The heart and soul of Fruit Bats, lead-man Eric D. Johnson has got a couple of announcements to make this year. It might add up to his to-do list, but fans couldn't be happier after the leader of the Chicago native band announced a North American trek. Dormant since 2011, when Fruit Bats released their fifth album “Tripper”, the band is finally wide awake. The news spread after Johnson shared the photo of a handwritten letter on Instagram, declaring a new album is just around the corner. Those with a good memory might remember Johnson putting the group on ice since it was “time to change”. Seems like 2015 is the perfect time to do just that. Nevertheless it's too early to comment and those who've got a bunch of Fruit Bats tickets in their pockets might well be in better position to tell if they've changed for the good. Till then, wait for the Fruit Bats to hit the road.
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Autumn Gets Rocked
Gone are the days when Johnson's name would be followed by parentheses, reminding everyone of his link with the long-time-not-seen band Fruit Bats. The band is now making an inspirational comeback with a lot more than just a set of performances. The folk-rock Bats have recently added an Autumn Tour, a new album in 2016 and a follow-up tour for the album to their checklists, sending a wave of delight among fans. The fall tour is collaboration with headliners My Morning Jacket, with whom the band will perform on selected dates throughout October. MMJ is currently on a major world tour and will feature Fruit Bats as a special guest performer on 10 dates in the US. The opening concert is at the Santa Barbara Bowl on October 11 at Santa Barbara followed by performances at Dallas, Austin, San Diego, Los Angeles, Phoenix and San Francisco. The brief stint will wrap up at Dallas' Verizon Theatre on October 24.
Conception and Success
Initially a low-profile project by Eric D. Johnson, Fruit Bats struggled for their identity as a band. The name, one of the many monikers scribbled on the trilling cassette tapes, stuck with the project even when there was no new music or gigs. It wasn't until Johnson struck a partnership with Perishable Records and the “Califone” band mates that Fruit Bats were catapulted to mainstream media. After a couple of years with an unstable crew, Johnson finally solidified the lineup with Christopher Sherman, Sam Wagster, Graeme Gibson and Ron Lewis. In 2002, the troupe signed with Sub Pop records and released four commercially successful albums, followed by a massive tour of the world. Today Fruit Bats have snagged popular support, cultivating a legion of diehard fans where ever they go.
One reason for the long band hiatuses were the solo careers of the band members. Eric Johnson had been working with a number of other bands as a musician including “Califone”, “I Rowboat” and “The Shins”, where Johnson played as a guitarist. During these years, early to mid-2000s, the members had got together and released “Echolocation”, their debut studio album. 2003 came with a sophomore titled “Mouthfuls” with the famous single “When U Love Somebody”. The song became widely popular and was also featured in the 2010 movie “Youth in Revolt”. Following the release of “Spelled in Bones” in 2005, Fruit Bats released the album “The Ruminant Band”, a complete breakaway from their traditional style of music. Johnson only wrote songs and did the vocal arrangements while everything else was done by the rest of the members, including vocals. The five-piece is reuniting again to work on an album that is expected to be emblematic of their bootgazer and rustic pop tunes, genres that they have most commonly been linked with. Here's a chance to check out how well the Fruit Bats have worked out so don't forget to go when they hit the stage in your city.