It’s not always just about the music, as Oklahoma City country rock band
Left Foot Sally will tell you. It’s also being a salesman, but not just
tickets and albums.
“One of the bartenders came up to us and said, ‘You guys drink beer, and the drunker you get the better you play,’” bassist Dustin Kuykendall said. “He went on saying that it wasn’t the biggest crowd he’d seen there, but it was definitely the rowdiest, loudest, drunkest people and that we sell more beer than acts way bigger than us. That’s it. We want people to get into it. The more fun they have, the more fun we have.”
“People come to our shows to have a good time,” frontman Trent Tiger continued. “We are a beer-drinking band … a beer-selling band, really. When it comes to bands around here, doesn’t matter what you play, as long as you can sell beer.”
Born from session players and an untested Tiger, the group reveled in the relative freedom the new group offered in its early days in Stillwater. With the limitations of interpreting someone else’s songs gone, the band turned to crafting something that satisfied every musical influence, from Red Dirt stalwarts Cross Canadian Ragweed to rock icons Alice in Chains to alternative acts like The White Stripes.
“We never said we were a country band or a rock band or a red dirt band. We’re a rock band with poor bastards from Oklahoma, so it gets labeled country. It is what it is,” Kuykendall said. “We go all across the spectrum, from country to whatever … only if (Tiger) starts rapping, will we start hav ing a problem.” The band found a fast — and usually intoxicated — following, winning over crowds at bars and venues across the state, save one misguided gig at a line-dancing hall. An EP was released in the band’s first year of 2008, and a full-length debut followed in 2010 with Red Dirt forefather Mike McClure at the helm.
“Ever met Mike?” Kuykendall asked. “It’s a fucking experience. You get to know people really well when you are in a 15-by-15 room in a basement below a guy’s house with a goat outside … we stole the roughs from the Ragweed record that he’d just finished before working with us.”
Added Tiger, “You can learn a lot from that guy. He’s seen it all.”
It was more than a memorable experience; the sessions with McClure afforded the band a full-length record that leaves a lasting impression.
“I wasn’t expecting it to sound that good,” Tiger said. “We’ve turned a lot of heads with what it sounds like.”
Left Foot Sally is now focused on a follow-up that looks to broaden its horizons even further, with likely appearances from a wide array of locals like jazz singer Cami Stinson. All this is in hopes that the Lone Star state will come a calling, where beer sales are sure to only continue to spike.
“Oklahoma radio is great, but in this genre, Texas radio is the stepping stone to going places,” Tiger said. “Like it or not, that’s how it is.”
“Getting into there has been hard,” Kuykendall said. “They don’t take kindly to Oklahoma acts, but you can tour Texas the rest of your life.”
Tiger added, laughing, “It is another nation.”