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KC band Beautiful Bodies sign deal with indie titan Epitaph Records

05/21/2014 7:00 AM

06/03/2014 10:17 AM

Kansas City has a big-label band in its midst.

The Beautiful Bodies have signed a record deal with Epitaph Records, a major independent label in Hollywood, Calif.

The label was founded in 1980 by Brett Gurewitz, guitarist for Bad Religion. Its current roster includes Weezer, Social Distortion, Alkaline Trio, the Lawrence Arms, Motion City Soundtrack and Pennywise.

Alicia Solombrino, lead singer for the Bodies, said the band was courted by larger labels but went with Epitaph for several reasons.

“Brett is in a band so he knows what it’s like to be an artist,” she said. “We really liked the way he approaches his bands. We really feel like Epitaph will nurture us and our music.”

Solombrino said the Beautiful Bodies already feel at home at Epitaph.

“When we officially signed, they had a reception for us, and the whole staff was there and we hung out for an hour,” she said. “They had a huge cake that said, ‘Welcome to Epitaph’ and cupcakes that said ‘BB.’ About half of them were vegan cupcakes because they know we’re health nuts.”

The band had been talking with labels for more than two years, Solombrino said. Interest began to peak after a September showcase at the Viper Room in West Hollywood.

“It was nerve-racking,” Solombrino said. “It started at 7:30 on a Monday night, not the best time anywhere but especially in Los Angeles. It would have been really awkward if no one showed up.”

But the room was packed.

“There was a line out the door,” she said. “We went as crazy as possible and the response was wild.”

Representatives from about 10 labels were present, including Gurewitz, who showed immediate interest.

Last year was a productive one for the Beautiful Bodies. On Jan. 7, 2013, they won the Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands competition in Los Angeles. Among the prizes was the chance to play more than a dozen shows on the 2013 Warped Tour, including a stop at the Cricket Wireless Amphitheater in Bonner Springs.

Signing with a label is the last piece in the band’s business strategy. Before the showcase, the Bodies had decided on both an agent and a management team.

Troy Blakely, managing partner of Agency for the Performing Arts, is their agent. His current clients include Robert Plant, Fleetwood Mac and Judas Priest. “We’d been talking to Troy since before we had management or a label,” Solombrino said. “He really believed in us. We’re his new baby.”

The band’s management team is John Youngman and Mark Mercado of FlySouth.

“They’re a real cutting-edge management group,” she said. “They have about 10 bands, so they can give everyone enough attention. Paramore is one of their bands. We really liked their plan. They understand where we want to go.”

The band is now getting ready to start recording a full-length album with producer John Feldmann, guitarist and songwriter for the punk/ska band Goldfinger. Feldmann produced the Bodies’ EP “Battles,” released last year.

Plans for a tour are also coming together, she said, but nothing has been confirmed yet. “There are lots of opportunities ahead,” she said. “Troy already got us on a cool tour last November, with Reel Big Fish.

“We’re excited. It got frustrating how long we took to decide. We wanted to get it done, but we didn’t want to rush. If was only about signing a deal, would have signed with a Warner subsidiary two years ago. But we wanted to go with someone we really felt comfortable with and trusted.”

To reach Timothy Finn, call 816-234-4781 or send email to tfinn@kcstar.com.

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