From the Free Times 5/18/11
In a discussion last week with a local musician where guitarist Marty Fort’s considerable instrumental chops were mentioned, I foolishly posited the question of why he played rock ‘n’ roll when he was so good on the classical guitar. The answer was, of course, because he can, and besides, it’s a lot more fun. One can’t find much more of an opportunity for a good time musically than Fort’s latest vehicle, the rockabilly trio Capital City Playboys, featuring another couple of local scene veterans in drummer Kevin Brewer and bassist Jay Matheson.
From the Free Times 12/1/10
The Capital City Playboys won’t compromise when it comes to partying. Roaring through rockabilly with a dirty garage edge, the Playboys throw out come-ons so fast there’s no chance to reply. Just bob your head along.
From the Free Times 08/18/10
There might not be a better party band in South Carolina than the Capital City Playboys. Led by guitarist and frontman Marty Fort and anchored by longtime scene members Jay Matheson on bass and Kevin Brewer on drums, this is a talented group playing for nothing more than a good time. The Playboys’ high-energy punk-rockabilly sound might be heavily indebted to The Stray Cats, but their spot-on delivery and idiosyncratic cover choices (mixed in with some predictable tunes) make up for any lack of originality. The group has also been steadily adding original tunes to the mix, and recently released its debut single. K. Petersen
From The State Newspaper 10/2/09
Guitarist Marty Fort's approach was simple. He called bass player Jay Matheson and said, "I want to do a rockabilly band."
On Saturday at Art Bar, Fort and Matheson, joined by drummer Kevin Brewer, will debut their new band: The Capital City Playboys.
"It's kind of an out-of-nowhere band, I think everyone would agree," said Matheson, who owns the recording studio Jam Room. "I just thought that Columbia was really ripe for a rockabilly or a good garage band."
Rockabilly, one of the earliest forms of rock 'n' roll, emerged in the 1950s. The sound merged walking country bass lines with chugging rock 'n' roll riffs and dancey grooves. In other words, hillbilly songs got faster rhythms. The genre exploded with Elvis' uptempo music - and the echo technique perfected by Sun Records. More than half a century later, rockabilly is thought of more as a fashion style than a style of music.
Fort wants to make the sounds en vogue again.
"This past year, I've been immersing myself in the Elvis era.," he said.
But the Capital City Playboys aren't just going to play and sound like Elvis; the is band also trying to emulate folks such as Carl Perkins.
"He's kind of the quintessential rockabilly guy," Matheson said. His research for the band led him to finds like Wanda Jackson, who was sort of the queen of the rockabilly movement.
Fort said the rockabilly idea has been brewing for about six months, and the band has been practicing for two.
"It's just going to be fun," said Fort, who runs Columbia Arts Academy. "It's going to give
us a chance to do something we haven't been able to do as far as genre.
"We just get in and do it."
Brewer, who went to the Army's music school and is now a musician for the military, will be able to showcase his chops. Since the band is in the process of writing original songs, the first show will feature covers of Buddy Holly, Perkins, Johnny Cash and, of course, Elvis.
"It's going to be us straight up tearing these songs," Fort said.
From the Free Times Newspaper 9/30/09
This weekend a new band will take the stage at the Art Bar, but its not just another group of collegiate indie-rockers aiming for Pitchfork-level fame. The Capital City Playboys are a rip-roaring rockabilly trio featuring Marty Fort on vocals and guitar, Jay Matheson on bass, and Kevin Brewer on drums — three veterans of Columbia’s music scene who have collectively played hundreds, maybe thousands of gigs.
"The idea for this band came by my recent phase of checking out Elvis music,” admits Marty Fort, whose previous credits include the recurring Doors tribute band and hard rock acts such as Entreat and Cosmic Fame.
“I’m a fan of crooners — Sinatra, Morrissey, Elvis; his 1956-era stuff really rocks,”Fort says.
With Fort, a fascination with a musical genre resulted in a conversation with Jay Matheson, whose Jam Room Studio is only one aspect of a local career that’s included stints in Bachelors of Art, Black Sabbath tribute The Void and Hick’ry Hawkins’ band Sidemeat.
"I approached Jay about the idea for a band, he approached Kevin Brewer, and here we are," Fort says.
Where that is, the band has already produced a batch of initial demos that sound like finished product; having a studio owner in the band probably helps in that regard. The Playboys' brand of rockabilly is a jumping, jiving, yet clearly articulated version that invokes everything from classic Carl Perkins to the more polished contemporary bands such as The Stray Cats and Cigar Store Indians.
"We recorded that demo to tape, to preserve a proper vibe," Matheson says. "No computers were used for the recording or mixing, either."
That vibe is one that he says Columbia has needed for a while.
"I’ve always thought that Columbia was in need of some good rockabilly bands," Matheson says. "It’s good party and dance rock ‘n’ roll with a heavy retro twist and some fancy clothes. Now people can get their leather jackets, hot rods and dancing shoes out of the closet and bring them to our shows."
The common thread tying these three musicians together is an unlikely, yet not altogether surprising, oneformer Columbia resident honky-tonker Hick’ry Hawkins, whom all of them have played with at least once. Matheson was an official member of Hawkins’ band for several years, even, and appears on a couple of his albums.
"My time with Hick’ry gave me the opportunity to study old school country and rockabilly bass guitar techniques," Matheson says. "I really like the old walking bass lines that tie in upright bass style to the electric bass, and I’ve been wanting to get back into a country or rock ‘n’ roll project for a while now so when Marty ran the rockabilly idea by me, he already knew that I’d be interested."
Fort’s connection to Hawkins runs right through Matheson, who says he had him fill in on guitar several times. As for Kevin Brewer, it’s a little more tenuous, but Matheson reveals, "Kevin filled in on drums for Hick’ry at a Lettuce Lounge gig once."
Matheson says the new band will definitely be a rockabilly-driven combo, but there is plenty of wiggle room in that designation.
"As far as direction, my main rockabilly reference is Carl Perkins and I listen to a lot of Link Wray as well which I guess is sort of pseudo surf," he says. "We'll be covering a lot of stuff like that as well as putting together a batch of original tunes in the near future. I am also a Cramps fan, so a little glam rock and lo-fi mayhem is always good with me, too."
Whatever they end up playing, the clear winners in any outcome will be local Columbia music fans, who have yet another option for some swinging nightlife and great tunes.