Bands are funny things. Some people devote their lives to them, while others treat them as something to do before they settle down. Mountain Kid sort of splits the difference. According to guitarist Nicholas Wittwer, the band has been going for three years. He pointed across a table in Lola’s entryway patio, where we were talking to frontman Addison White. “The original member is that guy, though.”
From 2012 to 2014, White had a short-lived indie-pop band called Royal Savages.
“Toward the end of the Royal Savages, it wasn’t going well with the other members,” he said. “And I saw Lewis [Wall] and Ethan [Stone] play a show with Head of Savage. Lewis is the guitar and singer and the mind behind that band, and I thought those dudes were badass, so I asked them to jam with me. That eventually turned into Mountain Kid.”
Mountain Kid stayed busy initially, but like its progenitor band, it fell victim to membership changes.
“We were playing a lot of shows for about a year, and then our guitarist Josiah Hunter moved to Kansas City,” White said.
Wall moved to Hunter’s vacated guitar spot, and the band recruited then newly dissolved We’rewolves guitarist Rob Hine to play bass.
In the fall of 2016, the hits kept coming. Hine moved to Houston for a job, and at the same time, the other Mountain Kids started moving on – White jokingly refers to it as “graduating to Mountain Adults.” Stone became a father. Wall started grad school. By November, White’s band was essentially a solo project.
Despite the graduation, White was not yet finished with the band. In January, he started asking other musicians to revive Mountain Kid. One was his longtime friend and current roommate, Wittwer, who filled in on bass in Mountain Kid for a short time but bounced out due to scheduling conflicts. But when he moved into a west Fort Worth rental house with White, the pair eventually started writing songs together.
“At first, we thought we’d start another project,” Wittwer said. “But then he was like, ‘I have these other ideas, and I want to do Mountain Kid again.’ That was about four months ago, so it’s happened pretty quick.”
White recruited bass player Eliot Arriaza (Bomb Atomic, Get Well) to fill out Mountain Kid’s low end. Bomb Atomic broke up in April 2016, and Arriaza had lent his bass playing to a country-influenced songwriter named Zach Nytomt.
“But I missed being able to move around on stage,” Arriaza said.
Mountain Kid’s challenging arrangements re-ignited his fire for intricate four-string runs.
The new Mountain Kid lineup is anchored by Josh Banks on drums. The metal-schooled drummer splits his time between Mountain Kid and the blues-influenced riff-factory Arenda Light. White said he tried out several drummers, but none of them had the feel he was looking for until he found Banks.
Arriaza said the new stuff is “more in the pocket,” less “choppy.” The older material relied on chunky guitar riffs, but White agrees that the songs flow better, though Arriaza compares some of the band’s latest work to the Mars Volta, suggesting that the songs still unfold as a collection of movements as opposed to basic verse-chorus-verse arrangements.
White is excited about Mountain Kid’s direction. They plan on releasing a five-song EP at the end of the summer, recorded at the home studio of engineer Joe Burton. While they aren’t opposed to playing the occasional show out of town, touring isn’t all that interesting to them. They all have jobs and lives and prefer writing and recording to constant gigging (see: HearSay below), though they all enjoy getting onstage. The band plays music more as a creative outlet than anything else.
“It’s mostly just for fun for me,” White said. “I really love writing music, going to the studio and recording it, building a nice fan base and getting them to come out, and have fun with all my friends. That’s why I do it.”