“This feels more like an event for friends,” said Garrett Range of It’s Elephant’s, looking over at the amassed loved ones and fans filling up the inner and outer bars of 529.
Originally It’s Elephant’s were set to end their three-year tenure at a festival hosted at the Masquerade, but due to a family related issue for front man Brent Jay the band had to opt-out. Everyone breathed deeply over the cancellation– it had never seemed right for the final show to be held at a venue the band never actually played, or to do so without multi-instrumentalist David Fountain on stage. You go out in style, not with a limp. There are rules to this rock and roll game, even if we claim there are none.
In all their shows and in their two LP releases, It’s Elephant’s never really existed to please or impress anyone. They kept it selfish, never cozying up to the right people, but keeping the influential crowds intrigued.
“We tried to be a band that just plays music and has a good time and not be a part of this defining scene,” Range explains. “We go to shows, and I like plenty of bands from this town– it’s been less of a rat race to us and more of a good time.”
“We could write whatever we wanted to,” Jay added, smiling at the thought of what the band has released.
The band’s freedom through avoiding the popular movements in this city became clearer than ever on their sophomore (and last) album Get Along. The 90s style guitar rock was still intact, but the band welcomed in any instrument or arrangement that came into collective thought. The band’s soul influence took a jump to the forefront, making the band hard to define.
Some of the songs came together in a rush, Range admitted. Some were written in times as short as bathroom breaks but that kept it pure and unfiltered. “Any song you write in eight minutes has to be honest because there’s no time to break through that layer of over-thinking,” explained drummer Justin Shotwell. From the beginning It’s Elephant’s goal was clear: write, play, and enjoy the fuck out of each moment.
“Me and Brent have our own personal issues that go back decades,” Range admitted, as the two are still battling it out in the now reformed The Letters Organize. “A decade of dirty laundry we work on a daily basis,” said Jay, smiling at the truth of it. “There’s been plenty of baby-ish fights between the two of us that have turned into a big band thing.”
“Our differences [took] the biggest toll on Justin. I feel like we almost drove him to a heart attack,” Jay recalls in a somber, almost apologetic tone. Shotwell laughs, “No you didn’t.”
“Being in a band is like having a girlfriend you love, but she sucks all the time,” Jay continued. “But you stick with her.”
From here Jay and Range are keeping their focus on The Letters Organize and their forthcoming 12″ EP, due out early next year. David Fountain now plays as a member of The Minor Prophets (Florida songwriter Damion Suomi‘s backing band) and in a new local band The Mad Flight.
Both Jay and Range detailed solo projects they have in the works. Shotwell is taking a break.