Our man Spencer Kilpatrick prepares to hit the road

Tony Contini / Tahoe Onstage

Spencer Kilpatrick plays Lincoln Lounge on Thursday before heading off on national tour.
Tony Contini / Tahoe Onstage

Spencer Kilpatrick is so productive his cup is spilling over. The songs he writes that don’t quite fit into his main-thang, Failure Machine (a Reno garage-soul trio), are adding up.

“I’ve got about 12 tunes that haven’t been recorded,” Kilpatrick said. “I’m cutting some of them solo, some with MELK (Kilpatrick, Adam Carpenter, Kris Stosic and Steve Widmer) and a couple with Happy Trails (his other other band).”

Tony Contini / Tahoe OnstageHe shared with Tahoe Onstage what he calls a “charming” first edit of one of those songs, “Lungs”. It starts simply with one forlorn acoustic guitar. His rich voice immediately takes the production value through the roof. He could be singing from inside a microwave and it’d still sound clean and familiar while reminding you of home or good times. The track rounds out and his voice is eventually surrounded by what he calls “weedly, noodly guitar parts”.

When I close my eyes, I picture the ghosts of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Otis Redding in glowing blue silhouettes staring down proud of their young padiwan.

Kilpatrick is soon to set off on a “little summer tour” through eight states. He will be joined on the first four dates by Keith Damron of El Camino Sutra from Monterey. The sendoff party is set for, Thursday, June 7, at Lincoln Lounge in Reno.

“I’ll do all of the new stuff I’ve been working on and some slower Failure Machine tunes,” Kilpatrick said. “And a couple Ashanti songs.”

Expect a new solo EP as well as a MELK release within a few months.

“It’ll be fun,” he said. “I’ll have tapes with some bummer home-recording demos at the Lincoln Lounge show.”

He is spreading himself thin musically and personally. He’s a full-time teacher at Innovations High School and he’s actually convinced a girl to date him. What was once a Pabst-drinking, pizza-vomiting ball of hair is now an inspiration to our youth.

“I’m too old to be getting wrecked at bar as much as I like to,” Kilpatrick said.  “Instead of playing bars, I’m headed to a handful of coffee shops and record stores.”

Reno’s guitar hero is growing up, y’all.

Kilpatrick likes being in a band much more than playing music. I would have never guessed this. If I was half as good at making guitars scream, I wouldn’t have time to talk to friends. It’d be me and Miss Fender. He feels like this solo tour will help him grow as an artist.

“Doing stuff out of my comfort zone will make me better,” Kilpatrick said. “Stripping tunes down to the very minimum and lowering the volume has a way of exposing a lot of flaws. It’ll be good to figure out some bad performing/songwriting habits and fix them before jumping back into Failure Machine.”

– Tony Contini

Come out and see Kilpatrick better himself right before your eyes at Lincoln Lounge at 8 p.m. this Thursday. Then buy a bottle of liquor and break it over the bow of something as he sets off into the sunset to find a whole other group of suckers to fall in love with him.

Give a listen to Spencer Kilpatrick

Spencer Kilpatrick

  • Answers to questions we didn’t ask:
    – Monterey, Ca. I love the beach, but hate swimming.
    – Chris Webber.
    – A Fender Telecaster plugged into a blues JR with a distracting amount of reverb.
    – The first time I met Tim Parsons.
    – Animal style.

About Tony Contini

Photographer and journalist Tony Contini graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a bachelor's degree in journalism and a minor in art photography. He loves working with bands and telling stories. Photography portfolio: https://www.TonyContini.com

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