Sarcotics Rocks Lafayette
Super group Sarcotics brings forceful sounds to Acadiana and beyond
The Sarcotics describe themselves as “a bunch of dads who have been woodshedding for a long time and love getting to play loud music.”
Like the sound of a tree falling in the woods, Louisiana music generally needs a crowd in order to exist. What is music when no one is around to dance to it? But for the last four years, the members of offbeat Lafayette guitar rock band, Sarcotics, played music exclusively for each other. They’ve only recently begun sharing their work with the world.
“We really enjoy just getting together and hearing the sounds we can make, and challenging each other in the room,” says singer and guitarist Ronnie Chauvin, who for many years fronted the band Frigg A-Go-Go. He now “plants the seeds” for most of Sarcotics’ forceful, howling rock n’ roll songs.
Chauvin says he has two reasons for keeping the new band in the shed for so long. The first was that he wanted to focus not on self-promotion and playing gigs, but strictly on building, “a mountain of sound so high that we can see the future from the top of it.”
The second reason Sarcotics have stayed off of stage, says Chauvin: “I just got tired with all the baloney involved with [booking gigs].”
A Louisiana/Alabama supergroup of sorts — featuring members of Frigg plus Gulf Coast bands the Quadrajets and Rare Avis — Sarcotics know full well the toil that traditionally goes into making a functioning band — and they want none of it.
“We are all familiar with playing shows and touring to promote ourselves,” says Chauvin, sounding exhausted by the mere idea of it. Where so much Louisiana music aims to please those who paid the door charge, Chauvin says, “Playing music is not necessarily for other people, it’s for something you have inside yourself. We are more interested in just exploring the sonic possibilities between us.”
Sarcotics bassist John “Pudd” Sharp, originally from Alabama, describes his newest band as having, “punk rock ideas.” He cops to the band members’ shared loved of the proto angular (or, jagged and sharp, rather than smooth style) guitar rock band, Television.
“Television was a bunch of people doing some exploration, instead of just the blues thing that rock n’ roll is usually about,” says Pudd. “Everything else was on the table, and that’s similar to our approach.”
But Sarcotics possess a higher level of dynamics than most bands of their ilk, switching effortlessly from upbeat hard rock (but with no guitar distortion), to some strange strain of R&B.
“I wouldn’t say our delivery is angry — forceful might be a good way to put it,” says Pudd. “But then we like to play different kinds of music, so it will go from a lullaby — we literally wrote a lullaby, with words Ronnie’s daughter told him when she was going to sleep one night — to songs that are a lot more outraged.”
Much of that dynamic is fueled by Chauvin, whose onstage persona, as Pudd describes it, is, “In your face. Very energetic. His real personality is surprisingly laid back but he’s intense onstage. It’s like he’s two different people.”
Chauvin, who grew up in Lafayette, remembers when the city’s music scene harbored no bands like Sarcotics.
“When I was young going to see music, it was in clubs in like, Breaux Bridge, and all the lyrics were in French — Sunny Landsite on stage in front, and guys playing Bourré in the back,” says Chauvin. “Grant Street had shows that were pretty cool, but before the downtown streetscape…it wasn’t a very hot area to be in. Then they had a club on Jefferson, called Metropolis,” he says, remembering the club where Lafayette rock bands cut their teeth in the ‘90s. “Metropolis brought in a lot of touring acts, as they were going between [New Orleans] and Houston, and that brought local kids access to bands they wouldn’t have otherwise seen.”
This year, Sickbay Records accidentally turned Sarcotics into a real band, by asking the group to record some songs for a new compilation album.
“All we had were these jams we’d be playing for years,” says Pudd. “And that Sickbay compilation was the reason we turned our jams into actual songs. We needed to do some editing and distill all our material into something that could be placed onto a tape — or, a hard drive or whatever people do these days.”
The aforementioned compilation got the band two Lafayette shows, one for crowds at Jefferson Street Pub this past September, the latter this year at the eclectic café Artmosphere.
Though born in the new millennium, Sarcotics are sort of a throwback to the ‘90s Gulfcoast scene. As they make their live debut, they find themselves in a new world where odd but soulful rock bands like themselves are not cordoned off from the rest of the music scene.
But that doesn’t mean Sarcotics is ready to take up the schedule of a regular band.
“This is what we do instead of play cards,” says Pudd. “We’re a bunch of dads who’ve been woodshedding for a long time and love getting to play loud music. We’ve been enjoying family life.”
Catch These Acts in February and March
Fri., Feb. 2
Modern day Acadiana seems as musically diverse as it is rich: This young singer expresses his passionate feelings in both Spanish and English; this time, at El Paso Mexican Grill’s Ambassador Caffery location. 3910 Ambassador Caffery Parkway. Lafayette. 337-524-1824
Wed., Feb. 7
That star on stage is you at the Blue Moon Saloon’s regular Cajun Jam night, where you’ll rub shoulders (and fiddle bows) with the more established Cajun music stars who frequent this get-down. 215 E Convent St. Lafayette. 337-234-2422
Fri., March 9
This accordion player and member of the Benoit Family Cajun dance band busts away to play solo at club Pont Breaux each and every single Friday from here to eternity. 325 W Mills Ave. Breaux Bridge. 337-332-4648