If you were wondering, hip-hop/rock group Vonnegutt are named after the late author of such classics as Slaughterhouse-Five and Cat’s Cradle.
“He’s my favorite author,” Kyle Lucas, lead lyricist of Vonnegutt, said when I caught up with him during Austin City Limits. Naming the band after the author was a move that drew negative responses several years ago when Kurt Vonnegut passed away.
“It was just a cool name and way of honoring him, but people blew it out of proportion,” Lucas said as he reflected on the event. “But, Vonnegut’s daughter reached out to us and gave us her support.”
It’s saying a lot when a band as young as Vonnegutt is already drumming up that much talk and controversy. The band, which initially formed three years ago, consists of lyricist Kyle Lucas, singer and guitarist Neil Garrard, Patrick Postlewalt on bass, and Taylor White on drums.
Founding band members Lucas and Garrard were already musicians in their own right before they formed Vonnegutt. Lucas, who had started rapping and writing songs in the third grade, and began recording at 15, was building his reputation as a solo artist, releasing mixtapes and performing. Through an ad, he caught the attention of Gerrard, who, at the time, had already worked with big names such as Kelly Rowland and Pastor Troy.
“Vonnegutt comes together because we want to have fun and make the catchiest songs,” Lucas said as he talked about the group’s eclectic tastes and pursuits.
When the members of Vonnegutt come together, they generate a high energy fusion of rock and hip-hop that is at once catchy and highly danceable. However, the content of their songs come from real-life, and sometimes dark, experiences. Lucas wrote the single “Ex Girlfriends Are Stupid” during a time when he was going through a difficult break up with a girlfriend of five years.
“I had been with this girl for five years and I thought that I was gonna marry her.” Lucas said. “I remember not being able to eat and driving around in my car aimlessly. I already had all these rhymes I had written about the situation and I was finally like, let’s put this in a song.”
Indeed, if you stop dancing long enough to listen to the lyrics, you can hear the heartbreak that flows just beneath the sunny guitar riffs and driving hip-hop beats. Perhaps it was the depth and substance of Vonnegutt’s music that caught the attention of Big Boi, one half of the legendary Atlanta group Outkast, who signed the group to his Purple Ribbon Entertainment record label back in 2008.