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    Tune to Lou: Graffiti Talks Local Music and Early Influences
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    Back in January, I caught Graffiti's show at DO502’s Free Week, then again at GonzoFest a few months later. It became clear to me these guys were worth going home to give an honest listen.

    Graffiti has a unique presence and sound that mixes past with present. Guitarist Benny Clark’s vocals and demeanor resonate a kind of 1960s - early '70s art punk that channels The Velvet Underground and Television. While musically Graffiti doesn’t follow the standard punk structure, the visual undertones are clear. They’ve been labeled psychedelic rock, but fans have referred to them as “The Stooges mixed with Pink Floyd," said band mate and bassist Billy Lease.

    “At the heart of it is rock’n’roll,” said drummer Tobias Van Kleeck. “That’s always running through everything we do. It’s always going to come back to that.”

    Benny Clark (guitar/vocals), Billy Lease (bass), Tobias Van Kleeck (drums) and Nick Hall (synth) have been around the block in terms of Louisville’s music scene as far back as the '90s. Clark probably rings the most bells with Louisvillians from his history with Falling Forward and Elliott. Billy Lease may sound familiar as well from his time with Cabin, and perhaps you recall Tobias Van Kleeck from Cougar Express. The common denominator that formed what is now Graffiti is The Broken Spurs. Formed from the ashes of what once was, Graffiti has been performing together since 2013. They’ve opened for J. Roddy Waltson & The Business and released their first EP, “Evil,” back in March of this year.

    Over beer and one colorful nacho plate, Clark, Lease and Van Kleeck discussed everything from a foggy night at The New Vintage to getting kissed listening to “Sherry” by Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, from Thurston Moore’s cassette tape habit to reminiscing about AC/DC’s “Who Made Who.” How is Louisville’s music scene? Do you collaborate or coordinate with other bands?

    Tobias: We are certainly friends with other bands. I think there’s a good amount of unity.
    Benny: Louisville seems big enough to support all genres of music. Which I think is interesting. I wish there was more interplay, like overlap. 
    Tobias: Genre wise? 
    Benny: Yeah, genre wise. I think a lot of it has to do with communication. If you don’t talk to your friends that are in metal bands and play shows with them, but then again, I’d rather play shows with bands I like. Not that I don’t like metal bands. Like, I have a lot of friends who play country music but we probably shouldn’t play with a country band.
    Tobias: That may have a lot to do with promoters. You know what I mean? They’re going to put a bill together that makes sense to a certain group. 
    Benny:  I don’t like the whole idea that everything has to be the same. Like what were those train shows in the '60s? 
    Billy: Festival Express. Eric Clapton did a train tour—Eric Clapton and His Rolling Hotel. 
    Benny: They would have different acts playing together, but you know that was such a free time. It was almost like a vaudeville kind of feel. Hell, you could have a juggler play and everyone would be freaking out. Do you guys have a favorite local band? 

    Benny: Yeah, Graffiti. 
    Billy: I like a lot of local bands. I’m a Wax Fang fan. 
    Benny: I like anybody that puts out vinyl records. 
    Billy: Old Baby is a good band. We like Discount Guns. We’re friends with those guys. 
    Tobias: The Hot Wires
    Benny: I’m really excited about the new Parlour and Second Story Man records. And I like Twin Limb. I think they’re great. 
    Tobias: You know who I heard the other night who was awesome? Bookshelf. They’re on that same cassette tape we’re on, Blue Summer. 
    Benny: I’m against cassette tapes. 
    Tobias: Even though we’re on one?
    Benny: Yeah. 
    Billy: They’re just not practical. Vinyl at least sounds good. Cassettes are like the worst music. Why bring them back? 
    Benny: Tons of people buy cassettes. I blame Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore because that asshole, he was a tape revivalist years ago. 
    Billy: Oh, really?
    Benny: He’s got a whole damn book about cassette tapes. 


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    About Katie Molck

    Loretta Lynn is the best country music singer of all time and if you don't like pickled foods, you can leave.

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