In just a few weeks The April Fools will be celebrating our 10th anniversary as a band. We’ll be playing on September 15th at The Schooner Tavern in Minneapolis to mark the occasion. The Schooner is a great place for music, we love playing there, and it’s always a blast. But hey, ten years! We wanted to do something special, so we invited original guitarist Clay Williams to come down and play a few tunes with us. It’s been quite a while since we’ve played with Clay, and we’re really glad that he’s agreed to join in the celebration. We’ll be playing the whole evening – no support band and no cover. How can you lose?
The April Fools "Loretta Lane" hits 22,000 streams on Spotify. Follow Records added “Lose Your Mind” to their 2022 Hits Spotify Playlist. The April Fools Thank Jeff Wells The Cavern KSOI 91.9 FM Murry Iowa. Bill Deville & Diane Miller 89.3 The Current Minneapolis. Downunda Thunda Radio Australia. Doug Gates KKCR 90.9 FM KAUA’I Hawaii. Mikes Minnesota Warrehouse WEQY 104.7 FM St Paul. WORT Madison Wisconsin. Monies New Music UK. Country Barnyard Radio Somersworth NH. Jackson Buck KFAI 90.3 FM Twin Cities. The Razor and Die Show WLUW 88.7 FM Chicago. Tez FM Whiteville, NC. WEVL 89.9 FM -Car Tunes Memphis. Also Turnstyled Junkpiled review coming soon Chesterfield, VA!!
by Joshua (J.Smo) Smotherman February 12, 2022
Indie Music Discovery
8674 Bluefield Way
In this interview spotlight, I chat with members of The April Fools about their latest project Wonderland, adapting during a pandemic, technology and more.
Where are you from and how do You describe your style of music?
The April Fools are Minneapolis, MN based, but Ben Kaplan (drums/vocals) is from Baltimore, MD and Brad McLemore (guitar/vocals) is from Dallas, TX. Brian Drake (guitars/vocals), Terri Owens (guitars/mandolin/vocals) and Nick Salisbury (bass) are from Minneapolis. We would describe the music as American Rock and Roll incorporating definite Americana and 60’s-influenced Pop roots – guitar-driven with an emphasis on strong vocal harmonies and performance. Because we tackle several genres in our writing and collaboration, it is tough to pigeonhole our overall sound or style in simple terms. There is a lot to unpack here.
How did you get here? As in, what inspired or motivated you to take on this journey through music and the music biz?
Well, this is our fourth release – and the third on Blackberry Way Records so the band has been at work for over 8 years now. We’re all lifers in the music biz with long resumes. Collectively, we’ve been involved in a broad and wide range of live shows, TV appearances (The Tonight Show/Austin City Limits) and recording projects, from past to present, including Chuck Berry and Lowell George to Brian Fallon (Gaslight Anthem) and Ryan Bingham, both of whom our bassist, Nick Salisbury, currently tours with.
Name the biggest challenge you faced as a creative during these unprecedented? How did you adapt? How have you kept the creative fires burning during all this?
Because we began recording this release, Wonderland, right at the beginning of the pandemic, there were several things we had no choice but to do differently – not the least being recording all the drum tracks first with only the writer in the studio with Ben and (producer/engineer) Mike Owens. So, scratch vocals and a guitar and the drums. That was it. Then, we went in individually and recorded the rest – guitars, bass, and additional guest musicians. Vocals were last. We were very careful but determined to make it all work. Collaboration is what this band is about – there are three writers and four singers – and listening to the songs now you would swear that all hands were always on deck and all playing together. Nothing sounds “mailed in” – even the on track that Murry Hammond (Old 97’s) recorded remotely from Los Angeles. There really is a deeper and more thoughtful vibe on Wonderland compared with our previous albums – and we’re very pleased and happy with the results.
What was the last song you listened to?
Somebody In My Home – Howlin’ Wolf. It’s playing as I type this.
Which do you prefer? Vinyl? 8-tracks? Cassettes? CDs? MP3s? Streaming platforms?
I prefer whatever sounds best – I still listen mostly to CDs and we can’t escape the convenience of streaming platforms. Quality-wise, it’s still CDs and vinyl.
Where is the best place to connect with you and follow your journey?
I really appreciate Your time. Anything else before we sign off?
I appreciate your time, as well. Thanks for the opportunity – we’ll look forward to seeing the interview soon. Cheers, Brian Drake.
We had a ball at the release party for our latest CD “Wonderland” at The Parkway Theater in Minneapolis. There are so many people to thank for making the release show a success that it’s hard to know where to start.
First, we need to give credit where it’s due to Mike Owens of Blackberry Way Records. Without Mike’s hard work and expertise we wouldn’t have a CD to release. Thanks also to Jackson Buck at KFAI and Bill DeVille at 89.3 The Current for giving us some advance airplay and mentioning the release show. Jessica Paxton and all the staff at The Parkway did an amazing job of making us feel welcome and keeping the show running smoothly. Our pal Neil Catura kept our many guitars at the ready and kept our spirits high with his positive attitude and a healthy dose of humor from his rock’n’roll past.
Turn Turn Turn kicked the night off with a set of great songs. And those harmonies! Not an easy act to follow. We have a trove of fab photographs thanks to the talents of Paul Lundgren and Scott Streble. By the way, if anyone has video from the show we’d love to see it.
Of course the people we most want to thank are the ones who came to the show. The Twin Cities are lucky to have an abundance of talented musicians, so it seems that there are always multiple shows happening. We’re grateful that so many folks chose to spend their evening with us, and we really appreciate all the kind words that were posted after the show.
We hope everyone has a great and safe holiday season. See you in 2022!
Working on a record through the pandemic has been a challenge. As we were getting ready to begin recording our fourth studio album the world was becoming aware of a new term, COVID-19. We were not aware that this would soon take over our lives and lock us all down. As this reality set in our original bassist Scott Hreha made the decision to leave the band. The remaining members, with the sad reality that we wouldn't be playing any shows for who knows how long, decided to forge ahead with making a new record. The plan was to bring in a variety of bassists that we knew and loved so we could hear their interpretation of these new songs we'd been working on up to that point. As we recorded with great caution, often one band member alone with audio engineer Mike Owens, we realized this was going to be a slow process. Trying to get used to the new idea of wearing a mask at all times, we chipped away at the foundation. Brad reached out to his friends in the Old 97s and brought bassist Murry Hammond on board for a remote session to add his distinct style to the song "Lose Your Mind". We also brought in bassists Paul McFarland (Lolo's Ghost) and Nick Salisbury (Ryan Bingham, Brian Fallon, and many Twin Cities bands) to add their unique styles to the songs. With touring all but shut down The April Fools invited Salisbury to come on board as a full time member. He proceeded to finish out the remaining bass parts on the record with some stellar playing. Many months later, and many small recording sessions later we are excited to release this album into the new world. Some songs we've never played together live as a group and some that were written pre-pandemic that have taken on an entirely new meaning.
More details coming soon as we finish up, but we are super exited to share this music with everyone and get back to playing live music!
The April Fools
The music blog Zachary Mule recently published a glowing review of our latest release, Third - you can read it in the press section of our website. Thanks to author Darren Tracy for the kind and insightful words!
Tracks from our new record Third are already hitting the radio airwaves: thanks to KFAI's Jackson Buck for spinning "Shaky Ground" on the April 4 edition of Freewheelin', as well as to Andrea Swensson for playing our rendition of "My Back Pages" on 89.3 The Current's Local Show on April 7.
Also be sure to tune in to Freewheelin' again this week (April 11) to hear an interview segment with our singer/guitarist Brian Drake!
Even though the calendar shows the first of April, it's no joke that our newest release Third is out now on Blackberry Way Records. Head on over to the music page to listen and/or buy yourself a copy.
And don't forget that our release party is coming up on April 13 at The Hook and Ladder Theater & Lounge in Minneapolis, with our friends Rich Mattson & The Northstars and Adam Levy rounding out the bill. All paid admissions receive a complimentary copy of Third!
Another milestone we can check off our collective bucket list: our first review in a language other than English. Rooted Sounds had some kind Spanish words to say about our most recent release, Colorwheel, calling it "una obra multifacética llena de matices y con una excelente producción, donde el lirismo y la muy personal voz bowieniana del compositor Brian Drake es magnificamente secundada por arreglos instrumentales exhuberantes y convincentes, a la par enérgicos que armónicos".
(English translation of above quote: "a multi-faceted work full of nuances and with an excellent production, where the lyricism and the very personal Bowie-esque voice of the composer Brian Drake is magnificently supported by exuberant and convincing instrumental arrangements, at the same time energetic and harmonious".)