Spoonfed Tribe. Remember them? Well, they never really went away. Ever. The 14-year-old Arlington quintet has always just seemed bigger than Tarrant County, not necessarily from the standpoint of being too big for the clubs here (though that’s mostly true) but for purveying a world music-influenced brand of jam-rock that might best be described as West Coast-y or European. Lots of Tarrant County artists don’t sound traditionally “Texan,” but if there’s one local band that you’d never think was from our great republic, it’s Spoonfed Tribe.
Playing major festivals all over the country and selling out clubs and venues on tours just about every year have helped establish Spoonfed as a force more potent beyond our borders than inside them. But since 2007, around the time of the band’s last big promotional push, anchored by the studio album Public Service Announcement, a lot has changed in the Fort Worth scene –– its size and quality have increased dramatically. Spoonfed now has made its Fort Worth home at Lola’s Saloon (2736 W. 6th St., 817-877-0666), the de facto epicenter of live 817 music and the site of Spoonfed Tribe’s upcoming Saturday album release party.
Enjoy the Ride was recorded piecemeal throughout 2012 with producer Alex Gerst (Slow Roosevelt, Doosu, Slobberbone), a frequent Spoonfed collaborator who captured the band at his newly opened Empire Sound Studio in Carrollton and at his father’s Indian Trail Recording Studios in Sanger. Along with hallmark Spoonfed instrumentation (lots of percussion, lyrical wordplay, and chunky, bouncy riffage), the album is full of dynamic, synthetic bells and whistles and tasty horns, compliments of baritone saxophonist Jeff Dazey (Gunga Galunga, EPIC RUINS), alto saxophonist Shadow Price, and a new full-time member, trumpeter David Willingham. Enjoy the Ride is the Tribe’s sixth recording overall and perhaps the band’s best recorded work to date, which is saying a lot, considering Spoonfed has been around since ’99.
The band still has plans for world domination, of course. Frontman Egg Nebula, guitarist Sho Nuff, bassist Jerome 57, percussionists Kaboom and Goofahtts, and Willingham have initiated a strong college-radio campaign, planning to tour to markets where Enjoy the Ride receives the most airplay –– including Europe. “I think this album is a lot more digestible” than previous Spoonfed recordings, Kaboom said. “It’s more mass market. [Pushing college radio] is something we’ve never really done before, though we’ve been on a lot of college-radio stations across the country … . I think the college kids are gonna eat this record up.”
Touring is a major reason that so much time elapsed between the band’s last studio album and this one. Egg estimates that when Spoonfed is focusing on touring, it plays about 150 shows a year. “We had plans every year of recording a new album,” he said, “but we kept going, and it passed us by. This time we had to shut most of [the tour machine] down.”
The Lola’s show will be Spoonfed’s first since the album was released on June 1.
After 14 years, you’ve got to wonder what’s left for Egg, Kaboom, and company. “We can’t stop now!” Kaboom said. “We’re at the point where nobody would know what to do without [the band]. And it’s still growing. A long time ago, we all decided this is what we’re going to do, and we’re still doing it, and, most importantly, we really enjoy the music we’re making.”
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