KNOXVILLE — Newly formed punk trio Casey's Trunk is most recognizable for its subject matter, which tackles current events with the subtlety of a South Park episode and offends the pious similarly.
Taking its name from the Casey Anthony trial, the band also boast songs on the topic ("Casey's Trunk" and "Anybody but Casey") and its logo features a baby-sized skull. In a music scene where punk bands are famously short-lived, Casey's Trunk hopes to carry on long after the novelty has worn off.
While the band admits to following the Casey Anthony trial with the giddiness of teenage girls watching American Idol during the summer it began writing, the members of Casey's Trunk explain that much of the Anthony-related subject matter is actually based on their own crazy exes. As the band is a reiteration of unrealized metal and punk lineups from the members' past, some of the material predates the events they seem to cover.
"The three of us were captivated with the whole Casey Anthony trial," recalls bassist Branden "Laz" Lasley. "We called each other like 14-year-old girls with cell phones — 'Oh my god, did you see that?' That's where Casey's Trunk came in. It was during the final verdict and those words came up on the screen, and we looked at each other and that was it. We brought the name up and thought it was a good way to get recognized. You Google 'Casey's trunk' and our page pops up."
"We have a few songs that you might think are about her," adds drummer Zack "Count Zackula" Foss, "but a lot of the ones you'd think were about her are actually about his (vocalist Wes Henry's) ex-girlfriends. 'Casey's Trunk' was for her, yes. I admit that one was for her, but the rest were previously written or unrelated."
While still in its infancy, Casey's Trunk is eager to put out its first release "No Way Jose" by mid-December. The release will be only a slight upgrade in recording quality from the lo-fi demos recorded in a single take on a quilt-muffled four-track recorder in the band's basement practice space. The eight-song debut is being recorded by Oversat's Jared Cooper and will stick with the trio's signature gritty approach.
The eight quick-and-dirty tracks of pedal-free guitar riffs and raspy screams will only total 20 to 25 minutes in length, the band estimates, but in a scene where the life expectancy of punk bands is the blink of an eye, Casey's Trunk looks to establish its presence early on. The band's current ranking (55) on Reverb Nation's Knoxville rock chart shows they are making significant headway.
For its third live outing to date, the band will join one of only a handful of active punk bands to withstand the test of time in The Dirty Works, an event the group is thrilled to be a part of.
"You start listening to a band and you love it, but they may never have a drive to make a CD," says Lasley of Knoxville's fleeting punk bands. "You can go see them at The Longbranch, but they never put out anything. Short-lived projects — you can't solidly follow a band in Knoxville unless it's an emo band or something that stays together for four or five years. I think a lot of it has to do with drugs, alcohol. One person usually has a pretty good drug problem. As for us, none of us have a problem.
"I feel honored to play with (The Dirty Works) because they've been together since 2004, which is longer than most punk bands last in Knoxville I'm stoked to play and share the stage with them after seeing them live so many times. It's one thing to watch a band, but it's another to step on stage with them. I'm really excited to do it."