Dig Baton Rouge

Anteek Sound: Guitarist talks band’s history

Guitarist and vocalist for the Anteeks Joey Holaway has been part of the Baton Rouge cover band for about 11 years. With the tough balance of having a band and a day job, he’s decided to retire from the band and put more focus on “leisurely activities” and his other band, Joey & The Jumper Cables. We caught up with Holaway via email about his time with the Anteeks.

How did you come up with the name “The Anteeks?”
Well, when the band was started 11 years ago, we of course needed a name. The bass player at the time Darren Farthing and I lived in a house on the outskirts of Port Allen. One night, on the way to The Caterie no doubt, we passed at least four billboards for Antique shops. I wanted to name the band “The (somethings)” and that is what stuck. We used that spelling to look cool or something, but mostly it has confused club owners for the past decade.
The Anteeks have been around since 2005. How has the band evolved in the last 11 years?
The original five members did not last long. Some guys didn’t want to play very often and went on their happy way. Musically we have always stuck to our guns and shied away from learning your typical cover band tunes. For instance, I have no idea how to play ‘Jesse’s Girl,’ ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ or ‘Mustang Sally.’ We have probably had over 30 different players in the group at some point or another. Some key factors in our evolution as a band include Jason Martin joining on bass originally and then moving to guitar. He brought a lot of talent and know-how to the table. Picking up Justin McCain along the way pushed us even further into a more polished and successful act, and then bringing on Hana Hart a few years back has completely changed the kind of gigs we can get having an extremely talented female lead on board. I have been extremely lucky when it comes to the talent around me, because without any of the great players that have come and gone we would not be where we are today.
How do you balance being a wedding band and a stand-alone act?
I think the wedding band gig is changing. DJs are cheaper and can play just about anything you want at the drop of a WiFi password, so for a couple to hire a band I truly think they are looking to bring the energy and versatility of a bar band to their wedding reception. Like I said before, we have no clue how to play ‘Brown Eyed Girl’, but we do mix up a ton of cool tunes that you would never consider hearing a band play at a wedding. Sometimes it’s ‘Jambalaya’ and then other times it might be ‘Whole Lotta Love.’ I think we are getting hired for weddings because we are a stand alone act and not the typical wedding band. Of course we dress the part when called upon, and as far as I know, we have a 100% marital success rate for all the weddings we have played thus far.
What band are you obsessed with right now and why?
Chris Stapleton. End of discussion. I am a big country music fan, but not the garbage that has been polluting our airwaves the past few years. He finally recorded an album after writing hits for so many ‘mainstream’ artists and the record is mind blowing. I saw him live in New Orleans a month or so ago and it was an incredible show. His vocal abilities range from soulful to twang, and the harmonies he does with his wife give me chill bumps.
Are you working on any new projects?
Hana and I do a lot of acoustic duo shows under the name ‘Bonnie & Clyde,’ and I also have a country band called ‘Joey & The Jumper Cables’ that I plan on putting some more time into soon. It’s a really fun gig, I get to play songs I love, with some great musicians, and the crowd response we have been getting has been overall encouraging. In the Jumper Cables, I move to the lead singer position and Hana moves to the harmony singer slot. You never know what we may do live, our big thing has been ‘90s country songs that you forgot you loved. Be on the lookout for more dates soon.
How do you balance your band and your day job?
Probably the toughest question so far. And it is extremely difficult. I have a strict ‘no going out on work-nights’ policy, and I also try and just play the weekend when possible. It is getting tougher and tougher, so with that being said, I would like to formally announce my retirement from The Anteeks. There is a plan in the works to have a permanent fill in take my place so I can focus more on my day job, and enjoy a little time off. Within the next few months, I will be giving up my spot and pursuing some more leisurely activities, along with putting some more effort into the Jumper Cables. You heard it here first!
If you had to describe your music to someone who’d never heard it, what would you say?
We are a rock band, with three lead singers and two lead guitar players. We can do anything from Alicia Keys to George Jones.
What’s your favorite cover to play onstage?
Right now we do a trio of songs in a row of ‘Royals’ by Lorde, ‘Fishin’ in the Dark’ by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and right into ‘Shine’ by Collective Soul. Those are a fun little run to do. But if I had to choose the one song I love playing the most right now it would be ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ by The Rolling Stones.
Do you guys make your own music in addition to playing covers?
We have been writing recently, and one of my goals post retirement is to finish writing a handful of tunes and put them on an album. I don’t care if it goes platinum worldwide or plastic in Pensacola, it is just something I want to do so I can have it forever and say ‘I did it.’ It will be a country record with a few covers (after all, we are a cover band). The current working title of the band that will record is ‘A Wayward Heart.’ I hope to have more information on that before the end of the year! Thanks!

Photo courtesy of Drew Reilley.

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