“We kinda started in 1996 with this group and went for two-and-a-half years or so, and then we all kind of had kids and stuff and just kind of retired,” 50-year-old bassist Alan Sartain says. “We've been back together for two and a half years.”
The band has been jamming together for a good while without much change in the lineup. Frontman Casey Patrick brings a street, rocker wisdom to the group while keeping the band's distinct sound from changing too much from the olden days.
“I think I have a knack for writing songs, so I take some real rough ideas to these really talented musicians and they turn it into the legitimate rock n' roll,” Patrick says. “I’m really fortunate and grateful for that, but on my own I can never achieve this level of stuff, and I’ve been gifted to playing with these guys for most of my life at 50 years old.”
Eleventeen are not trying to define themselves as one rock genre or another.
“Back in the '90s, we would play the punk rock scene and the next night we’d be playing with death metal bands,” Sartain says. “We just bounced everywhere.”
The first real acknowledgment of the band was when indie-punk record label Dirty Dog Records placed the group’s song “Bong Hit” in a compilation album called Texas Style around 1996.
“It was the first real acknowledgment and real exposure we got,” Patrick says. “I felt we were totally out of place with the theme of the record, but as they put the record together the theme expanded, so I think a lot of people have accepted us from all genres. It's rock n' roll, dude.”
The group describes the songs as music "to drink beer to." They were recently picked up by label Barf Wave Records, which described the group as “Dallas' favorite band full of dads,” which Patrick says is the greatest compliment they’ve ever gotten.
The band will release a CD with two new songs along with their single “Robot” which had been digitally two weeks ago.
“We didn’t sign an official document, but the kids in Barf Wave have been so influential to me and the scene with local hard-working bands, and they wanted to put our stuff out," says the band's drummer, Michael Cheney. "And it's really neat to put us on the label. It’s a nice little family and I think we're all old enough to be all of their dads."
Being on a label is some bucket-list stuff for the group. On Sept. 5, Eleventeen is looking to release two new songs they recorded at Fort Worth’s Cloudland studios with Ricky Williford (War Party, Joe Gorgeous) and mastered by Jordan Richardson (Son of Stan) with a debut party release at Three Links for "Cheney Fest."
“It’s my annual birthday show and I’ve picked the bands for the past five or six years booking the show with the bands I want to play," Cheney says. "But Taylor [Smith] from Loafers has named it Cheney Fest. It’s gonna be a lot of fun and family friendly.”
“The fact that someone can relate to something that I write on whatever level is good enough and is a bonus to me. I hope what I do means something to somebody.” – Casey Patrick
With their music, the group says they’ve been able to narrate the past chapters as local scene guys and they're honored that Barf Wave welcomed the "old-timers" with open arms.
“When I write songs I have an idea lyrically first, then I get a melody, but for me personally I don’t know what my songs are about until months later,” Patrick says. “The fact that someone can relate to something that I write on whatever level is good enough and is a bonus to me. I hope what I do means something to somebody.”
The band enjoys going out to shows together and they say that other North Texas groups such as Ting Tang Tina, Loafers and Sealion have been influential to their sound. Eleventeen's own aspirations are simple; they're happy to play a show once a month and hope to play a rowdy punk house show to knock off the rest of their bucket list.
The group had recorded most of their material in one day — which isn't unusual — before the pandemic lockdowns would've made it impossible.
“In eight hours we'll have four songs done and maybe mixed, but we practice them a lot and get them down," Cheney says. "We don’t mess around. We were lucky we recorded those songs."