Jesse Coppenbarger and Sean Kirkpatrick are the last men standing. Yet the lone remaining members of Colour Revolt’s early days are enjoying the creative breathing room offered by the departure of their former bandmates.
Coppenbarger is quick to admit the downside of having 60 percent of the Oxford, Miss., rock band exit during the past couple years. Yet he’s also realizing that a simpler life is an easier life, one that allows for a lot more creative and financial control.
“With Plunder, Beg and Curse , we were five dudes with equal input sitting in a basement for a month at full volume playing the songs over and over,” Coppenbarger says. “At that point, when you start to go, ‘I’m not sure this part is OK for this sound,’ you start infringing on other people since that’s what they do in a song. But if it’s just you and another guy, you can take out an idea and you’re not hurting anybody’s feelings. It’s having less cooks in the kitchen. It’s a little simpler.”
The story started with guitarist Jimmy Cajoleas leaving for graduate school, initiating a domino effect that took bassist Patrick Addison with him. Once the band’s label, Fat Possum, decided against following up Plunder, drummer Len Clark left, leaving Kirkpatrick and Coppenbarger as the lone remaining members after two albums and an EP.
“In one way, it’s like losing your brothers or something,” Coppenbarger says. “It’s someone turning their back on you and saying, ‘Look, this thing we all got behind, I don’t want to be a part of it anymore.’ It’s pretty frustrating to say the least.”
Yet the music was still there. In the midst of waiting for Fat Possum to decide what was next, Kirkpatrick and Coppenbarger huddled up for several songwriting sessions that produced much of The Cradle, the band’s latest LP.
“The band actually broke up for a while,” he says, “yet we still had all of these songs. So we realized that we could still make this work. We could rebuild the band, find people to tour with and find the right crew.”
A new Colour Revolt emerged after everything was said and done, one marked by a new sound (including the addition of keys from Brooks Tipton) and freedom.
“We’re now in a much better situation,” explains Coppenbarger. “We are now the label and we’re distributing ourselves through our management’s distribution, which is ADA [Alternative Distribution Alliance]. So we own our own record now. We don’t have any label telling us that we need to look cooler or sound a certain way. It is a lot more freedom.”
For now, the band is deciding what to do with that University of Colorado at Boulder, 303-492-8619.
freedom after the first of the year. Some new music is definitely in the cards, but the format is currently undecided, according to Coppenbarger. Part of the indecision comes with the freedom, since the band stands completely responsible for every aspect of their music.
“Now we’re in a position to have to make things happen on our own,” says Coppenbarger. “There’s not as much money to do things, so we have to be more patient to have an idea fleshed out. We can’t just go to the label and say, ‘This is what we want to do. Give us the money and we’ll go do it.’ Now we have to say, ‘Well, we have to build this and play some more shows and then we’ll have the money to do some projections or lights.’ It just takes more time to raise that money.
“But it’s also great because we’re more in touch with our fans and they’ve been a lot more important into how this process goes in making things happen,” he continues. “In turn, we’re able to take more money from the records and actually make more records, do more touring and actually be out there more often with our fans. So it’s better all around.”
Even with the changes in the line-up and instrumentation, Coppenbarger says a Colour Revolt show is still a great, sweaty time.
“The biggest difference is that we have keys, so it’s more epic in some parts,” Coppenbarger says. “People should come and expect to have some fun. It’ll be pretty sweaty. There’s a lot of highs and lows and it’s pretty dynamic. But it’s not like we have a ton of LED lights or costumes or anything. It’s still a loud show. It’s a rock band, but it’s not this three-guitar onslaught type of thing.”
On the Bill
Colour Revolt plays Club 156 on Friday, Nov. 12. Doors at 8 p.m. Paean and Fellow Citizens also appearing. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 day of show.