Bend hosts Daniel Kirkpatrick

Vintage-sounding rocker visits with band, The Bayonets

By Ben Salmon / The Bulletin / @frequencyblog

If you go

What: Daniel Kirkpatrick & The Bayonets

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday

Cost: Free

Where: McMenamins Old St. Francis School, 700 N.W. Bond St., Bend

Contact: www.mcmenamins .com

When he picks up the phone to chat with The Bulletin, Daniel Kirkpatrick and his band The Bayonets are at the northernmost In-N-Out Burger on the map, in Redding, Calif.

They’re on tour and heading north along a route that will bring them to Bend on Wednesday for a show at McMenamins Old St. Francis School (see “If you go”).

But first, it’s time for a touring-band ritual in Redding.

“We’ll scarf these burgers down and then have a little cry afterward,” Kirkpatrick said, “and then be excited for next time.”

The Bayonets’ West Coast tour is just the beginning of the band’s effort in 2014 to support their new album, “Alibis,” which came out last summer.

“It’ll be a circus this whole year,” Kirkpatrick, 31, said.

But a hectic music-making schedule is preferable to the one Kirkpatrick kept during a four-year hiatus from music, which he took in the late 2000s between the dissolution of his San Diego-based band, As We Speak, and the startup of his current project.

During that stretch, Kirkpatrick worked sales jobs, traveling around the country, meeting with clients and attending trade shows. He sold everything from seasoned skewers (“kebobs that marinate your meats from the inside,” he said) to corporate travel packages.

“I honestly had a lot of fun for a year or two. You get your own apartment and you get to live (a normal life),” Kirkpatrick said. “I came up with a very creative resume to get a good job. I can’t stress that enough, how creative it was.”

While cruising America’s highways, Kirkpatrick had the opportunity to listen to some of his favorite records: Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, old bluesmen. They inspired him, as did each mile of pavement passing below.

“In my mind, I was going, ‘Man, I wish I was traveling around like this in a band. That’s obviously the most fun thing,’” he said.

“And I’d go, ‘You know, if I was going to get back into (music), maybe it’d be a Beatles thing. Or maybe it’d be kind of a Cream, power-trio kind of approach. Or maybe it’d be a Roy Orbison thing.’

“I’d throw around these ideas,” he continued, “and it really took the pressure off.”

That pressure was left over from As We Speak, a band of “intellectual indie-rockers,” according to an old promotional website still hanging around on the Internet. In that band, Kirkpatrick eschewed his love of classic pop and rock in favor of a more esoteric sound, which paid off in radio airplay and other ways, but ultimately led to an epiphany.

“When you’re young and maybe overly ambitious you want to believe that you’re the next Roger Waters or Thom Yorke, and I realized that I’m so far from that,” Kirkpatrick said. “I just write simple ’60s rock songs. That’s what we are.”

And that’s the sound that permeates “Alibis,” a solid 11-track collection of catchy, vintage-sounding rock that recalls Petty’s poppiest moments, Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe and, more contemporarily, “Summerteeth”-era Wilco.

The album is packed wall-to-wall with foot-tappers; the lack of filler is the direct result of Kirkpatrick’s vicious (in a good way) editing philosophy.

“Prior to this album, I don’t know if I’d ever really written a song that I actually enjoy listening to,” he said. “It sounds funny to say, but you get it in your head that you have to write lyrics that appease everybody, and you’re trying to be intricate for the sake of being intricate, and the lyrics are layered with metaphors.

“With this album, I just said, ‘I don’t care how much money we spend on a song, if I don’t want to sing along with it in the car, it’s gone,’” Kirkpatrick said. “That’s it. That’s what we chose to put on the album. We cut everything else.”

The result is a terrific comeback for a guy who has more perspective on the role music plays in his life than he did five or 10 years ago.

“I want to do this for myself. I want to write songs that I connect with and I don’t want to filter anything or have to answer to anybody,” Kirkpatrick said. “I just want to do what I want to do in the purest way that I can and then trust that other people will hear it the way that I hear it.

— Reporter: 541-383-0377, bsalmon@bendbulletin.com