Sitting down with the indie/jam band Combat Corduroy would betray their laid back nature as well as their all too obvious love for playing music. Spend five minutes with the boys (Or spot their unmistakable white van with their name spray painted over the side) and you'll soon see they're just four regular fellows looking to have a good time. Oh and they just won a huge four month long battle of the bands this past summer defeating a long list of artists of many different genre and earning some serious evidence for being one of the best bands in the state of Michigan. How did your band spend your summer?
Combat Corduroy originally was formed in 2004 by high school pals Logan Castle (Lead vocals and rhythm guitar) and Brandon Jennings (Bass guitar) along with drummer Ryan Etzcorn (Now of Frontier Ruckus) and Jennings' sister Annie on lead vocals and keyboard. In their earliest days the band was mostly an acoustic outfit. After Etzcorn left the band in 2006 he was replaced with Jon Petro and soon afterwards they were joined by Andrew Watkins on lead guitar and the band started heading towards a Rock & Roll style with their sound, playing as the house band for Boomerang's and later the Grotto. When Annie left the group the band began their transformation into what they now refer to as "Folk Metal" having decided they needed to get serious with their music (As serious as a band that calls their genre "Folk Metal" can be, of course). Influenced by an assortment of genres including Blues, Metal, Hip Hop and Jam Bands, and mostly form 90s rock music, Combat Corduroy provides a unique sound that takes a bit from everything.
"When we bring it together everyone has cool pronounced parts," lead singer Castle says when asked about the song writing process. As the primary songwriter Castle will bring in the basic progression to be jammed out with the rest of the group. "Logan has an arsenal of songs," observes Petro. The band boasts a lively show, no doubt perfect from their time as a house band. "The majority [of our shows] are fairly high energy," Castle notes. More often than not people who came to the gig having never even heard the band's name leave the venue having told them how much they rocked the place. Their win at Blood Sweat and Tears may have given them their highest amount of exposure yet but they are still eager to make new fans and get more folks out to their shows. "If you walk in a feeling like a loser you'll walk out a winner," Petro joked.
Though they released an EP in 2008 their first full length album, "Bless the Flowers, Bless the Weeds", just dropped this fall. Recorded with KOYEZ Production the new CD is a much closer indication of the band's current sound since the departure of Annie Jennings. "Listen to our tunes. They'll sell themselves," says Watkins. Combat Corduroy will be playing at the Strutt on December 16th (Courtesy of Kzoo Music Scene, part of "The Launch" Kick-Off Party), at the Old Dog Tavern on December 29th and at the Intersection in Grand Rapids January 8th. Possibly even more exciting is that the boys will be releasing a music video for their song "Her" in the Spring of 2012; their prize for winning at Blood, Sweat and Tears. If you haven't checked them out yet this needs to change as they may be one of the faster rising bands in Kalamazoo today, which could mean they'll be one of the tops bands in the state tomorrow.