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Photo By Paul Moffett
The Deloreans

Dapper Deloreans Shift Into High Gear

By Kevin Gibson

When Jeremy Perry steps on stage with his band the Deloreans, he typically dons a dark suit with a tie. His bandmates, if you'll forgive the pun, follow suit.

The suits are a signature of sorts for a band that has begun to distinguish itself musically as well as visually in 2011, finding its way into the ears of new fans outside Louisville by way of Internet-driven word of mouth and an increasing number of shows outside the friendly confines of the River City.

But why the suits?

"Classical musicians dress up, I think, to highlight the music," Perry said. "I think it exudes some kind of respect for the music, like, 'This is a special occasion, we take it seriously. This is something special for us, so were not just showing up in street clothes.'"

The Deloreans

Photo By Paul Moffett

The Deloreans The Deloreans

The Deloreans

Photo By Paul Moffett

The Deloreans The Deloreans

The Deloreans

Photo By Paul Moffett

The Deloreans The Deloreans

The Deloreans

Photo By Paul Moffett

The Deloreans The Deloreans

The Deloreans

Photo By Paul Moffett

The Deloreans The Deloreans

The Deloreans

Photo By

The Deloreans The Deloreans

The Deloreans

Photo By Paul Moffett

The Deloreans The Deloreans

"I just like wearing the suits, to be honest," chimed in guitarist Loren Pilcher. "It's just mod and forward looking. I think I have heard the word 'dapper' used more in the last year than in my entire life."

The point is, bands always think about what they are going to wear even if they are essentially the Ramones, wearing t-shirts and ripped-up jeans so why not do it in style?

Drummer Meg Samples feels it gives the band an identity that sets it apart. Pilcher agrees, and notes that his love for the Beatles make the suits all the more enjoyable. And let's face it, it's just fun to do something a little bit different.

"We're serious about music," Perry said, "but we do like to have fun."

Another example of the band's penchant for fun would be the forthcoming video for the song "Non," from the most recent Deloreans album, American Craze. The video was shot in mid-June at various spots around Louisville, and the band promises plenty of fun for viewers. It was directed by Andrew Vititoe, who did a hauntingly fun video for Lucky Pineapple in 2009.

"It's going to be a cool video, I think," said Samples. "It was fun to shoot, and it definitely will be funny."

The premise is simple: A fashion photographer from Europe has chosen Louisville to shoot photos of an eccentric model, played by Pilcher, who calls it "a bizarre, other-worldly fashion shoot."

The track itself was chosen because people have gravitated toward it, possibly because it is a bit quirky in itself.

"The lyrics are all in French," Perry said. "It's a really cool song, and people love it when they find it on the album. We thought a music video would help people hear the track. The lyrics are total bullshit because I couldn't think of any lyrics, to be honest."

And the video is just about "two weirdos. There is zero relation between the content of the video and the song."

Not surprisingly, a couple other songs have been tapped for future videos to help promote the band. One is "Buffalo," a Deloreans staple, and the other is "Leviathan," one of the band's hardest-rocking songs, and quite a departure from the group's quirky indie-pop style.

"Leviathan" is a song that "by all accounts is completely unexpected from us," Perry said. "It was designed to totally kick the listener's ass. Whether it actually does that, I don't know."

"It has balls," he added.

"That's what I always say," Samples said.

With that, Pilcher interjected, "She's always worried about the band not being manly enough."

WHERE DO WE BEGIN?

One thing about graduating from music school is that one suddenly finds that one has fewer outlets for performing. So Perry, upon graduating from the University of Louisville in musical composition studies and piano, began looking for just such an outlet.

In 2008, he approached friend Bill Willis, a bass player and friend he had known since third grade, about starting a band.

"We got together a couple times," Perry said, "wrote some bad songs, recruited a drummer. At some point, we decided to record some songs and then we played our first show. We still didn't know what we were doing; we were just a band that wanted to play some songs in front of people."

But with a few shows under their belts, Perry and Willis began to focus. And thus, the Deloreans were born. Perry said he was mainly interested in "weird" or "eccentric," vocally-driven music. And the name? Also something the band took great care to choose.

"Let it be writ that the Deloreans, before they started, they looked to make sure there were no other bands in the United States with that name, and there were not," Pilcher said.

Speaking of John Delorean, Perry said, "We are named after the man the spirit of innovation and the love of cocaine."

"He invented the GTO," said Willis. "Huge John Delorean fan."

"If you're not going to make it past the name, you're not for us," Pilcher said. "Don't know what else to say."

"The goal of the group was and has always been to be, above all, unique," Perry said. "As much as you would want a song you write to not sound like any other song that exists, we wanted our band to be that way. I don't think any of us would want us to be likened to any certain group."

The first Deloreans release was a track called "La, La, Love," which appeared on the Louisville is for Lovers 2009 compilation. This garnered the band its first notice in local music media. Not long afterward, in June of that year, the group's full-length debut, Love Outrageous, was released.

Of course, most bands have personnel changes along the way, and so it was that drummer Evan Pouchak vacated his seat in the band and moved to Los Angeles, making way for Samples. Her story is the stuff of rock 'n' roll legend.

"I was on probation at the time from a previous arrest," Samples said. "I was trying to call my sister, because she's a lawyer, and I accidentally called Jeremy. He had just found out their drummer, Evan, was leaving town.

"I said, 'I am having horrible fucking night.' He said, 'I'm having a horrible fucking night too; my drummer just left.' I said, 'I actually play drums.'"

They talked a while that night, later met at Heine Bros. to talk in person, and hit it off.

"Now I'm just trying to play as much as can," Samples said, "and stay out of jail."

Pilcher also joined the band shortly after this happy accident. Perry described Pilcher as the band's "honorary Brian Epstein," because Pilcher initially acted as a consultant of sorts.

"I hung around the periphery," Pilcher said. "Jeremy, Bill and Meg wanted to fill out the lineup, so Jeremy asked me (to join the band). And I told them 'no.'"

But Perry didn't give up, and Pilcher finally caved. This led to some collaborative songwriting.

"Jeremy and I had actually been in a group together before, and we shared sort of the same weird musical sensibilities," Pilcher said.

"We're real sensible," Perry said.

"We both have a love of, like, '60s stuff," Pilcher continued, ignoring Perry's interjection. "Jeremy has the ability to emulate a lot of bands and structures and stuff, so I would work with him on that."

"You've got to have the tools in the shed" in order to write songs, Perry said.

"I don't even have a shed," deadpanned Samples.

But the addition of new members, of course, added to the influences that help create the band's difficult-to-describe sound. Asked about these influences, the band starts rattling off random band names. Pretty soon, the conversation nearly spins out of control, which seems to be a recurring theme for the Deloreans.

"Whitesnake!" said Willis.

"My influences were really strange," Perry said, being a tad more serious. "When me and Bill were kids, we loved the Misfits. We loved the Buzzcocks."

"Dead Milkmen," Willis added.

"GWAR," Perry said. "We liked death metal, and then I got into classical music."

"That's fucking weird," Meg says.

"I think of us as more of out-of-the-way, weirdo pop music," Perry said. "I wish we were like Nat King Cole except weirder."

"We got into David Bowie, Pixies," Bill said. "I still listen to Jane's Addiction, although it's not that good. I still listen to the Dead Milkmen."

"I only listened to hip hop and jazz funk when I was younger," Samples, who also plays in the band Squeezebot, said. "Roy Hargrove and the Meters. I was into them really young because I started playing drums really young."

Samples studied jazz at the University of Louisville. "My playing comes from that, I think. I am also really into Latin music, so that has a big influence too."

"I like Talking Heads a lot," Pilcher said. "I like a lot of the '60s, not-so-cool vocalists. I went through my vinyl the other day, and I have like 20 Andy Williams records. My mom was the No. 1 influence on my music. She had fantastic taste in music, so I grew up with her Elton John albums and Buffalo Springfield."

"I'm still haunted by the Oak Ridge Boys," Willis then deadpanned.

"My thing was, I just started playing guitar because I got a guitar for my birthday," Pilcher, who studied English literature and African-American literature in college, said. "I started playing Beatles chords and it started from there. I was lucky to hang around with people who were musically inclined."

Willis, who has a degree in psychology, said he had a bass guitar for years but didn't play it much. About two years before the Deloreans came to be, he played in a punk band. "I learned lot from that," he said, "and then I just stared playing with Jeremy in the band."

"Playing with Jeremy?" Pilcher said.

"I said, 'in the band,'" Willis countered.

"And then there was the bathtub incident," Pilcher responded.

The subject of death metal influences resurfaces, and Perry then observed that, "Fear and aggression are really hard to communicate musically."

Someone mentions polka is a perfect outlet for fear and aggression, to which Samples responds, "Polka. I'm scared when I hear that shit. I get kind of pissed off."

Wait … what were we talking about again?

TEAM DELOREANS

Back to 2009. With the new lineup firmly in place, and WFPK toasting the band's first full-length album, the Deloreans found themselves a tad, well, surprised. They were hearing their song "Attacked by a Panther" regularly on the radio.

"Nobody really knew who we were, but WFPK loved it," Perry said. "They played it a couple times a day for, like, a year. For that summer of 2009 some attention was focused on us."

"[The term] 'modern Beatles' was thrown around a bit," Pilcher wise-cracked. "Actually I think we're a little bit above that; we even have a beautiful girl in our band."

"Yeah," said Meg, "it's Bill."

Along the way, they recorded a song titled "Call Off the Pain," which appeared on the 2010 Louisville Is For Lovers compilation. The aforementioned song "Buffalo" also came out as a vinyl single, backed with "Starfish."

But the full-length American Craze was the band's primary focus during the latter half of 2010. Following its January release, once again, the band found itself getting some unexpected attention.

"We worked reeeaaally hard on [the album]," Perry said. "And I think we further developed our aesthetic. We got a bunch of attention for it, especially in the blog arena on the Internet."

"We started getting picked up on European compilations," Pilcher said. "It's crazy to see a German blog that has found out about [your band]. They did say we were 'tasty.'"

"Obviously, we wanted to push it as much as we could," Perry said, "but there is only so much you can do. We were fortunate that fell into our lap. 'Self-produced' is usually a diminutive term, but nobody was saying anything like that."

"We'd had about zero exposure outside Louisville until this point," Pilcher said.

Which is not to say Louisville didn't embrace the Deloreans the band cited a number of publications and blogs such as backseatsandbar.com for publishing kind words about American Craze. Other bands around town also offered support.

"Luckily, we live in a music scene that is pretty conducive to other musicians," Samples said. "Louisville is pretty open to things."

Pilcher noted that the band has "gotten a lot of mileage" out of the Buffalo/Starfish single as well.

"It's a pink seven-inch," deadpanned Willis.

"Seven pink inches of pure aural pleasure," adds Pilcher. "We did a run of 150 for it, on pink vinyl. Those have been doing very nicely. It has really ornate packaging with foil and hand-made cutouts."

Yes, the band literally sat around and created cutouts by hand. "We just have lot of time on our hands to do this sort of shit," Samples said. "And because we're making a lot of money."

"We did it at the Deloreans headquarters," Pilcher chimed in.

And then yet another Deloreans conversation unraveled when Perry mentioned a sign on the building made of "diamond-studded baby skin."

The point was, however, that all the attention began turning into invitations to play out-of-town shows. The band's first show outside Louisville was a gig in Lexington in 2010. But since January, the band has been invited to play shows in Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and from Iowa to Alabama. There have even been invitations from Washington state and the United Kingdom.

"It's nothing we have propelled," Pilcher said, "which is amazing, and we're incredibly grateful. Music bloggers, when they grab on to something they like, they will really attempt to spread it everywhere."

Is this the success the band has hoped for? Yes and no, said Perry. "I would consider us extremely successful because our goal is to have fun. Most of our goal is to just have fun when we're on stage playing."

In other words, the Deloreans aren't necessarily gunning to make a pile of money or achieve any specific level of rock 'n' roll fame. "We can fund the project just fine," Perry said, "and we have enough money for drugs and whores or whatever we want."

"We all know that it takes time, so we're not going to immediately expect that this is going to be awesome and gigantic," Pilcher said.

The Deloreans will play as part of the "Louisville is for Lovers Summer Seven-Inch Series" on August 19 with Scott Carney. After that, they will perform at Waterfront Wednesday September 21 with They Might Be Giants. Not a bad way to finish out an unexpectedly good summer.

After that, work will begin on another full-length album, with a mid- to late-2012 target release date.

"We will further develop our aesthetic and what we do," Perry said. "It's like, 'Why listen to us?' You've got to make a case for yourself in some way. I look at our band as a song. We composed our band as you would compose a song, with all the quirks and everything."

And wise-ass remarks.

And suits.