The Regrettes to make Toledo debutWritten by Mike Bauman | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Less than a year ago, Adam Scoppa and his Burglar band mate Mehgan Alexandra Hutchinson got together with mutual friend Lizzy Morris to see where things would go musically. Within weeks, they had five songs and a vocal chemistry from which to build.
Less than a year later, The Regrettes has created a buzz around the Columbus area with its soulful, female-fronted sound and is gearing up for the release of its debut record—“Don’t Talk Back”—on Nov. 30.
“It’s totally been blowing my mind—what we’ve been able to accomplish so far and the kind of support that we’ve already got,” Scoppa said.
Featuring Scoppa (drums), Hutchinson (vox/tambourine), Morris (vox/tambourine), James Allison (keys/percussion), Dennis Tanner (guitar) and Daniel Barnes (bass), The Regrettes will make its Toledo debut when it performs at Ottawa Tavern on Oct. 27.
Since forming in November, The Regrettes has captured the attention of Columbus audiences with a throwback sound inspired by the likes of early Stax records, Motown, Aretha Franklin and Etta James, among others. Within months, the band went from playing its first show at Columbus’ Rumba Café in February to headlining the state capital’s annual ComFest in June.
Scoppa said the unique co-female vocalist dynamic between Hutchinson and Morris is what helped The Regrettes gain that type of momentum in such a short period of time.
“I think that’s, like, the most attention-getting aspect of the band,” Scoppa said. “I think that’s how we were able to kind of get so much attention is because you don’t really see that dynamic every day. You barely even see very many female-fronted bands, let alone two harmonizing chicks, you know?”
While The Regrettes’ female dynamic is intriguing, what the group is pulling off as a band isn’t easy, by any means. With a sound that includes elements of soul, rhythm and blues, garage and rock n’ roll, The Regrettes has an old school energy anchored by the vocals of Hutchinson and Morris, neither of whom hogs the mic, according to Scoppa.
“I’m glad that the girls trade off lead singing duties pretty much a hundred percent evenly, like [a] fifty-fifty split,” Scoppa said of Hutchinson and Morris. “They never step on each other’s toes. They’re always working together and bolstering each other’s performances.”
The Regrettes was recently bolstered by its loyal following, too. The band launched a Kickstarter project on Sept. 6 to help raise enough funding to get “Don’t Talk Back” mastered, as well as get the album pressed on 12-inch vinyl for distribution.
Thanks to Kickstarter—an online fundraising tool for creative projects—and its fans, The Regrettes successfully reached its $4,000 Kickstarter goal on Oct. 10, receiving a total of $5,380 from 113 backers toward its debut album.
“I think it’s one of the better things about the current state of music and the internet,” Scoppa said of Kickstarter. “Watching that thing, like, climb every day and seeing how much some people had pledged, it was pretty exhilarating.”
The Regrettes recorded “Don’t Talk Back” in Hilliard, Ohio at Electraplay Studios, an old steel mill barn that Allison helped production partner Tony Stewart convert into an audio and video production studio.
“I think it allowed him to get pretty down in the nitty-gritty with things,” Scoppa said of Allison helping The Regrettes put “Don’t Talk Back” together. “What came out was sometimes [the record] has a real lush, kind of Motown sound, and sometimes there’s a little more snare—something like Aretha Franklin or Etta James—and I think it has a lot of dynamic to it.”
With “Don’t Talk Back” in the bag, The Regrettes is gearing up for a handful of shows in support of its debut record. In addition to playing its first gig in Toledo, the band will also have its first performance at Newport Music Hall in Columbus for its album release show on Nov. 30, where other Ohio notables like The Black Keys and Columbus’ own Red Wanting Blue have performed.
“I think my band and the audience have a mutual understanding as far as the entertainment factor go,” Scoppa said of The Regrettes. “I think people know that they can just let loose at one of our shows, and just kind of hear these sounds and these elements they don’t usually get to hear in a usual rock n’ roll show.”
On Oct. 27, The Regrettes will perform at Ottawa Tavern, 1815 Adams St. For more information, visit otavern.com, or call 419-725-5483.