By Brian P. Rubin
The band Turn Back Now swung by KFAI to play on “Live From Studio 5!” and were joined by Doug the Thug, Cher Dial, and Dewglass. The five piece band labels itself as “apocalyptic lounge rock’n’roll”—and as strange as that description is, it fits the group’s sound surprisingly well. Turn Back Now is telling a story with its songs, documenting the life of a man with a tenuous grip on reality—who breaks out of an asylum just as the world is ending.
The music complements the lyrics by combining elements alt-rock’s hard edges and lounge’s swingy rhythms. Songs like “Piranha Prima Donna,” “A Lady Always Knows When to Leave,” and “Looking for Pliers” all have vastly different feels to them, but can all definitely and definitively sound like the work of Turn Back Now. The story they’re telling is dark and strange, and they’ve got the musical stylings to back that up.
So who’s in the band? Justin Johnson is on the bass, while Nate Shroud is on guitar—though the two like to switch from song to song. Meanwhile, Rachael Guertin also slings a guitar while providing backup vocals to Claude Culotta’s lead vocals. Matt Jarvi rounds out the group on the drums. And comic artist Colby was also in the studio to talk about the comics he’s putting together based on Turn Back Now’s story.
The band also took a moment to discuss where the name “Turn Back Now” came from. Said lead singer Claude:
“There’s a scene where John Ritter is in the back of a taxi or something, and this balloon floats up next to him, and it slowly rotates to the camera, and it says ‘Turn Back Now.’”
When he saw that there weren’t any bands called that, his group changed its name from Dog Named Sorry to Turn Back Now, and the rest is history.
In addition to their originals, Turn Back Now also gave their renditions of Reba McEntire's "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia," and Nirvana's "In Bloom." You can listen to music from Turn Back Now’s EPs Before Things Get Too Weird and Surrealestate on their artist page on ItMusic. You can also find them on Facebook and ReverbNation. Be sure to check those pages for upcoming dates—and watch out for the end of the world while you’re at it.