The land of dead musical dreams, or shall we say karaoke night, which is known for its rivers of Fireball whiskey and secondhand smoke has been the wellspring for many an idea. Those ideas --say, bands -- can often be short-lived or ill-advised, but there's one cluster of loud, fuzzy, mathy, do-what-you-want rockers with such origins who have some real staying power. That cluster is from Denton and it calls itself She Banshee.
"We started, me and Paisley, with a cover of 'Between the Bars.' We videotaped it. We thought it was sweet," says Zachary Snider, who plays in She Banshee with Paisley Parkin, Michael Gerrard and Trent Reeves. "Then we practiced. Paisley showed up and I thought she'd be pissed but she was like, 'Yeah, let's do this. Let's rock 'n' roll.'" And thus a band was born.
The four members were friendly enough and they started writing together, appearing almost out of thin air. They quickly tested the waters and moved on to more writing. "We're sort of all individual artists, we just bring it together. It works naturally. [She Banshee] is like a good conversation we get to have at the same time," says Snider. "I don't think [She Banshee] would work if any one of us wasn't in it," they all agree. They even sort of briefly tried.
When Parkin got too shit-faced at a 4th of July show and couldn't perform, they tried playing the set without her. Losing the only female in the band for the performance made a temporary name change easy. They performed, only once, as He Banshee. It was a one-time thing. "We need her," the band acknowledges now.
Parkin handles most of the vocals. Her voice softens some of the rougher edges of an aggressive sound, a sound that isn't yet boxed in with a solid definition, for better or worse. Listening to the four tracks they have listed currently on SoundCloud, the vocals hit at a noticeably different angle from the rest of the sound. It makes for an interesting vibe. You can't pin it all the way down. That is either because the band hasn't settled into a true identity or because its truest identity isn't compatible with something you can pin down. Time will tell.
Whether by accident or design, settling on a genre is difficult for She Banshee -- so they don't. "[Our genre] is whatever you want it to be. It changes," says Snider. "You don't question Led Zeppelin when they bring out [new instrumentation] and go quieter for a song or two -- not to compare us to Zeppelin." Reeves, being a little more succinct, describes the band's would-be mission statement like this: "You can't tell me what to do."
It's a motto that the band seems to take to heart. In fact, as we meet, Snider -- who at one point goes on a colorful tangent regarding a new band bank account -- is wearing a black velvet dress, which opens frequently as he isn't much of a leg crosser. When two older women pass by and eye his outfit, he's quick to engage them.
"I didn't fuck your husband," Snider quips. One of the ladies, without breaking stride, shoots back, "It'd be okay if you did. Knock yourself out." Snider, startled by the response, simply says, "Oh."
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"I'm glad she rolled with that," Parkin teases afterward. Snider seems to be a bit of a wild card within the band, something that the other members acknowledge. But that's the thing: Everyone covers for everyone else. She Banshee is a high-functioning dysfunctional family. (They're a Denton band, after all, right?)
"It's a role," Parkin says, trying to explain what the band means to her. "It gives [me] a reason to be fucking weird if [I] want to." Then Snider cuts in, lightly gesturing in Parkin's direction: "Blue Moon, you saw me standing alone, without a fear in my heart, without a love of my own,'" he sings. "Or 'L' is for the way you look at me..." The whole band, as though on cue, begin stomping, snapping and tapping their cups along to Snider's impromptu song. They just can't break out of character for very long.
But for all the bipolar ravings and IDGAF attitude, She Banshee presents a familial bond with some dark romanticism, creating a strange brew of deep, angsty intimacy. They have more shows coming up and at the beginning of next year are "going to hit it really fucking hard." Soon enough you'll also be able to snag a copy of the full-length album they've got in the works. "We're ready to get these 10 songs done so we can start recording new stuff," Parkin notes.
For having thrown together the band in such an ad-hoc, spur-of-the-moment fashion, She Banshee are a decidedly tight-knit bunch. Their music inevitably seems a little thrown together too, but that's not a bad thing. For a band like She Banshee, throwing things together is an art form.