When we first stumbled on the Trailer Park Travoltas
in September, they were playing to a crowd of stage parents, jugglers and JonBenét wannabes at an Eckert's Family Fun Farm talent show in Millstadt, Illinois. Inauspicious beginnings, to be sure, but the newly formed band wanted to work out the kinks before a forgiving audience. And kinky it was -- in the best and worst senses of the word. Raw as hell, slightly off-key and musically ambitious, John Clements -- the band's lanky, affably goofy frontman -- led the twangy five-piece through "I've Changed" off the Travolta's Look Out for Love
debut EP, an ambitious, jam-friendly country rock opus that owes a debt to the Black Crowes, Neil Young, Lynrd Skynyrd and, interestingly, Built to Spill.
A mere four months later, the Travoltas are fast becoming one of the hardest-working bands on the Belleville/St. Louis boots-and-bourbon circuit. Scrawny, mustachioed drummer Kenny Williamson has long maintained that the Travoltas are just in it for the joy. After all, they've got families and jobs to tend to when the sun comes up, and, like countless other bands, they've all had their respective cracks at rock stardom. Funny thing is, with Chris "Mr. Kate Hudson" Robinson's Crowes having gone AWOL for the foreseeable future, there's a big, fat void in the genre that is perhaps best described as "nit-grit rock." So, Kenny, take heed: Big things happen when you least expect them to.