Last Electric Rodeo was first imagined in 2015, when guitarist Chris Dixon gave singer/songwriter August Wenger six songs to listen to, to see if they were something he thought musicians would want to elaborate on and people would want to listen to. Wenger was so inspired by the music, he wrote lyrics to four of the songs in less than a week and immediately told Dixon, “We’re forming a band and I’m your lyricist and singer”. They brought on T.J. Jarosik, a long time collaborator of Dixon, and with the help of a few other musicians, including multi-instrumentalist Kevin Stephens, they got to work fleshing out the 6 tunes and adding two more.
By August of 2015 they had produced and printed their first self-titled album, Last Electric Rodeo. Since then LER, (as they are often referred to)has produced another album, entitled “Prequela”, and an EP entitled “Halloween Ultimo”. Currently they are working on their third album, entitled “Retro Futurum”, to be released this summer.
The band considered their music to be a blend of several genres into a “post-apocalyptic spaghetti western surf rock opera” of sorts, they imagined a rodeo of sounds. The imagery of the Rodeo being the last bastion on earth, with electric neon lights glowing in the distance, attracting the eye of weary survivors, became the inspiration for the name of the band and the opening line of their show. “Welcome to the Last Electric Rodeo, the last show on earth!”
Added to the ever-growing list of performers was bassist Anthony Santisi, percussionist Ian Muessig, singers Christine Gunderson and Natalie Gossett, hoopers Angela Young and McKenzie Lamberson, as well as a host of other musicians, performers, and crew, including artists Nick Dunkenstien and Mamma Bones. Also joining the crew was Dj Tim Baker, portraying Endtimes Radio host Jurassic Jack.
Today, Last Electric Rodeo is a multimedia stage show featuring live music and actors, combined with amazing visuals that take the audience on a musical journey to an uncertain future. Described as a cross between The Who’s Tommy, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Mad Max, the Last Electric Rodeo stage show has played to packed houses throughout the Southeast.
The Last Electric Rodeo’s music is a completely unique sound that is yet strangely familiar. How it is capable of seamlessly blending alternative, indie, western, rock-a-Billy, grunge, punk, and surf rock is a testament to the band’s musical knowledge and appreciation. Paying homage to Ennio Morricone, it reminisces of the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly; it’s been likened to music that would be in Tarantino’s walkman. It’s surf rock and 70’s country, The Ventures meet Cash, 60’s rock and 90’s grunge, Doors meet Nirvana. Its Zappa with the Dead Kennedys, The Cramps and Bowie, the Pixies and the Misfits, all craftly pieced together.
To behold the Last Electric Rodeo is to witness not only musicians in full costume but also a host of other performers in character ranging from dancers to yoga performers, hoopers, flow artists, and femme fatale burlesque girls in gasmasks. Yet with all the music, theatrics, and spectacle, Last Electric Rodeo still has more to offer. They have craft cocktails fashioned after characters from the storyline and a unique array of merchandise and artwork for sale at every show and in their online store. Their fans are even getting in on the act, as many of them are coming to shows in their own costumes inspired by the LER world.
Radio personality Mark Jones, a.k.a. Johnny Lobo, had this to say about LER: “Last Electric Rodeo is one of the most unique bands I have ever had the pleasure of hearing!
Their new self titled album is a work of art! The listener is transported into a world where the end times are upon us and a radio broadcast howls out to the few remaining ‘End Timers!’ It’s filled with tales of the various eclectic survivors and their stories. I know this sounds a bit dark, but it REALLY IS a lot of fun and it works very well!”
A quintessential moment on LER’s first album and in the stage show itself is a lyric from the song Forever Ending which portends, “Remember where you’re going, you’re forgetting where you’re from.” This esoteric quip is meant to remind us that the past is always falling away from us, from our minds, from our grip, as we constantly move forward in life, leaving our old lives behind. The only thing we can hold on to is the dream of where we want to be.
So where does Last Electric Rodeo want to be? In the works for LER is a 13-part series of comics amalgamating into a graphic novel that will accompany their music. They have plans for a series of craft beers honoring LER characters. They hope to get on the festival circuit, bringing with them their own stage settings and props, as well as a mock Rodeo ‘village’ set up for the camp ground experience. Their pre-shows will incorporate fortune-telling from the Omega Oracle, glow in the dark yoga led by the Radioactive Gal, tasty morsels from Bombshell BBQ, a portable photography studio for souvenir pictures, women’s self-defense from the Girls N Gasmasks, and energy therapy from the Ringmaster.
Be sure to check out their website, www.lastelectricrodeo.com, that has ever-changing graphics and features. Give them a like on Facebook and a follow on Instagram and Twitter @lastelectricrodeo.