Lead singer and guitarist Brinton Jones isn’t recovering from a flesh-eating disease.
Bass player Jake Fish hasn’t suffered spontaneous combustion, nor has he been killed in a bizarre gardening accident.
Drummer Cameron Runyan has two arms, like the rest of us.
The country-rocking Salt Lake City band The Devil Whale hasn’t endured any behind-the-scenes horrors that makes for a particularly interesting backstory.
What the quintet offers is a determination to become the hardest-working band in Utah, as well as to play some great songs.
The musicians are making a brief stop in their hometown for an album-release show at the Urban Lounge on Friday, May 27. They’re just two weeks removed from a 33-state tour — and in a few days they’ll embark on another tour that will last the greater part of the summer. All that touring reveals their ambition to let music fans hear their new, remarkably fresh-sounding and colorful album, "Teeth."
"We’re not stopping, even if we have to put you in a cage," said Fish, who at 33 is the eldest member of the group.
With a full-length album ("Like Paraders," in 2008) and six-song EP ("Young Wives," released last summer) behind them, "Teeth" is the sound of a band coalescing on long drives through Alaska in a 14-passenger Dodge Ram van, honing the craft at clubs and bars along a road that seemingly goes on forever.
"We are not a band that will have a lot of bells and whistles in our live show," Jones said. " ‘Teeth’ was shaped through touring so much. The songs are geared toward our live show — they’re more vibrant."
The friends have bucked the trend of the Utah alt-country music that is ohhhh-soooooooo-sloooooooow. Influenced more by the Beach Boys, David Bowie and The Kinks rather than current rock bands, the quintet plays drums and bass that sound straight off a 1960s recording. A more contemporary guitar sound is added by relatively new member Jamie Timm (formerly of Band of Annuals), which adds punch to the band’s pop harmonies.
"It spoke to me," said Stephanie Mirabelli, the North Carolina-based manager of the band. "I can’t work with a band if I don’t love it."
The band came together after Jones and Fish’s previous band, The Palominos, fizzled out in early 2008. The group enlisted longtime friend Runyan before adding Wren Kennedy on keyboards and Timm on guitar in April 2010. Kennedy, 25, is the only member of the group not in his 30s. All of the musicians are committed completely to The Devil Whale — no one in the band is married.
That allows the band to have logged more than 15,000 miles on its February-through-May tour, with the band members subsisting on a rationed $5-per-day allotment for food — on good days. Amazingly, the band came out even.
After Friday’s show, the next tour begins June 2 in Nampa, Idaho, at the Flying M Coffee Garage, about 20 miles west of Boise. From there the Dodge van will hit Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles and then Arizona before heading back to Oregon again. At this point, the last tour date is scheduled for Aug. 20, but that won’t be the last.
"We’re old guys who stuck it out," Timm said.