Price Vernon is so proud of his roots, he wears them on his tattooed sleeve. The veteran musician spent years on the Hollywood Strip, playing for hire, but a desire to write and record his own music led him back home to Oklahoma, where he formed the upstart metal act Big Okie Doom last June.
“I didn’t want to have any mistake about it that we were an Oklahoma City band,” Vernon said. “No matter where we ended up in the world — Russia, China or Austin — we wanted to be known as an Oklahoma City band. We’re an Okie band. We treat people right.”
The trio has enjoyed a quick rise, thanks to decades of combined experience in rock acts like The Slugs, Ugly Stick and Kottak, as well as an indelible chemistry, not that it materialized overnight. The members have been jamming together in unofficial capacities for two decades; in fact, one of the members is Vernon’s brother, Paige.
“There’s been numerous times when we sat down at Waffle House and the waitress asked if we were twins. We shared the same room; we had bunk beds. Half of him is really me, and half of me is him,” Price Vernon said. “When that comes to music, we just have the same tendencies. It’s telepathic: If I get an idea of where a song should head, he’s already there.”
Their Wonder Twin powers activate alongside an accomplished guitarist/vocalist in Michael Albatross, making for a formidable tandem.
“We had an analogy that is pretty fitting: The relationship between the rhythm section and guitar player is a lot like a wave and a surfer,” Vernon said. “Paige and I can make a nice little wave for Mike to dive into.”
The ocean Albatross plunges into is wide and deep in terms of musical influences. Big Okie Doom’s formula is constructed from a hodgepodge of hard-rock and stoner-metal acts: Tool, Black Sabbath, Queens of the Stone Age, Clutch and … Tori Amos?
“We love all different types of music. We’ve got influences from a whole spectrum, and we’ve found a way to mix those in a way that sounds new,” Vernon said. “There’s a lot of what we are doing that goes beyond heavy music.”
Listeners can find that fusion on Big Okie Doom’s debut EP, Oklahomegrown, which saw release in February.
“In a way, we are very old-school. It doesn’t sound like any fad that’s going on … not anything like the nü-metal acts you hear on the radio,” Albatross said. “We’re big on music that makes you use your mind a little bit, not just big, dumb rock.”