What's this "SNAKE OIL" all about anyway? It's less bullshit, more music. Almost acoustic, eclectic & bucking trends. Some old faces in a new picture, come and see...
ROBB YOUNG plays acoustic guitar & does some mic time.
JASON SHORT bangs on drums & stuff with various pointy things.
STEVEN GULLETT hogs the vocals & plays acoustic/electric guitar & slide
BRYAN LAKATOS performs on a really big bass & assorted maneuvers
Ex-members of The Mystery Addicts/Montgomery Greene/Shrug/53rd & 3rd. We're putting the song back in songwriting.
Mixing up both acoustic & electric guitars both clean & overdriven. Sing along choruses & twangy ballads.
Moody atmospheric songs lead into straight out punk-influenced rockers.
Two songwriters who treat the acoustic guitar like a rock instrument. One come from a glam-punk background & the other used to play in a Ramones cover band & worships The Beatles. The drummer is part prog, punk, hippie. Bass player loves Sting & jazz.
All been playing over a decade each in Ohio based bands.
Dayton Daily News story by Don Thrasher 07/21/06:
Snake Oil is a hard act to classify. The local acoustic-based rock band, which formed in 2004, mixes singer-songwriter-style contemporary folk music with a restrained underpinning that reveals an admiration for classic rock, Americana and post-punk.
The group grew out of an acoustic duo formed by songwriters Robb Young and Steven Gullett, but the sound changed considerably with the addition of drummer Jason Short in December 2004 and upright bass player Bryan Lakatos in April 2005.
"We played with three different bass players out of necessity and Bryan is my favorite," Gullett said, sitting with his band mates in the basement of Short's Belmont home. "The other guys were great, but it's weird, you pull somebody out and put somebody else in and it sounds different. It's been great, because they add so much."
"The songs are huge now," Young said. "You write these three-chord songs and then bring them into band practice and Jason's got these little sound things he does and he uses space. It brings out things you didn't even think were there."
"This is probably the most dynamic band I've ever been in," Short said. "I get to use brushes, I get to use sticks, I get to use all these different sounds I was never really able to do before."
Snake Oil's debut, Almost Acoustic Music, gets its official release Saturday at Oregon Express when the quartet shares a bill with Wes Tirey & the Easy Hearts and Group W Bench.
"It was recorded here in Jason's basement," Gullett said. "We did it all on Bryan's laptop. We did the vocals and what have you in my bedroom. We took some time working on stuff at my house and here. We mixed it whenever we had time, so it's been a long time coming."
"This was the first major project I did on my laptop, but I've done a lot of recording from beginning to end," Lakatos said. "I'm getting pretty good at it, I think."
The DIY musicians did a great job capturing a live vibe on cuts such as Consolation Prizes and Going to the Garden, which don't sound like they were done in a basement in Belmont by four guys still learning to record on a laptop.
"We did a lot in the mixing and mastering, going through it with a fine tooth comb," Lakatos said. "Indie bands really have to do it all themselves now, everything from recording to promotions. The Web and other tools are finally becoming mature enough for people to use effectively, which is good, because now musicians have to."
Snake Oil CD Release By Paul Barbatano Dayton City Paper 07/19/06:
Steven Gullett should be a familiar name to anyone involved with the Dayton music scene. The guy’s been an integral cog in the city’s music machine for several years now, though he apparently doesn’t like to be reminded of it.
“Is that an age crack?” Gullett asked last week after I’d mentioned his long-standing reign in the Gem City.
Gullett is guitarist/vocalist for the Dayton-based quartet, Snake Oil. Snake Oil is set to release a new LP this weekend called Almost Acoustic Music, a collection of newish tracks.
“The CD is mainly new songs as well as a few songs I recorded solo before the band got together,” he said. “Robb (guitarist Young) also added a couple he’d previously recorded on a limited solo release. The band versions are much different, and better, so it made sense to record them again. We think this collection of songs is a good introduction to the band. The four of us bring very disparate influences to the band, which I think melds into something acoustic/electric/eclectic and uniquely Snake Oil. The whole CD was recorded on Bryan’s (bassist Lakatos) laptop in our rehearsal space at Jason’s (drummer Short) house. Then we did some vocals and overdubs at my place and mixed it over several months. It’s been close to a year since we began recording. It’s a big relief to finally get it out.”
Almost Acoustic Music sounds like a labor of love, as the songs are big and meaty while also catchy and heartbreaking. Punk-influenced rockers share time with contemplative, acoustic-based, heart-firmly-on-sleeve mash notes that will remind the listener of everyone from Billy Bragg to Elvis Costello to Bruce Springsteen.
Gullett insisted that everyone in the band contributes to the songs but that Gullett and Young usually take the first steps.
“You can have an idea of how a song is going to sound with the band, but when you hear it, somehow it doesn’t work, or it works differently than you imagined. So you never know if it’s going to fly until you start playing and the ideas start flowing. I hate songwriting questions. I don’t mind talking about it in a bar but putting it in print often comes off being pretentious. That being said, I’ve been playing music for 15 years now and there’s still no way to write a song for me. Early on, I used to write the lyrics first and then the music; now it seems the music or melody comes first and I write the words to fit. Sometimes it all comes at once. I love the songs where they write themselves in 20 minutes.”
Snake Oil will celebrate the release of Almost Acoustic Music with a release party this Saturday at the Oregon Express and is also set to play North Park in Springboro on August 12. The band will also perform for WYSO’s Rev. Cool on his popular “Around The Fringe” show this Friday evening at 10 pm. After their busy upcoming weekend, Snake Oil shows no sign of slowing down.
“We’ll be doing some more gigs around town to push the CD, getting press and reviews, digital distribution, college radio play,” he said. “We’ll also have a song on the new Dogs D’Amour tribute disc, Tales Of Destruction, set for later this year. It’s fun entertaining people.”