“The Sharpies” is a great rock ‘n’ roll band name. It evokes everyone’s favorite brand of felt tip marker—a tool used for mundane activities like package-labeling and casual acts of graffiti. It’s a common household object that, after all, has a weird name and the potential to be used for subversive expression. The name reminds one of sharp-thinking, but it also sounds a bit dumb. It has something of a cutting edge. It’s a band name that’s so obviously good, it’s surprising it hasn’t been used before.
“People often think it’s a clever name—but it’s really not,” says singer-guitarist Seth, whose last name is the same as his brothers and band-mates Eddie and Whitey: Sharp. “It was really an obvious choice.”
In addition to being blessed with a fortuitously rocking surname, this band of brothers hails from a town likewise blessed: Cut and Shoot, Texas. But the band is now based in Truckee and has been enjoying rocking all over northern California, including the Bay Area. Now, they’re planning on bringing the rocking good times to Reno.
The band has a classic garage rock sound: minimal, dirty, attitudinal fun with just a touch of punk and blues influences. The songs sound like classic rock fist-pumpers dressed up in dirty punk clothing. The songs rock, but are much more danceable and infectious than ferocious or noisy. The tunes exude a bit of cooler-than-thou rock ‘n’ roll arrogance, but the band is humble, good-humored and casual about their energetic music.
“We’re a rock ‘n’ roll band,” says Seth. “Our only rules for songs are that they can’t be too serious and they all have to be fun and high energy.” The band is essentially out to have a good time and to create a good time for their audiences, who should no doubt appreciate their brotherly charms.
“It’s like the Partridge family or something—but what are you going to do?” says drummer Eddie.
The song “Bomb Drop” seems to have both lyrical and musical allusions to AC/DC. It’s built around a “Thunderstruck"-like riff and Seth, singing in a garage band yelp, mentions “TNT” and “dynamite.”
The pyromaniac seduction song “On Fire” highlights the band’s rhythm section. Whitey’s bass lines are propulsive and overdriven, and Eddie swings and blasts and isn’t afraid to use a cowbell.
“Ladies love a cowbell,” he says, laughing.
Seth’s guitar solos, which start out dramatically and veer toward the edge of falling apart before returning to big sloppy rock riffs, are another of the band’s strengths. He points to classic early Kinks singles like “You Really Got Me” as a big influence on the band as a whole and his guitar-playing in particular.
The band has an EP, CSCR, and has plans to record a full-length soon. They have a nice Web site, with pictures and audio files, at www.thesharpies.com. But this is a band that’s primarily about playing live and making sure drunken people go home with big grins and ringing ears. So their upcoming Reno shows will be the place to catch them—because the band is looking forward, as Eddie puts it, "to rocking out in Reno."