- Submitted Photo
(Editor's note: NUVO's staff is full of musicians and artists, and we seem to be accumulating even more lately. After this article was assigned, Recoil guitarist Darrell Mitchell was hired.)
A walk through Dean Cline's house is like stepping back in time.
There's '50s-era appliances in the kitchen that still look new, a vintage beauty salon (his wife's) that's in what was once the garage, even a suit of armor in a corner of the living room.
But those gathered in this carefully assembled domicile on a recent Sunday evening are anything but relics. In fact, as heavy-hitting cover band Recoil, they're the ultimate here-and-now bacchanal of Indianapolis.
Tonight, though, they're taking it easy in Cline's basement, where a rehearsal space is set up and a stocked bar is conveniently close by. Sundays are their rest days. Through the week are the day gigs. Most Friday and Saturday nights are reserved for Recoil.
Last year the quintet - Cline and Darrell Mitchell on guitar, Christopher Saunders on bass, Scott Huff on drums and Davey Pelsue on vocals - played about 100 shows. They're lowering that number a bit in 2013, but the mission remains molding Recoil into a rock-and-roll juggernaut.
"There's no escaping the hard work part," says Cline.
Quite simply, if you like hard rock and having a good time, Recoil want to be your soundtrack.
"When you come to a Recoil show, you forget the rest of your week and just have fun," says Huff.
It's not just the hours upon hours of covers they've mastered - everything from '70s classics to today's tastemakers - that pack rooms large and small. It's the amity they have with their fans. It's not uncommon for faces from the crowd to be on stage with Recoil and singing along. Or for band members to have drinks with audience members after the show. They're almost in the marriage business - they've hosted plenty of bachelor and bachelorette parties. They've had proposals at shows. They even hosted an on-stage ceremony.
"We've attempted to make this about the people who come to our shows," says Mitchell. "I love The Beatles and Van Halen, but I wouldn't go see them every weekend. Unless you create a community and a place where friends can gather, you're not going to get people to come to something regularly."
And that's precisely what Recoil have achieved. Despite playing multiple gigs in and around Indianapolis virtually every weekend, they routinely pack rooms of a variety of sizes. They've amassed hundreds of thousands of hits to their website (RecoilKick.com) and combined have over 16,000 likes on Faceback and fans on ReverbNation.
"There's this level of momentum that's been created," says Mitchell. "I really believe we're the most approachable and fun local music party atmosphere that's available."
Recoil don't skimp on the production values either. They use lights and fog machines regardless of the size of the room they're playing. It's the philosophy of putting as much into your performance as you can, whether you're playing for six people or 600.
"We want to create an experience even if it's at a bar in a strip mall," says Pelsue.
It's been something of a meteoric rise for Recoil. Mitchell formed the band soon after another one he played in, with childhood friends from Peru, Ind., splintered in 2008. He spent the next year visiting every bar and club he knew hosted live music and convincing the owners to let them play.
"We took gigs whenever and wherever we could get hired," says Mitchell.
Since then they've picked up the national sponsorship from Jagermeister, a status Mitchell tried obtaining for years before finding the right connections to be noticed. Since the,n Jager has even used some of Recoil's artwork (designed by Huff, a graphic designer by trade) and incorporated it into their templates for other Jager-sponsored bands to use.
"The value of our relationship is not the fact we can hand out free stuff," says Mitchell. "It's the fact we can associate ourselves with a national brand. It gives us a level of professionalism that people can see from around the world."
Now that Recoil have established a fanbase and mastered the music of some of the best players in the world, they're ready to write their own material. Cline has "shells of songs" they've begun collaborating on. They hope to have enough originals by summer's end to begin recording in the fall and have something available to release next year. Mitchell promises any Recoil songs will sound like Recoil - heavy and riff-driven, yet melodic.
"We're not trying to write to be placed in a particular category," he says. "There's going to be a component to it driven by what our combined influences are - and if you aren't dancing or bopping your head to it, then we haven't delivered the right music."
Jagermeister wants to hear Recoil's work once complete too. After that there's the possibility of touring, depending on work and family schedules. There are no self-imposed deadlines within the band. Recoil just want to continue having fun between themselves and their rapidly-expanding community.
"It will be wonderful to go down that road together as an experience," says Mitchell. "We'll continue to throw the best party in town."