New Orleans is a city built on myths. Whether it's the pervasive influence of voodoo, jazz, Mardi Gras, and bourbon, the legends of Louisiana continue to intoxicate future generations. The sights, sounds, and smells of the Big Easy are unlike anything else in the world. Once you've visited, you're never quite the same. Lest we forget, this is the area that produced Louis Armstrong, The Meters, Fats Domino, and even Lil Wayne. Music might as well be in the water. That brings us to Baby Bee. The brotherly duo of Joe Stark [vocals, guitar] and David Stark [drums] proudly pick up the rock 'n' roll mantle for Louisiana.
"When you tell people you're from South Louisiana and New Orleans, it's like saying you're from Jamaica or something," smiles Joe. "From a young age, we got exposed to so much incredible music indigenous to the city. Then, there's all kinds of crazy shit like our great-grandmother was a Traiteur who messed with faith healing. We feel connected to the bloodline. At the same time, it's just a fun place to live. People know how to cut loose. They want to dance. We want to make them dance, and it plays a huge part in our sound."
In essence, the boys began cultivating that sound from the moment they picked instruments as kids and started jamming together. Their parents played in local cover bands and always encouraged their musical pursuits.
In 2010, they officially formed Baby Bee, rehearsing and recording in a practice space affectionately dubbed "The Tackle Box". Their self-released Drop It Like A Bomb—produced by Dave Cobb [The Secret Sisters, Waylon Jennings]—organically garnered some high-profile attention. Eventually, it made into the hands of Republic Records who signed the band after a hyper-energetic New York showcase during the summer of 2012.
Quickly, they hopped a plane to Nashville to record at the legendary Blackbird Studios with Brendan O'Brien [Pearl Jam, Neil Young, Stone Temple Pilots] behind the board. The result of their work is the group's four-song debut EP, The Shaker. It's a swaggering, sweaty, and sizzling gumbo of bluesy licks, walloping rock distortion, funky beats, and soulful howls.
"We draw from so many different places," David admits. "There are those South Louisiana rhythms that speak to us. There's a Cajun feels that comes from listening to guys like Cleveland Crochet. At the same time, we love Queens of the Stone Age and The Hives. As a result, I feel like we hunted down our own style."
You'll feel it immediately on the revved-up riffs of the first single "High Heel Leather Boots". It's a sexy anthem that's worth dancing along to. Joe puts it best, "The song paints the perfect picture of the Louisiana lustfulness and a hot night down here. That melody was super sticky."
Elsewhere on the EP, the rousing "Another and Another"—co-written with Butch Walker—echoes a lusty New Orleans night with skittering guitars and propulsive beat, while "Jet Black" and "Bang It Out" are rousing rockers.
On the album "Shake Off the Shame", Baby Bee confidently kick open the door without holding anything back. He reveals, "It tells three different stories. The first is about a kid who's getting his ass handed to him and growing up like every kid has to do. Then, it tells the story of somebody becoming an adult and wanting to fall in love but not knowing how. Finally, it expresses where we are now as young men chasing down this dream and desiring to live in some fucked-up pseudo responsible way. Still, we've got to satisfy this longing to play music. You've just got to do your thing."
Baby Bee certainly do their thing. Meanwhile, the boys teamed up with Dave Sardy for "What I Want", which shimmies from a slick groove into another hulking hook.
While finishing up this collection of songs, the group unveiled "Love Bug" during a key episode in Season 3 of the highest-rated show on cable, AMC's The Walking Dead. It also appeared on the show's soundtrack, which debuted #2 on the iTunes Top Album Chart and #1 on the Soundtrack Albums Chart.
Ultimately though, Baby Bee feel like they're continuing a tradition. "We hope this record moves listeners the same way our favorite albums moved us," Joe concludes. "We wanted to make this band our favorite band. If someone can be removed from their lives and feel transported to our world, that's our dream."