Fletcher Rockwell
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Fletcher Rockwell

Chicago, Illinois, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | SELF

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2009
Band Americana Rock




"Fletcher Rockwell takes unique path to reach audience"

April 25, 2014 12:45 am • JIM VOREL H&R Staff Writer

DECATUR – For a young band performing originals in a popular genre, starting out never gets any easier. Even truly exceptional work can be overlooked — it's just the reality of the music business.

Bands trying to promote their own work must strike a balance between appealing to new audiences and cultivating old ones, making new friends and monetizing the ones they've already found. The question is often “How much can we afford to give away for free, and how much will it help us if we do?”

For a rock/Americana band like Chicago's Fletcher Rockwell, these are choppy, uncertain waters. Ultimately, they decided to let visitors to their website name their own price for both albums they've produced to date, but the decision was anything but simple.

“We have gone back and forth about what the smart thing would be,” admitted lead vocalist Mike Nutt, who brings the band to Lock, Stock & Barrel in Decatur for the first time Saturday night. “As artists, you want to feel like you're earning with your work, but people aren't always willing to support new work from bands they don't know. For the people who come to our shows, we're happy to say 'name your price' and hope they're kind enough to support us.”

The band had its roots at Eastern Illinois University, where Nutt and his friends spent long nights playing covers in packed bars full of college students. The singer, though, knew he couldn't neglect his own writing forever. Believing that writing his own material provided him with more motivation to practice and play his best, he formed the original band Fletcher Rockwell in Chicago in 2009. They named themselves after the street intersection where the band rented practice space, a warehouse sectioned off into tiny rectangles where other bands would also meet to play, away from the spectre of easily irritated neighbors.

“In the city with everyone living on top of each other, you just can't play music all day without pissing people off,” he said. “So we ended up moving into this room the size of a dorm room to practice. You would hear all the other bands in the warehouse all trying to play over each other, so obviously nobody cared if you were loud.”

In terms of their sound, Fletcher Rockwell certainly projects a Midwestern vibe, with a smattering of rock, folk and country so often lumped today into a larger Americana category. Nutt made comparisons that ranged from Eric Church to Tom Petty, from solitary singer-songwriters to a full-band rock 'n roll aesthetic. In his eyes, that's the essence of Midwestern music, a potluck affair with a little bit of everything.

“As a songwriter I just try to tell a story, not always my own but the best stories I hear every day,” he said. “We have a song on our upcoming album, for instance, about a girl who left her man for another woman, which is a story we heard. Names have been changed of course, but we're just trying to tell the stories that might capture the attention of the average person.”

And if that means giving away some of their music to get the attention of those average people, then so be it. It remains to be seen if the rewards will surpass the risk for Fletcher Rockwell, but they're certainly devoted to making it work as they prepare for the release of their third album.

“Like any band our size, most of our livelihood comes from playing clubs and bars, so we need to do everything we can to pack them in,” he said. “If giving some of our music away and letting people decide what they want to pay helps people get into it, we consider that an investment worth making.” - Herald-Review.com


Still working on that hot first release.



Fletcher Rockwell is an American rock band from Chicago formed in 2009. With a classic heartland sound steeped in the grit and charm of their hometown, the group quickly built a loyal following on the strength of their raucous live shows. The bands new EP, Still Searching, finds them conjuring the spirit of early Tom Petty and the ragged honesty of artists like Wilco and The Replacements. In Scorpion Woman and Too Late, frontman Mike Nutt shares tales of  love won and lost like a young Ryan Adams, and the band hits a sweet spot between No Depression-style rock and 70s AM gold. A full LP is due in 2014, and judging from the bands recent shows and latest release, its highly anticipated.