Introducing The Philistines and their debut LP, ‘The Backbone of Night’
For better or worse, a rock & roll band is as significant a relationship as any other on the planet. Some might say it’s the most significant kind. Now, while that’s debateable, it is true that this partnership, this entity, this band has got to have a certain chemistry or level of compatability that allows for all involved to feel needed and wanted–much of the time in different ways, of course–in order for things to grow and thrive. Everyone knows that the history of rock & roll is littered with ill-fated stories of people endowed with capabilities of creating this important, memorable, even timeless music, that lack that all-important fundamental requirement.
The Philistines’ lead singer, Kimmie Queen’s spent most of her life surrounded by the underground music scenes and has a performance background in areas like comedy and theater, before stepping into the realm of musical performance, once starting up the Philistines with guitarist, Cody Wyoming, who’s a life-long musician and a long-time presence in the Kansas City Music scene. The two have maintained their own personal relationship together, for 12 years. The Philistines have been a part of that, for the last three.
As they tell it, the beginning of the band was simple enough, sitting around, trying different things until something interesting just seemed to naturally emerge. From there, they set out to find the individuals that felt right. “It was kind of a fun and interesting process, because we kind of got to hand pick the band from the local area,” Cody explains, “so we really got to pick the band that we wanted.” As luck would have it, they found four other KC musicians who were up for the task and assembled the band that would become The Philistines. Since that first practice session, the band’s line-up has remained unchanged, still to this day.
With a band of six members, there’s a naturally elevated potential for all of those negativities–ego clashes to good old fashioned spite, and anything in between–the things that can do a weaker band in. But where the Philistines are concerned, those issues haven’t found their way into the band. Both Kimmie and Cody agree that the band’s longevity, and their sound, can be credited to the varied personalities that contribute loads of style, insight, perspective; essentially things good. And when they talk about that aspect of the band, you can hear their sincerity. As Kimmie says, “The dynamic within the band is like that of a family and friends.” A band of scene veterans, though, is likely gonna know the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ and how to manage itself in order to, not only develop this kind of partnership, but maintain it in such a way that they still look forward to rehearsals and gigs. Apparently they’ve managed to be successful in doing that. When a band has such a bond, you can find the reflections in the music they create together. “Our live show is an extension of who we are,” Kimmie adds, “And that’s who we are in the studio and in everyday life.”
The range of influences within the band helps give ‘The Backbone of Night’ a sound that can’t be categorized with one or two different sub genre labels. And it’s got far too much character to be simply generalized as rock & roll. This goes back to there being six individual personalities and points of view, and then likely six different schools of influence and inspiration. Their drummer, Steve,–the youngest member–comes from a punk background but has a firm grasp on the music that Cody came up on. That percussive foundation is a lynch pin in the essential Philistines sound. But so many other different areas of musical color–soul, jazz, blues, zydeco–run through the proverbial veins that are the individuals that comprise the Philistines. These effective injections of strong stylistic entanglements and swirling flavors constitute what Cody refers to as a “wild soup of sonic flavors,” thereby, offering up an album that delivers current after current of psych-garage, desert-punk rock & roll with a supercharged buzz of rhythm and soul.
Now, with great power comes great responsibility. The Philistines are primed to perform for larger audiences, outside of the Kansas City scene that they come from. Their pride in the area and the people is something that the band holds in the highest esteem. Once again, this goes back to the concept of family, friends, and relationships, quite importantly. Both Kimmie and Cody agree that their roots are staked in a place that they say that they don’t feel is so much of a ‘scene’, but, as they call it, “the Kansas City music community.” It’s almost as if they know something that a whole load of us might not yet be hip to, but will soon enough find out about; this KC music community. As they mention a few bands and other friends, they paint a vivid picture of a burgeoning artistic hotbed waiting for its moment to ignite and explode. Like those of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Detroit, New York, Chicago, Seattle, and Austin, Kansas City is sounding like the world’s eyes shouldn’t stray too far from it. And though they’re quite humble and would never claim it themselves, the Philistines could easily lead the charge with their incredibly dominating debut, ‘The Backbone of Night’.