Introducing: Sunflower Fox & the Chicken Leg

There are three elements missing in society: Olympia beer, shag carpeting you can’t possibly vacuum, and unpasteurized rock and roll. Minneapolis-based Sunflower Fox and the Chicken Leg believe this is contributing to the fall of mankind and intend to change this. They have made it their mission to visit as many iconic studios in this great land as possible to bring back the magic of real studio recordings. They want to bring back the glory of the 1970s rock in the most exciting way possible. It’s the unholy love child that every rock fan has been waiting for, and vocalist Kaity Heart was on hand to tell the story of Sunflower Fox & the Chicken Leg

What are the origins of the band, and how long have Sunflower Fox & the Chicken Leg been playing together?

Kaity Heart – vocals, James Gross – rhythm guitar, Mike Schmidt – lead guitar, Al Berg – keys, Kyle Primus – drums, Craig Holets – bass

We’re all professional session players and jobbers, so we had a lot of time during the pandemic to write since our gigs were cancelled! It was rough not making any money, but we got a band out of the deal. Kaity asked James (who have been very close if not best friends for the better part of 15 years) if he was interested in just helping her put together a writing project with some other displaced, talented local musicians, and Sunflower was essentially born.

What should people expect when they check the band out? How would you describe Sunflower Fox & the Chicken Leg?

We’re doing this live. We are all in a room together and don’t do overdubs unless we have to. We’re trying to bring back the magic that happened in these iconic studios. It’s one thing to record in our basements (where honestly, we totally could, the technology is there) but it’s a whole other thing to go to another part of the country and be in the same space as Kansas/Stevie Wonder (Studio in the Country) or Nirvana/Live (Pachyderm Studios) or Sublime/Yeah Yeah Yeahs (Sonic Ranch) and feel that energy. That’s what they did in the 70’s and that’s what we’re doing now.

We describe ourselves as a glorious amalgamation of musical scars and triumphs, rooted in the rock sounds of the 1970s.

How did you feel performing your first gig as a band, and how was it?!

Well, this band has only done one show as technically we started releasing songs in January of 2023. When we first started writing it was 2020/2021 and obviously, there were no shows during that time! However, we did do a big publicity stunt-style show with a bar, two radio stations, and a liquor sponsor where they literally just paid us to drink ’70s drinks until we could barely play. Then we filmed ourselves playing the same song multiple times so you could see how bad it got. It was completely hysterical. The video is up on our YouTube!

The new music scene is bursting at the seams at the minute with fresh talent, in what ways do you feel that a band has to stand out to build a name for themselves?

Have a VERY defined brand and a business plan. You really need to be the whole package now!

What are you working on at the minute that people can check out?

We just came out with a music video for our latest release ‘Shadow Girl’ – check it out!

In terms of a similar audience, which band out there at the minute do you feel Sunflower Fox & the Chicken Leg would be best suited to open for?

Anyone who likes rock from the 1970’s or even the 80’s is gonna appreciate what we’re doing. Especially if they like Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, or Heart.

Excluding yourself, which new band would you like to see break out and become a success?

We were just in LA talking to some industry folks and ended up meeting a band that we saw very eye to eye with named The Black Coast out of Philly. It’s like if the White Stripes were way heavier and more raw. So if it doesn’t happen for us, we want it to happen to them, or people like them. People that work hard and believe in this more raw style of rock and roll.

What are your own first musical memories? And what was the lightbulb moment that made you go “I want to do that”?

Apparently, when I was a kid I just constantly sang all the time, I just couldn’t stop. Throughout my whole life, it’s been that way. I feel like if you took music away from me it would be like severing a limb. I certainly had that feeling during the pandemic, I felt like I was going to go crazy!

What was the last gig that you attended as a fan?

Rolling Stones, it’s hard as a working musician to get to see anyone honestly!! But the Rolling Stones just killed it. I swear Keith and Mick are literally immortal. They will never die.

What current social issue are you particularly passionate about?

I have a big issue with social media – it’s a damn nightmarish hellscape. No one needs to be this connected all the damn time. We should not have to be on display all day every day….I mean, the complexes all these young kids are getting because they can’t look like a filter…or have 100k followers…like what!? That’s so sad. I just want to write music and have people hear it. I will die on this hill. If you look at a lot of the bands in the 1970s…they weren’t necessarily the best-looking crew but DAMNIT they were so, so talented it was unreal. It was about talent….not about followers or the perfect body.

The album that you have in your album collection/Spotify playlist that would surprise most people?

Oh, I’m a huge fan of trashy pop music. ‘Work Bitch’ by Brittney Spears is a personal fav. Same with ‘Candy’ by Mandy Moore. Just anything fun and upbeat to get the day going!

There were some amazing new albums released this year, what would be your album of the year? 

The new Marvellous Three album is SICK. They haven’t released anything in like 20 years, so hearing that is really fun! So I’m gonna go with that!

What does 2024 hold for you?

We are very excited for 2024! Sunflower Fox’s first EP will be coming out around the end of 2023, and we are already planning for the release of another batch of songs throughout 2024. The band has been doing a lot of writing this fall, and we are hoping to get back into the studio again in early 2024!

How active are you on social media and where can people connect with you?

We’re very active! We all take turns running each page, so you never know who you’re going to get, check out our link tree for all the things!

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