“You mean besides the B-52s turned up to 11?” This was the response I got from Jordan Twiggs upon asking how to describe Serpentfoot.
Jordan is the frontman, and guitarist, for the Fort Collins trio that has the Front Range of Colorado taking notice. Serpentfoot is not quite punk, yet way more than surf rock. Their music has components of ripped garage riffs, with grooves that sound like they’ve floated straight from the shores of California. Serpentfoot has grown these seeds to harvest a heavier psychedelic sound that twists the band into who they are now. These guys have piqued my interest since the initial set I saw in the dark speakeasy of The Whiskey, enough to want to dive deeper into their collective personality and share it with the readers of (SALT). As I walked up to the Old Town house with a silk-leaved wreath hanging on the door, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was meeting with Jordan, Phil Shellabarger (bass), and Michael Ross (drums), with no idea what to expect from them as people. All I knew was what I had seen on stage – a collective of chaos that was somehow meticulously calculated and tightly orchestrated. Seeing Serpentfoot is like a really healthy acid trip. Were these cats going to be receptive to “media” walking into their space just before a regular rehearsal? The answer is a resounding yes. They do not flaunt an attitude of the “Cool Kids Club,” but certainly do not put out one of the bitter band navigating the scene. Sitting in the front living room, the guys sip Rainier and an occasional swig of Bulleit, and our casual interview began. It was more of a conversation, really, something that works with this group of people who aren’t keen on a list of overused questions. The talk quickly centered on influences vs. “sounds like” playlists. We agreed that the bane of a musicians existence is being asked to place themselves in a genre. Being pigeon-holed into a genre sucks, but it is a necessary evil. In this case, let’s go with “Psychedelic Rock” with secondary and tertiary genres of “Surf Rock” and “Punk.” “What are your ‘sounds like’ bands?” I ask. This was met with some chuckling from Phil. “I’m going to go out on a limb here,” he says, “Thee Oh Sees.” Phil isn’t wrong, not even a little, and the many who have shared that observation with them are clearly not taking stabs in the dark. However, Serpentfoot has many other influences that are apt to be noticed, like King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Naked Giants, Bass Drum of Death and Ty Segall. Their uniqueness is not lost by making these comparisons, as Serpentfoot is about the turns and detours they take as they write, with subconscious precursors rising up through the ether. Michael puts it best, “We are all a conglomeration of influence.” We soon found ourselves on the screened-in front porch chatting in the sweet smell of Phil’s pipe and the dusty air of a pair of lit American Spirits. “Phil hates Crocs and Chacos,” announces Jordan. He and Michael aren’t even slightly apologetic for their taste in footwear. In fact, the bantering conversation soon turned to a quiet statement of the practical possibility of getting a Crocs sponsorship for Serpentfoot’s next tour. As the jovial bantering continued, I easily deduced that I not only was I sitting with a trio of honed musicians, but with three men that are educated and well-read. From J.R.R. Tolkien to Robert Jordan to Brian Jacques – Jordan, Michael, and Phil pull from more than just their colleagues in the music world for inspiration.
Influence aside, there is clearly a formulaic factor at play here. While they can admit they have gone a while just on “organic” fanbase building, where they do not wane is on their musicality and work ethic. They created (and learned) their sound together back in 2015, teaching each other cross instrumentation and writing together. These guys haven’t stopped since. There is no gap in their tight shows because there is no gap in their practice and release schedule. Already working on their third release in as many years, Serpentfoot will be offering the world another LP later this year. Serpentfoot will be playing with Pujol and Sego March 20 at Surfside 7, then off they go for Tree Fort in Boise on March 24.
What they listen to:
Grannies by Maxo Kream
Rainbow Six by JPEGMAFIA
Pyramids by Naked Giants
2 Blunted by Arca
Nikes by Frank Ocean
Ego Death by A Place to Bury Strangers
Inner Cell by King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
The Hollows by Why?
Sad Sack by It’s Just Bugs
Finger by Ty Segall