JoDee Purkeypile

JoDee Purkeypile

 Austin, Texas, USA

Indie/pop/rock out of Austin from the frontman of the critically acclaimed band, The Alice Rose.


When JoDee Purkeypile decided to pursue a solo career after his band, The Alice Rose, ran its course, he saw no need to give himself a mysterious pseudonym or odd nickname. When youre born with a name as distinctive as his, Purkeypile notes, why would you? And with a new album titled MESSENGER (Feb. 19, 2013), it makes sense to let people know just who that messenger really is. Purkeypile also has heritage to consider: Though he was raised in Austin, he was born in Lubbock, where his father, Dee Purkeypile, played organ with Jesse Guitar Taylor, Joe Ely and Jimmie Dale Gilmore. And Dees musician great-grandfather was a master of many instruments.

But dont expect to hear the usual Texas twang in Purkeypiles music. His influences emanate from more distant locales most notably Seattle and the United Kingdom. Captivated early on by both 60s British invaders and grunge, he adapted a sound thats part power pop, part rock riffage and part Beatles-meet-Kinks on a sunny afternoon.

MESSENGER is a natural progression from his first solo album, 2011s OCTOBER HOUSE, and his previous work with The Alice Rose, which included national touring, an NPR Song of the Day (in 2006, for West, a track from their debut, PHONOGRAPHIC MEMORY) and inclusion in Austin Monthly magazines Eight to Watch in 2008 music feature. West also landed in the horror film, Splinter. In 2011, Purkeypiles solo work earned him the distinction of being the only artist featured twice in that magazines annual up-and-comers music feature. That led to official City of Austin recognition of its release date, July 28, 2011, as JoDee Purkeypile Day. International airplay and inclusion on several bloggers year-end best-of lists followed.

Though Purkeypile recorded every part of OCTOBER HOUSE on his own, MESSENGER features contributions by several players, including two former Alice Rose members keyboardist Brendan Rogers and bassist Sean Crooks, Purkeypiles oldest musical cohort besides his dad.

I met Sean at middle school, Purkeypile recalls. He had on a Metallica shirt; he was kind of a geeky guy tryin to look cool. I had long hair, so he was like, Ill go talk to this guy.

Purkeypile already had some musical skill by then; hed been banging away since age 5 on a Ludwig drumkit his father had obtained in trade for a Leslie speaker.

That was my thing till I was about 12, and then I heard Nirvana, he relates. The first day his family got cable, he saw their Heart-Shaped Box video on MTV and knew thats what he wanted to do. He also figured he should pick up a guitar.

It just so happened that Crooks father owned the Steamboat, a legendary Austin music club, and sometimes brought home gear that had been left behind. When Purkeypile saw Crooks garage full of instruments, he realized, This might not be too bad a guy to hook up with.

Theyve been friends and musical collaborators ever since. At first, they played Nirvana covers and easy punk stuff, Purkeypile remembers. Then he got a Beatles song book, learned the chords, started connecting the dots, and began writing his own songs.

His Mersey-meets-Britpop sensibilities translate into a melodic lilt that filters from Peter & Gordon through the Zombies and early Fleetwood Mac to Nick Lowe and Squeeze. With forays into territory inhabited by Free and the Faces. (Apparently, its just coincidence that his illustrator girlfriend is from Market Drayton, in Shropshire, England, and OCTOBER HOUSE is named after a residence there.)

But Purkeypile, who explored acting as a child and has crafted several music videos, is hardly a one-dimensional retro artist. He also cites the impact of performers such as Roky Erickson, the late Richard Manuel of the Band, Mick Jagger, Glenn Danzig and Johnny Marr, and mentions how much he likes artists such as Spoon and Fleet Foxes. And no one whos listened to Purkeypiles work solo, with The Alice Rose or even in his very first band, PigGie Hat would make the mistake of writing him off as derivative.

Im trying to combine the 60s influences I heard growing up with some of the contemporary influences I might pick up on just through the radio or at clubs and shows, he explains. I take bits of everything I hear and try to approach it in my own way.

That would include his subject matter. While OCTOBER HOUSE focused on the struggles of long-distance relationships, MESSENGER, co-produced by Matt Smith at Hot Tracks Studio in Bastrop, outside of Austin, channels a variety of themes. The title tune, in fact, was inspired by the work of horror/sci-fi novelist H.P. Lovecraft. (Im still not sure what its about, confesses Purkeypile, an avid reader and book collector.) Cruel Movements was composed on piano in the aftermath of a strange night out with old friends. I Think Its Alright explores some self-doubts; the harpsichord-laced Storm on the Sea of You and Me, his personal favorite among the album


  • October House  (LP, 2011, self-released)
  • Move Along        (EP, 2012, self-released)
  • Messenger         (LP, 2013, self-released)