Artist Spotlight: Rat Bath

“Country-core” band Rat Bath played their second show ever at Bremen Cafe Sunday night along with indie rockers The Unitaskers and Twin Cities-based garage punk trio Blood Cookie. Overall, the show drew an enthusiastic crowd enthralled by the unique new project.

Rat Bath consists of vocalist Fred Kenyon, guitarist Cora Bequeaith, bassist Phoenix Lehner, drummer Emmett Roehr, and keyboardist Becca Humburg. Recently formed from the ashes of anti-folk duo Tinyhands (Kenyon and Bequeaith), the band played their first show at Harambee DIY space Jesus Camp in December. Kenyon explains the origin.

“Cora and I were talking about starting a My Chemical Romance country cover band, and we were drinking whiskey one night being like “maybe this could just be a band forever.” Then we started the MCR country cover band with the secret intention of making it a real band, and to the rest of the bandmates, we were like “surprise!” and they were cool with it.”

“We’ve been talking about starting a full punk band since before Fred and I moved to Milwaukee,” Bequeaith added. “We talked about starting a surf band too…and so we had the idea to go loud and electric for a long time but never actually made it happen.”

“Our first show was really good,” Roehr said. “I think that we had a lot of energy and even some people that came to that show decided to come see us tonight, so that was some great feedback, and I think any opportunity to get out in front of people and play is great.”

The band’s name comes from Kenyon’s pet rat.

“He smells bad. He needs a bath. It’s also kind of cool because we think about it like “is it bath for a little tiny rat, or is it like a bath full of rats?” and we think it’s pretty metal.”

Their debut single “Trip Today” was released in December and got played on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee.

“That song was actually a really old song from Cora’s solo project,” Kenyon explained. “When we were starting this band I was like “you know that one song that sounds like you’re gonna go see someone but it’s actually about doing drugs…can we do that song?” and now it’s on our Bandcamp.”

Fred talks about what they are working on now.

“We are very close to being done writing an album; we have one song left to finish and it’s like ninety-percent written. We’re not gonna release it till fall but we’re working on playing shows and building a crew of people that like us, and we’ll release singles as we go. Our album is actually a concept album with some heavy themes towards demons and witchcraft and curses…we have a lot of recurring motifs like eating bones, wearing skin, collecting teeth…a song we wrote this week has a line I’m particularly proud of that is “I am a rat from hell sent for your teeth.” We have a song called “Bone Eater,” a song called “The Tale of Dead Old Fred” which is about a demon chasing you and trying to kill you (plus @deadolfred is my Instagram name)…we’re very spooky, you see.”

Rat Bath’s next show is for Kenyon’s birthday at Riverwest Public House on February 28th.

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