Mancini – who?

Since Henry Mancini introduced the 1961 hit “Baby Elephant Walk” the association of elephants and music has never been quite the same..nor has The Simpsons. Fortunately, these majestic, slightly plodding creatures will have a new association, other than that wacky, but melodic organ escapade filed with sharps and flats. Elephants might be considered to be more exuberant, hyperactive, oops, mom-i-just-ate-two-pounds-of-granulated-sugar-washed-down-with-a-six-pack-of-Sparks
kind of animals after one sees the band of their namesake: The Elephant Walk.

Milwaukee’s The Elephant Walk has a knack for catchy, energized melodies reminiscent of all that’s good about beach-blanket music from the 60s. Chris Capelle (drums) and Kyle Denton (guitar/vox) fill out the bands’ sound on a full-time basis, while Adam Klarner (also a full-timer), vocalist and tambourinest extraordinaire, fills us in on the magic that is The Elephant Walk.

Fan-belt Erin: How did the band get its start? Have you all played in bands prior to this one?

Adam: The band began coming together last September, while my old one, Tuff Bananas, was stopping ’cause I was planning on moving to Cambodia to teach English and travel. Kyle had planned to come over to keep me company for a while, and we talked about going from city to city playing covers and a few originals at bars and parties to meet people and score free drinks and have a good time. After I ended up getting pick-pocketed for all my money and forced to come back to the U.S., we decided to give it a shot here with the handful of songs I had. Lucky for us, our pal Chris wanted to play drums for it, so there ya go!

As far as previous bands, Chris was/is in Tough Goons, The Remotes, Stephen Chioda (various incarnations), Jeff Caissie & the Cheating Hearts, Ichiban Party2, Midwest Beat (current), Gut Reactions (current), Beach Patrol (current). Kyle was/is in Denton Brothers, Rockopus (current), the Jack Moves (current). I was in Tough Goons, Skag Barons and Tuff Bananas.

Fan-belt Erin: Describe your sound in a handful of words:

Adam: “Hey, you guys should really get a bass player. I’ll be your bass player.” That’s what everyone else says, anyway…

Fan-belt Erin: Who’ve you played with?

Adam: Midwest Beat, Eric & the Happy Thoughts, Dinosaur Pills, Thomas Function, We March, The Mans…and more! Not bad for only a handful of shows.

Fan-belt Erin: Your debut 7″ is out this summer on Dusty Medical Records — how’d you get hooked up with them? Also, what color vinyl (this is really important)?

Adam: Kevin (a.k.a. Dusty Medical) put out the Tuff Bananas “Candy” record and knew Kyle through doing Kyle’s sound-guy duties at Frank’s Power Plant. He just liked what he heard, I suppose! The vinyl itself is black. Classic, elegant.

Fan-belt Erin: Have you ever covered ‘Baby Elephant Walk’ by Henry Mancini?

Adam: Actually, I didn’t realize that song was called ‘Baby Elephant Walk’ until Kyle did a search on Youtube one day. We’re named after an old soul song called ‘Elephant Walk’ by Donald Jenkins and the Delighters. Besides the Mancini thing, we later found out that “elephant walk” is the name of two separate forms of hazing, one done by fraternities, and one done by Navy sailors when they cross the Equator for the first time, but we won’t ruin those surprises for the new recruits. There’s a band from California called The Elephant Walkers, who named their band after those big At-Ats in Empire Strikes Back. So, I suppose…wait. What was the question? Oh. “No.”

Fan-belt Erin: What’s going on at the show this Saturday at Frank’s Power Plant? Any insider info?

Adam: The Okmoniks (from Tucson, AZ) are a rockin’-n-rollin’ dance party band with organ and a female singer setting the sound. I saw them last September for the first time without knowing anything about them beforehand, and they blew my mind. Their new record on Slovenly is my top album of ’08!

Nobunny (from Oakland, CA) is a man/bunny of utmost bubblegum brilliance. How can I begin to describe it? You just have to see it to believe it. He also has a new record (“Love Visions”) that is pitch-perfect for summertime partying.

Two extra-special-last-minute-additions: Eric & the Happy Thoughts and the Romance Novels (both from Lafayette, IN)! The Happy Thoughs are the closest thing to Buddy Holly that you’re gonna get these days, and are tremendous live. Literally, my favorite band in the world right now. The Romance Novels was Eric’s previous band who are playing their first show in a year! Plus, the Get Drunk DJ’s will be spinning the hits in between and after the bands. It reads like a ton of hyperbole, but this is truly a collection of some of my favorite bands out there, so I’m looking forward to it 100%. As an “insider”, I would highly recommend wearing your fave pair of dancing shoes, having a ton of fun, getting loose, and grabbing a slice of pizza from Classic Slice beforehand for fuel. If that’s not your thing, the Bo Deans and Dashboard Confessional are playing at Summerfest…

The Elephant Walk plays this Saturday at Frank’s Power Plant at 2800 South Kinnickinnic Avenue with The Okmoniks, Nobunny, The Romance Novels and Eric & The Happy Thoughts. Show starts at 10 p.m.

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