Kat Brock isn’t even sure what the name of her first band, subbluecollar, means or where it came from.
“I don’t know. That’s the truth,” she says. “I wouldn’t name something new ‘subbluecollar.’”
The important thing for Brock—who is back in Knoxville after a few years in Nashville and New York—is that she loves playing with her old bandmates, Dave Campbell (drums) and Joe McLemore (guitar). After the band broke up, the three moved onto other projects. Brock played in Dixie Dirt and as a solo artist, while McLemore and Campbell formed the Coveralls.
The three reformed their late-’90s outfit, subbluecollar, adding Bryan Garvey of the Coveralls on bass. The group will play at Barley’s Taproom on April 20 and plans on recording an album later this year.
“Honestly, it’s so hard to be in a band, let’s just stick with what’s easy,” she says. “I don’t know what you name a band anymore. Every band has an animal name or some witty phrase. We decided, ‘Just take it easy and have a lot of fun. Who cares what our name is?’”
The reunion is not an endeavor in nostalgia. The group resurrected only four old subbluecollar tunes: “Trackstar,” “Rocketship,” “Anthem,” and “Funny Red Eyes.” The rest of their repertoire is all-new material.
All four find themselves in a different place. Now in their mid- to late-30s, they all have children. And while Brock says the band is still a really tight rock band, they don’t relate to the old songs so much.
“I haven’t listened to them in years. I hadn’t even thought about those songs,” she says. What does she think of her younger songwriting efforts? “I can remember scribbling all this rubbish, this brain rubbish. I used to sit down and write three songs in one night because I didn’t put any thought into them. They’re quirky. They’re rock ’n’ roll.”
“I was singing ‘Rocketship’ the other night and I was like, what does that even mean?” she adds. “I’ll sing it and sing my guts out, but there’s a detachment that I prefer not to have when I’m playing music.”
The songs come with less urgency these days. “I have a completely different process now. It’s not that I’m uninspired, I just don’t have that much to say. I’m not angsty, I’m not sad, I’m not overly happy.”
But the love of performing music is still there as well as a shared history with old friends.
“There’s an element of patience that we’ve developed. You get to where you realize that it’s not going to be perfect the first night you play it,” she says. “There’s a lot more thought going into what we’re doing.”