and Barwick both admired.
“At some point, we just thought it’d be a lot more fun to make it a throwback project and do straight garage rock,” Sprecher said.
With little trouble deciding who else was right for the various parts, the rest of the members were summoned and the group as a whole has been together for about three months.
Listening to Candy Apple’s songs, such as the instantly catchy sonic thrash of “Bitter Sweet” (available on the band’s MySpace page), you’d think these guys live and breathe rock born of the ‘60s. And although each member is into the genre in at least some shape or form, the authenticity they bring to the music is only strengthened by the realization that these are all seasoned musicians simply trying their hands at something new.
“I don’t have a favorite garage band,” Sprecher said. “My heart and soul is in rhythm and blues, but that transfers right over to garage. So that’s what it’s based off of … a really discombobulated and wild form of rhythm and blues.”
The band has plenty of goals in mind for the future, already working with a touring and promotion company based out of Oakland called Wicked Annabella Productions. Plans for a Southwest tour around the New Year are in motion and a long-term goal of heading out for a national run next summer is already being discussed.
With several other projects going on concurrently with some of the band’s five members, including Dirty Sister, Machinegreen and the Yule Logs to name a few, some might wonder if this is just a brief bit of fun between musical ventures. Fortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth, Sprecher says.
“All of us who are in other bands have made a commitment to this as a top priority.”