Fatback Circus, a local Austin, Texas favorite, whose true talent and versatility has sparked comparisons to various modern, southern and classic rock bands, is undoubtedly on the verge of becoming a regional and national success. The sheer musical ability of this four-piece is very refreshing and a delight to listen to, yet the group's inescapable energy and passion should definitely be experienced up close and in person. The band's sound can be described as an eclectic mix of classic and modern rock with hints of folk and country.
Fatback Circus, originally just named Fatback was comprised by Dalton Chamblee on bass, Nathan Campbell on guitar and backup vocals, Andy Arterbery on Lead Vocals, Justin Laughlin on drums and Aaron Campbell on lead guitar. Fatback Circus has a long history of performing together, each member having been born, raised, and musically baptized in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
The band made a local name for themselves in their hometown of Stillwater, but after a few years, Justin Laughlin left the band to pursue other interests, causing the band to replace him with their old musical chum Garrett Ross, on his summer break from Trinity College in 2002. Subsequently, Garrett went back to college after the summer forcing the band to find yet another drummer to fill the shoes. The band needed to make a drastic move; either move to L.A and find a drummer or move to San Antonio where Garrett lived and already knew their songs. They chose the latter because San Antonio is just down the street from the music capital of the world, Austin, TX.
Fatback, now living in San Antonio quickly became a name on the local scene, and decided to add some funk into their repertoire by adding a horn section to the mix and changed their name to Fatback Circus, with Sam Berniard on Trumpet and Domingo Llagostera on saxophone.
That year, the band recorded their first album "Radio Arcadia.” But, just after the album was finished Andy Arterbery decided to leave the band, and Nathan stepped up as lead singer and the band began to write new material. The band then wrote and released "The Elephant King" in 2006, which was well received and expanded the popularity and recognition of Fatback Circus in the Austin area, ensuring their respectability in the Austin music scene. In 2007 Domingo Llagostera quit to fulfill other ambitions and Sam Berniard followed his lead shortly thereafter. The band found replacement horn players, Alex Sutherlin on saxophone and Amber Rivera on trumpet, to fill in and continue to promote the album.
After “The Elephant King,” the band chose to shed the horns altogether leaving the final and current core of the band.....Dalton, Nathan, Aaron and Garrett, where they finally took on their permanent and undoubtedly ideal identity as a rock solid quartet. Since then Fatback has written and recorded two more albums, “Dark World” and their self-titled. Fatback Circus now resides in Austin, TX, where they continue to write, record, and perform songs that entertain their fans as well as themselves.
Fatback Circus has had the honor of performing with bands such as The Flaming Lips, Seether, The Presidents of the United States of America, Default, Fastball, Thin Lizzy, The Burden Brothers, and Pepper. The band's music video, "Brain Damage" was featured in the South By Southwest music video showcase. The group also earned itself a spot on the 2009 Vans Warped tour after winning the Ernie Ball Battle of the bands competition.
Under it's belt, Fatback Circus has four full-length albums, "Radio Arcadia" (2004), "The Elephant King" (2006), "Dark World" (2009), and it's most recent, self-titled "Fatback Circus" released in 2011. In addition, the group has turned out numerous music videos assisted by masterful direction from talents such as up and coming movie director, Jabbar Raisani ("Iron Man," "Predators," "Game of Thrones"), Taylor Bolding ("Paranorman"), and Trouble Maker Studio's own, Rodney Burnet. The videos for 'Jessica,' ‘Dust Bowl Blues,' 'World Color,' and 'Brain Damage' can be enjoyed on various websites. Fatback Circus has recently gone back into the studio and is hard at work promoting their newest single release for the quartet's latest infectious folk-anthem, "Summertime is Boring."
Additionally, Fatback Circus enjoys participating in charity benefits and other fundraisers. Some organizations include The American Cancer Society, The Chenoa Manor Animal Sanctuary, The Texas Spirits Organization, as well as the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
Nathan Campbell - Guitar, Lead Vocals
Dalton Chamblee - Vocals, Bass
Aaron Campbell - Vocals, Lead Guitar
Garrett Ross - Vocals, Drums
Fatback Circus (2011)
Dark World (2009)
The Elephant King (2006)
Album Review: “Fatback Circus”
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Opener “Angel-ess” grabs the listener with a bravura opening featuring fat, stop-and-start power cho...Opener “Angel-ess” grabs the listener with a bravura opening featuring fat, stop-and-start power chords and a leering slide guitar that launches the group into the Allman-esque rocker. The two-guitar (from brothers Nathan and Aaron Cambell), Allman Brothers feeling is interspersed with some Les Claypool-worthy slap bass (by Dalton Chamblee) on second song “Dust Bowl Blues.” That hard attack is turned on its head for the song’s joyfully excited chorus, which reveals that Fatback Circus is capable of some genuinely catchy passages.
The third song, “Baby Don’t Leave Me,” is also a winner. Eschewing the gutbucket licks of the first songs, “Baby” is a wistful pop lament that sticks its refrain in your head. The album was recorded during the spring and summer of 2010 in Chamblee’s home studio before being mixed at Studio A here in Austin. The sound is muscular and impressively varied for a debut album.
Elsewhere, “Need You” sounds like a lost early-90's Flaming Lips track. Nathan Campbell’s voice can buck up with pretension and testosterone, but his wiry delivery is well served when he goes for scratchy tenderness. “Let it Go” is jubilant and driven by an acoustic guitar that could’ve been taken from Blind Melon or The Jam. “This Guitar” has the blood of old road warriors in its veins.
Fatback Circus play a kind of Austin rock and roll equally influenced by the rich tradition of Texas music and the famous sounds from out of town that we are all familiar with. There’s an unpretentious craftsmanship at work here that really calls to me
Dark World Review - Austin Chronicle
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Fatback Circus delivers soaring pop and rugged rock behind twin brothers Nathan and Aaron Campbell. ...Fatback Circus delivers soaring pop and rugged rock behind twin brothers Nathan and Aaron Campbell. The local quartet's sophomore offering streams through eight songs in mini rock opera fashion, and though expectably overdramatic at points (the Queen-meets-sludge-metal title track), the band unloads fury and finesse in equally impressive measures.
Dark World Album Review
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Fatback Circus–Dark World: You wouldn’t think that a mix of jazz, funk and rock with be born in a sm...Fatback Circus–Dark World: You wouldn’t think that a mix of jazz, funk and rock with be born in a small, quiet town of Stillwater Oklahoma, but it happened. Now in Austin, they have put out a new album, Dark World, featuring this four-piece bluegrass-ish group. They have earned a reputation for having quite a stage presence in addition to playing great, relatively undiscovered music.Check out “Back in Love,” a sultry mellower tune which is jazzy and reflects a bit on the love of love. Unlike their previous album, Dark World is a bit of a new breath that Fatback Circus decided to take. It has a heavier tone speaking about break ups and working late and debuts their approach in their ability to evolve musically and lyrically. 5.0 McRiprock’s
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Fatback Circus is currently the leading vote-getter in Vans Warped Tour's Battle of the Bands for ea...Fatback Circus is currently the leading vote-getter in Vans Warped Tour's Battle of the Bands for each of the Texas date- San Antonio(July2), Houston(July 3), and Dallas(July 5)-and could earn an opening slot on the Ernie Ball stage, alongside Bad Religion, Flogging Molly, and NOFX. Voting for San Antonio engagement ends Thursday, June 11, the same night the local alt-pop pranksters roll into Red 7.
Warped Tour Battle of the Bands: Help an Austin Brotha Out
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The Vans Warped Tour is back and taking charge this summer with more rocktastic bands than ever. Flo...The Vans Warped Tour is back and taking charge this summer with more rocktastic bands than ever. Flogging Molly, Less Than Jake, NOFX, and tons of others are on the docket for this summer's tour. Like years past, there is a Battle of the Bands competition. What's different about this year's competition? An Austin band is currently second in line to win the ultimate grand prize—a trip to Hollywood to play at the Vans after party, $15,000 Guitar Center shopping spree, Alternative Press Exposure, full Ernie Ball Music Man endorsement, guaranteed fame for life, etc. Who are these lucky bastards? Fatback Circus, up-and-coming avant-garde funk masters of the city. While it's an incredible accomplishment to get this far in the game, they still need your help to go all the way (That's what she said?). Here's the deal. You can vote once per day for your choice of band. We recommend that choice of band be Fatback Circus. They're already winning for the Dallas, Houston and San Antonio tour spots, but wouldn't it be cool to see a local act make it to Hollywood? Regardless of origins, wouldn't it be shameful if a band called "American Hitmen" won—well, anything? Sure, their trashy metal skeeze rock might fit right in with the Warped Tour crowd, but it's time the Tour threw some jazzy bluegrass into the mix. These guys blow the whistle right off the teapot in the talent department with the combination of soaring vocals, syncopated drum beats, thriving bass lines and twangy guitar hooks. Oh and don't forget the kooky charm. They lay it on thick in the unnervingly awesome videos for "Dustbowl Blues" and "Jessica."
Fatback Circus Bringing Some Funk & Spunk to Flamingo Cantina [Thursday]
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We know, we know. It's been a rough week and Friday just can't come soon enough. And tonight, it's t...We know, we know. It's been a rough week and Friday just can't come soon enough. And tonight, it's time to sip some drank and just "loosen up." Well, why not discover some tasty new music in the process? Too lazy to find something original on your own? Don't worry, we've managed to find a band you may not have heard of but should definitely lend your ears to. Fatback Circus is a four-piece menagerie of rock, jazz, funk and spunk birthed from the sleepy town of Stillwater, Oklahoma. Though their home is here in Austin, their songs are still lurking among the slew of fame yet to be discovered here. Their sound could be classified into many genres, but we like to call them avant-garde bluegrass. Their stage personality is even kookier than their sound (check out their videos for a sneak peak).
Fatback's earlier work is full of bouncy love songs that layer jazzy "mmm-tah" bass lines with Nathan Campbell's soaring vocals. The sunny, bellowing intro to "Jessica" shows the vocal range of each member -- a nice departure from those groups who mindlessly mutter along to their instruments. But the real brainchild of this group is the track, "Back in Love," which makes a delightful reappearance of the group's latest album, Dark World. The sultry tune brings out the band's jazzier side with a stair stepping recollection of the feelings one gets when rekindling a former love. We've all been there, right? Tonight celebrates the release of Dark World which is a shocking but beautiful departure from the past. The album has a much heavier tone (it's about a break up and working late nights, so dur) and shows their fresh approach and ever-evolving range of musicality. Coincidentally our favorite track holds the same name as the album and brings slamming guitar bits against Campbell's piquant vocals.
Opening up tonight will be Sour Bridges bringing a blue grass country mix. Killing Industry, a reggae-influenced group, will also be there with plenty of alluring bohemianess. Be sure to direct your relaxation efforts to Flamingo Cantina tonight to witness Fatback Circus as they fervently run toward becoming the next big thing.
The Sound & The Fury
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Most bands like to believe that their music is too idiosyncratic and original to be readily classifi...Most bands like to believe that their music is too idiosyncratic and original to be readily classified. In the case of Austin’s Fatback Circus, it’s actually true.
This veteran quartet is dark and heavy enough to appeal to the contemporary metal crowd, but they’re all over the place — in a good way. As demonstrated by their 2006 album The Elephant King and a more recent demo EP, Fatback Circus makes weird, warped, head music that’s equal parts psychedelia, prog-rock, and post-punk. Just to confuse the issue further, at times they get positively folky, with countrified guitar licks and the odd hint of bluesy slide. If they recall anyone, it’s Jane’s Addiction, for that band’s ability to be all things to all rock fans and embody the new and the classic at the same time.
Fatback Circus comes to Scout Bar (19134 U.S. 281 North, scoutbarsa.com) on Saturday, October 11. They’ll be joined by veteran Seattle trio the Presidents of the United States of America. PUSA are best remembered for their alt-goofball hit “Lump,” which inspired Weird Al’s “parody” track “Gump.” Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Showtime is
No Clowning Around
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No clowning around FatBack Circus welcome addition to SA scene by Ben Gamble October 02, 2006...No clowning around
FatBack Circus welcome addition to SA scene
by Ben Gamble
October 02, 2006
On Sept 22, a lightning storm like no other filled the San Antonio sky. As I drove to attend the FatBack Circus show at Jack’s Patio Bar and Grill the weather looked as though it came right out of a horror film.
Luckily, that was not the case, but I made it to Jack’s Patio to discouraging news: the power had been out for about an hour.
At this point I assumed the show was a bust, but luckily the members of FatBack Circus can think on their toes. What followed was one of the best impromptu jam sessions I have ever seen, or at least seen in an almost pitch black venue.
The drummer from Nothing More and a drummer from the audience began creating beats reminiscent of tribal drum circles. Alex Sutherlain, an electrical engineering major and saxophone player, and Nathan Campbell, a music composition major and lead vocalist/guitar player for FatBack Circus, accompanied the drummers with a mix that could be best described as Funk/Ska/Jazz.
The audience crowded around the trio, providing a minute amount of lighting as they photographed the musicians, who played until the show was officially cancelled, an hour later.
The amazing skills of the musicians were demonstrated as they played in total darkness.
When Sutherlain and Campbell are not taking part in impromptu jam sessions, they perform with Garret Ross, Dalton Chamblee, Aaron Campbell and Amber Rivera in FatBack Circus. Hailing from Stillwater, Oklahoma ,the band went through different line-up changes and a minor name change–they added “Circus” to the name–and moved to San Antonio in 2001.
FatBack Circus gains inspiration for their music from an eclectic range of influences such as Tom Waits, Led Zeppelin, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and The Postal Service.
In their latest release, “The Elephant King,” the listener can expect to find a genius mix of everything from funk and jazz to rock metal. “Elephant King” is never boring and carries consistent technical variation between songs covered in drums.
It’s refreshing to see a band that isn’t following the “scream-til-the-audience’s-ears bleed-and-tight-pants-rip” genre that seems to fill “scene” San Antonio. Expect for FatBack Circus to take over the music scene in their genre of unique jazz, rock and funk fusion.
Fatback Circus performance set
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Fatback Circus performance set Jon Kocan Stillwater NewsPress The band composed of Stillwater l...Fatback Circus performance set
The band composed of Stillwater locals, Fatback Circus, will be performing at Mike’s College Bar on Saturday, Oct.14.
The show will start at 9:30 p.m. and Fatback Circus will play through 11:30 p.m. This is not the first time the members of the band have played at Mike’s.
The band will feature Stillwater natives Aaron Campbell on guitar and vocals, Nathan Campbell on vocals and guitar, Dalton Chamblee on bass and Garrett Ross on drums and vocals. Aaron Campbell said he has played approximately four shows at Mike’s but it has been almost two years since he or the others have played in Stillwater.
After Stillwater the band settled in San Antonio and now is based in Austin, Texas. They have toured close to home recently, playing a show Sept. 14, at the OU campus as part of a free outdoor concert the University puts on for the students.
“We went over really well,” Campbell said.
Fatback Circus opened for Apollo Sunshine at the show. The Norman band, Ghost’s of Monkshood, will open for them the 14th. Ghost’s of Monkshood also played at OU’s campus on September 14.
The band has begun to tour in support of their new album ‘The Elephant King’. According to Campbell, they have a variety of sounds from rock and jazz to bluegrass and heavy metal.
Joining the band for the album and recent touring are two new horn players. Alex Sutherlin is playing saxophone and Amber Rivera is now playing trumpet for Fatback Circus.
‘The Elephant King’ was released on September 22. Campbell said they have had good reaction and have new fans in Austin. He said the new CD has also been selling well.
The band is also working on a video with award winning OU film student, Taylor Bolding, for the song ‘Jessica’.
Funk It Up!
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Fatback Circus, St. James Infirmary, Jumping Monks leads the pack in funk concert By: Tarin Smith...Fatback Circus, St. James Infirmary, Jumping Monks leads the pack in funk concert
By: Tarin Smith
Issue date: 4/10/07
An exhilarating musical experience rattled the walls of Jack's Patio Bar and Grill on Friday night. St. James Infirmary, Jumping Monks and Fatback Circus displayed a unique modern sound uncommon in San Antonio.
The final band, Fatback Circus, wowed the crowd with Nathan Campbell's breath-taking and stunning vocals. The band cut through the noise of the anticipating crowd with blaring trumpet, engaging and exciting the audience into a big band sound.
Fatback Circus had extraordinary musical execution-every instrument sound meshed perfectly for a superior musical experience. The band's happy, catchy music invited every audience member to stand and get into the music.
With two guitarists and an extraordinarily talented bassist, Fatback's ensemble was something to marvel. The trio kept stringing out one amazing, guitar riff after another.
The saxophone and trumpet players added a juicy funk sound, setting the band apart from the other bands.
The band's harmonies add depth to their vocal sound.
"We are on a song-by-song basis. We used to be a funk band with a different singer, and when we switched singers, an explosion of different sounds and ideas we hadn't done before happened," Campbell said.
The band's concept is not based on the music as a whole, but on instead individual songs.
"Each song is its own idea. We take one idea for each song and exaggerate it," he said.
The band recently made a music video for their song "Jessica" and is available for viewing on myspace.com/fatback circus and YouTube.
"There is a style of music that is out there, and it is getting common for bands to explore different sounds so much that each song sounds like a different band. It's a good style," Campbell said.
Before They Were Famous: Fatback Circus
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Even if your brother isn't in this band, rest assured that someone's brother is. Nathan and Aaron Ca...Even if your brother isn't in this band, rest assured that someone's brother is. Nathan and Aaron Campbell, twins and rock cohorts, along with Dalton Chamblee and Garrett Ross, are Fatback Circus. Still spitting fire from winning a spot on the Vans Warped Tour, the group is achingly close to being picked up by a major record label. The four-piece menagerie of rock, jazz, funk and spunk was born in the sleepy town of Stillwater, Oklahoma, but Austin is now their home.
Their sound could be lumped into many genres, but we like to call them avant-garde bluegrass. Fatback Circus' stage personality is even kookier than their sound, as they stray against writing songs that are "normal." Fatback's earlier work is full of bouncy love songs that layer jazzy "mmm-tah" bass lines with Nathan's soaring vocals, but the band's latest album, Dark World, is dark and redeeming. They tend to group a cornucopia of varying songs onto one disc, much like a Ween album. Other major influences include Primus, Tom Waits, Smashing Pumpkins and Elliott Smith.
Why they do it:
Fatback believes music can't be explained through science and technical terms. "[Music] may come from a long line of genetic mating calls, like birds. We practice our instruments and write our own songs because music is the purest form of truth and feelings," Aaron said. Harping on originality, they have true potential to grasp a different kind of audience—one that craves intimacy, vulnerability and sincerity. "Experimenting is the only way to truly find something new. Expressing your feelings through music, even if no one else gets it. A good rule to live by when writing a song is to satisfy yourself. If you can completely satisfy yourself and complete a vision, other people will see that. They will hear the truthfulness of the music."
Jason Harrison/Drinking the Ink
Fatback Circus w/ Killing Industry and Black Magic Kit
Thursday, July 30
Flamingo Cantina (515 E. 6th St.)
What's in store for the future:
They're working on a new music video, developing an in-house recording studio to record their new album, and have lots of upcoming shows at the likes of Emos and Antone's. They'll take the stage this Thursday at Flamingo Cantina, along with openers Killing Industry and Black Magic Kit. Live shows always bring the Fatback entourage, a group of girls that comes to pretty much every single show they play, no matter the venue or night of the week. They just can't get enough megaphone blaring noise rock, wholesome dancing and general good time-having.
"Back in Love" - The sultry tune brings out the band's jazzier side with a stair stepping recollection of the feelings one gets when rekindling a former love. We've all been there, right?
"Jessica" - The sunny, bellowing intro is killer—kind of like the music in "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou"—full of warm vocal layering.
CD Review Fatback Circus - Fatback Circus
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Austin based 4 piece Fatback Circus releases their fourth CD. Not sure what year it was released bec...Austin based 4 piece Fatback Circus releases their fourth CD. Not sure what year it was released because there is no date anywhere on the actual CD packaging. Band members include Nathan Campbell (Vocals & Guitar) Aaron Campbell (guitar) Dalton Chamblee (Bass) Garrett Ross (Drums)
The CD kicks things off with “Angell-ess” a dynamic intro piece that serves up driving rock rhythm, infectious guitar ambiance & Progressive Rock type flair. Track 2 “Dust Bowl Blues” shifts gears a bit with a steady flowing rock vibe against ambient guitar rhythms, & hypnotic vocal groove from Campbell. This coupled with the amazing peak & valley effect of the song coupled with mesmerizing lyrical content makes for an interesting musical statement. Track 3 “Baby Don’t Leave Me” serves up naked acoustic ditty against well placed percussive accents, eventually lending itself into an impressive ballad that flows & ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. Right from the start you will notice rich progressive rock textures overflowing everywhere, full of passion, variety, & strong melodic structure. The songs themselves are addictive, & packed full of interesting lyrical content & subject matter. The music is rather hard to pigeonhole. I can hear many different musical soundscapes reminiscent of classic psychedelic jam band acts such as Led Zeppelin, Cream, & even Grateful Dead but with a modern sound reminiscent of Maroon 5 & even Radiohead. The music itself is an impressive blend of alternative, acoustic, & alternative rock but with a psychedelic flair. What I like most about the music is Nathan Campbell’s voice & Aaron Campbell’s solo guitar work. From upbeat “Baby Don’t Leave Me” The CD ends with “Robe of Gold” a perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber. From hypnotic “Woman” to grooving “Jesus Marie” & Let It Go” to heartfelt “Need You” & “This guitar” this CD has something for just about everyone.
I usually dedicate this paragraph to weaknesses. I don’t have much to report. I will say all songs over 4 minutes in length tend to drag you to the finish line. In classic jam band form some of the intro & outros are a bit winded in an extend play format. Once again I’m not sure what year this CD was released because there is no date anywhere on the CD package. Very unorthodox.
Fatback Circus is an impressive musical production from top to bottom. The music is clean, goes down smooth, & the messages are highly creative & are sung from a passionate perspective. It’s strong suit – the amazing creative genius of Nathan Campbell. He possesses enough musical talent & songwriting prowess to be dangerous. The musicianship of this 4 piece is first rate, the songs are short and sweet musical experiences. Each one possessing a unique personality, flair, and signature groove. So if you like music that combines A 70’s Psychedelic sound with modern day & Alternative Rock – Fatback Circus belongs in your hands right now.
- 45 min to 2 hours
- New material from upcoming album(s)
- a select few cover songs
- optional jam songs
There are no upcoming dates at this time.