Aug 292010
 
Authors: Chadwick Bowman

College Avenue rumbled Saturday night as Old Town shook to the heavy hitting melodies of local rock band Tickle Me Pink.

The Aggie Theatre hosted the technical and powerful numbers of the Fort Collins-born and -raised band that has created a loyal following.

They’ve played the Aggie many times. But after some adversity, they have found a groove with new songs, a new member showing promise and a revitalized fan foundation, with the motivation of lead singer of Sean Kennedy.

Kennedy’s low-key personality is a departure from the singer’s high-energy vocals laid down on the tracks.

When not focused on music, he works as an apprentice tattoo artist, a hobby that he quite literally wears on his sleeve. He claims he is not a daily-grind type guy, but other ambitions aside, he is very busy with music.

Kennedy said the things he works hard at are the things he enjoys.

Hours before the show, anticipation ran through the venue as the band and opening acts shuffled equipment in for sound checks.

Kennedy, when asked about his pre-show routine, said sarcastically, “I played Frisbee golf today.”

“Everything is about the same as a normal day,” he said, responding seriously.

The marking of a show day is apparent in Kennedy’s diet. He doesn’t eat cheese, he said, because dairy cuts the throat and “makes you suck at singing.”

The band’s main goal right now is to get into the studio to give their fans new music and a new full-length album. The band released the extended play, EP, album “On Your Way Down” in May independently of any record label.

“It was geared more toward fans in Colorado,” Kennedy said of the EP. “It’s something to give to the fans that have been waiting.”

The three song EP was released digitally and included the new single “Strange Life.”

The release of the EP stamps a positive step for the band after dealing with setbacks the past few years. The band recently parted ways with its record label and is currently marketing itself for a new one.

This time around, the band has been much more particular in choosing a label.

“We want to find a label that we like and meets our needs,” Kennedy said. “The industry is in a fragile state. We want to find someone who will help take us to the next level.”

The working relationship with a new label is important to Kennedy, who said at times he can get too caught up with the business aspects and “lose sight of the music.”

The band was also nearly derailed by the death of one of its original members, bassist Johnny Schou, from an apparent opiate overdose. His passing coincided with the release of Tickle Me Pink’s full-length album “Madeline” in July 2008.

But the band has continued moving forward, and Saturday’s concert was the first show for newcomer Darius Pope. Though nothing is official yet, the band was very pleased to have Pope. Tickle Me Pink had auditioned more than nine other bass players.

“Darius learned 14 songs in like two days,” guitarist Joey Barba said. “He’s just a monster.”

Kennedy said he felt good about the show, playing the popular hit single “Typical” early on and encoring with “Madeline,” the sing-along-able and mosh pit-able fan favorite. He said Pope was getting more and more comfortable with the group as the set went on.

“Our No. 1 goal is to be happy with our music we play every night,” Kennedy said. “We want to enjoy what were doing.”

Staff writer Chadwick Bowman can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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