2012 has been a pivotal year for Knoxville punk outfit Casey's Trunk. Having moved from a trio to a quartet, adding a guitarist and replacing a drummer, the band seems to have developed its sound and diversified its portfolio of tracks. This year will also mark the release of three new albums by the prolific group, which has acquired the means to self-record.
Upon losing its original drummer, Branden Lasley (bass) and Wes Henry (guitar/vocals) immediately knew who to call and within minutes were recruiting former band mate Mike Minehan. Having played together in Casey's Trunk predecessor Third and Delaware, Minehan was already familiar with much of the catalog as material from the first act was inherited by the new rendition.
"Our old drummer said he was moving one day and left two weeks later," recalls Lasley. "I literally walked upstairs after practice that night and called Mike. If he hadn't wanted to do it, then we wouldn't know where to begin looking for another drummer. Mike knew some of the songs and he knows us, so he came in a week after the last guy left, and that was about four months ago. Since then, it's gotten awesome."
More recently Casey's Trunk has added a second guitarist in Tim Ramsland following the demise of his previous act Bad Blood. Ramsland, who plays exclusively in drop-D tuning is currently familiarizing himself with the band's extensive repertoire, but is expected to be ready in time for the act's upcoming CD release show this month.
"With Tim coming in, I think over time his playing will tailor the music into something extra," Minehan says. "Right now he's just playing catch-up, trying to learn all the songs. A lot of the time spent right now is getting him up to speed, but we'd like to bring him out live as soon as possible. It adds a lot of depth, really. It just sounds so much more full. We're able to layer the leads with the rhythm tracks as opposed to Wes not being able to solo and play rhythm. Now we've got the dynamic where he can come in with a solo."
"Wes has always been a rhythm guitar player," adds Lasley. "With Bob Weir being his hero, he wants to do more noodly stuff. With Tim stepping in, our songs have stretched from a minute and a half to four or five minutes. With Tim and Mike being drummers, the two of them know exactly where each other is going. Each practice is continually getting better."
This month Casey's Trunk will unveil its debut release "Tea for Two." The album was scheduled to be its sophomore outing, but after losing the tracks for its intended debut "No Way Jose" to a computer crash, the band cracked on. However, having acquired the equipment and know-how to record itself at home, Lasley tells that "No Way Jose" will soon be re-recorded with the new lineup, and a third album "Attack of the Tunes" will come soon after.
"We didn't scrap it necessarily," says Lasley of the lost work. "Jared Cooper was recording it through a USB port using Garage Band on his Mac. His computer crashed when he was mixing it, so we only were able to get three songs out of it. 'No Way Jose' is going to be re-recorded with the new lineup. I'm recording it right now… We've got the equipment now to step in there any day and put something down. We already play the material from all three albums at our shows."
The one-time Longbranch exclusive Casey's Trunk has begun to explore other Knoxville venues. The band credits its dynamic material for the expansion. Claiming each of its three albums' worth of songs is catered toward punk, metal/hard rock and bluesier, grungier sounds, the group plays a different set list (taken from a different album) depending on the venue and theme of the show.
"We want to be versatile to play more venues in Knoxville," elaborates Minehan. "We don't want to tie ourselves to just punk or just metal or hard rock. We tailor our live performance to the venue we're at."
Tonight (Friday) Casey's Trunk performs at The Longbranch Saloon on a bill that also includes Sprocket Gobbler and ENTS. Doors open at 8 p.m. with music to follow at 9. Admission is $5. Casey's Trunk will also play its album release show at The Birdhouse on August 25 with The Dirty Works and Disobedients. This will be Tim Ramsland's debut performance as guitarist for Casey's Trunk. .
Marshall, Marshall, Marshall! Guy Marshall and Eric Griffin join Levee Drivers for a gig at The Well tonight (Friday). Music kicks off at 10 p.m. and costs $5.
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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