Gravy Flavored Kisses, came to play the Green Parrot the first time expecting a beach town. They’ll be in town at the Parrot for their second gig next weekend and know better now. With two CDs released, the band’s reputation is growing and spreading to places like Spain. The band’s “overnight” success took years, but let’s hear it in their own words:
Q: You said the name’s origin is Popeye related. Can you tell us more?
A: Scott (Trumpet) always has these crazy, vivid dreams. After rehearsals, we stand around smoking cigarettes and he tells us about the wild visions, tastes, smells, and sensations he’s had lately while he has been asleep. One day, he was explaining in graphic detail a romantic dream he had about Popeye’s wife, Olive Oil. At one point he described how he tasted Thanksgiving dinner throughout the whole titillating affair. Jared said, “Gravy flavored kisses either tastes really amazing or really dirty. Either way, I’m down.”
Q: Tell us about the band. Who’s in it and who writes the songs?
A: Jared Castellaw lays down guitar riffs and male vocals and he writes certain themes and sections of the songs like the melody, lyrics, or slamming riffs you hear. Then he brings those to rehearsals where the rest of the band and he figure out the arrangements and fill in the rest.
Kathryn Wood is the female vocalist. The rhythm section is Adam Baumol on drums and Damon Motto on bass. The horn section is Scott Frock on trumpet, Curtis Laub on trombone and Wes Anderson on trombone.
Q: This is your second time at the Green Parrot, what was the first time like and was it anything like you expected a Key West bar to be like?
A: Since we had never been to Key West, we weren’t really sure what to expect; we figured it would be more of a touristy beach-vibe kind of place. But as we started to make stops along our drive down, we would get the same response every time we said we were Green Parrot bound. “The Green Parrot is the sh@+! You’re going to have the time of your life.” The weird thing was, the more we heard that, the more skeptical we got. We thought that it couldn’t possibly live up to all that hype.
But then we found ourselves among a packed and pumped house that lasted deep into a Wednesday night with music-craving energy reminiscent of our favorite New Orleans venues. It blew away our expectations in all the best ways. At one point, Curtis clocked a guy in the back of his head pretty hard with the butt of his trombone slide, and the guy just kept on dancing. That’s a sure sign of a great music bar and a great music city.
Q: Your debut album, “In the Red,” was interesting. Can you tell us about the songs and how some of them came about?
A: “Ghostly Marie” is an extrapolation on the guy who lived in Jared’s place before him who was rumored to suffer from nightly grief-induced hallucinations and also a conversation Jared had with a guy named Drizzle. “Somebody’s Hair” and “.357” are, at their core, about Indians and cowboys (respectively and respectfully), “Chairman of the Board” is all about Frank Sinatra’s mugshot, but also women, temptation and sex. It’s chapter one.
Q: Your second CD, “The Mail,” came out last year and has radio play in Spain. Why Spain?
A: At first, we didn’t even realize it was playing in Spain. We looked up the town the radio station was based from, and we confused it with a town in Argentina. Spain just loves it some New Orleans music. It’s probably the fact that they got New Orleans from the French way back when, but then pretty much just gave it right back to them after building all that great architecture. It’s their little way of trying to get a little bit of Nuevo Orleans back.
Q: Does it get easier, more fun or more work, with each new CD? Are you working on a third one?
A: More fun for sure, easier in some ways and harder in some ways. Easier in that we work better as a group and have a better understanding of the process, but harder in that we set new standards for ourselves, so it takes more dedication to really make everything hit just right. We are working on a third record. It’ll be our first full-length record.
Q: You play a lot of festivals in Louisiana and then clubs all the way through to Florida and Key West. How many days a year are you on the road and how do you travel?
A: It really depends on what we’re focusing on at any given time. Right now were focusing on getting our first full-length record down. After that, who knows? Everyone has other projects and interests as well. We’d really like to do a Mississippi River tour by boat but don’t know how to pull that off yet. You know, hit all the big time cities like Cairo, and Natchez. Maybe even pop into St. Louis or Memphis if we can route it. Is it a logistics challenge? Absolutely. Is it feasible? Also, yes.
Q: If you had to name your genre of music, what would it be and why?
A: The best description of our style has been “a head-on collision of blues and rock n’ roll.”
Q: You’re based in New Orleans and people often say Key West and New Orleans are a lot alike. Is that true? If so, what makes the cities alike?
A: Absolutely. Both have that sense of an old Spanish-Carribbean street layout and architecture, and I think that there’s a kind of edge-of-the-continent feel to both, where you have one foot in America and the other foot dancing along with whatever culture rolls up out of the boat to party.
Q: The reviews the band has been receiving have to be great news. Do you have a favorite and if so, what is it?
A: The horn section’s favorite review has to be when a guy in Alabama commented that the horns were like “a couple of swingin’ titties.”
Q: How important is a review of the band compared to the response of the crowd you’re playing for?
A: Good reviews are great, but it’s nothing compared to the feeling of jumping up and down and sweating with a fired-up crowd like we had at Green Parrot back in April.