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MUSIC

Ready to go far, Don’t Stop Please gains speed

By JACK W. HILL SPECIAL TO THE DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE

This article was published December 13, 2012 at 3:22 a.m.

dont-stop-please

Don’t Stop Please

— When it comes to band names, Don’t Stop Please is one of those monikers that seem to cry out for punctuation. But don’t expect any periods, commas, question marks or exclamation points, as Don’t Stop Please is happy with its name and invites its fans to interpret the name as they so desire. Punctuation need not apply.

“We didn’t really name the band,” says band member Anna Horton, the sole female among five males. “There was a long list of suggested names, and this was drawn, blindfolded.”

Horton’s band mates are Nick Caffrey on bass, trombone and keyboards; Robert Gaiser on guitar, bass and keyboards; Joel Ludford on vocals, guitar, keyboards, drums and trumpet; Will King on drums, guitar and vocals; and William Krzeszinski on vocals, keyboards, banjo, guitar and bass. King is from Fort Smith and the other four men are from Conway, friends who grew up together. Horton, who does vocals and plays percussion, saxophone and ukulele, is a Berryville native.

“I met the guys through some mutual friends,” Horton says. “All but one of us were students at the University of Central Arkansas. All six of us come from different backgrounds, and it’s so hard to put us into one genre, although our shared influences include The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Talking Heads, Radiohead, Bjork and The Dirty Projectors.

“This is all we do now; we’re a small business. We book shows and that’s how we pay our bills.”

Formed in 2009, the band, whose sound is a mix of folk, rock, jazz and soul, is serious about its goals, having become a registered LLC corporation. Horton — whose degree from UCA was in psychology, with a minor in Spanish — takes care of the booking and management, although she is hoping to eventually pass the jobs off to someone, assuming the band finds someone deemed suitable and trustworthy.

During performances, band members frequently swap instruments between songs, as well as lead vocals, much as one of their role models, The Band, once did.

“We’re big admirers of The Band and Levon Helm,” Horton says. “We mainly do our own songs, but among the few covers that we do are ‘Ophelia’ and ‘Up on Cripple Creek,’ two songs by The Band. Plus we sometimes do Neil Young’s ‘Vampire Blues’ and The Rolling Stones’ ‘Down Home Girl.’

Earlier this year, Don’t Stop Please was featured in digital magazine Paste on a list, “12 Arkansas Bands You Should Listen to Now” just before the band released a sixsong EP, Crowded Car, consisting of original songs and produced by Jack Gaiser, the father of band member Robert Gaiser. The elder Gaiser is a professor of physics at UCA, a luthier and the owner of an analog recording machine, which came in handy during the making of the EP. There was an earlier threesong EP, Brandy Swandlamp, released in 2011. In November, the band was shown in an episode of AETN Presents, on which new songs “Backyard Dogs,” “Missed Echo” and “Luca” were performed, along with “Tired & Lonely,” a song from Crowded Car.

The band is at work on a full-length album of 11 original songs, which will be selftitled and released in February, Horton says.

“We’re all 21st-century kids, and since nowadays it’s possible to create studioquality albums in your own home, that’s what we hope to do, to control what we make, and produce it ourselves,” Horton says. “We all want to positively affect the world with our music, creating something sustainable and beautiful.”

The six musicians are also involved in spinoff bands, Horton says. She, Ludford and Caffrey play as a threepiece jazz trio, while Gaiser, King and Krzeszinski play as Comfortable Brother, a rock ’n’ roll band.

The band is planning to move from Conway to Fayetteville next year.

“We’re going to have that as our home base because it’s a really great town,” Horton says, “where music is really appreciated and there’s lots of other musicians we can interact with. With the release of the new album, we plan to really get serious about touring, with shows in California and Chicago and wherever else we can get to.”

Moving to Northwest Arkansas and touring beyond Arkansas’ border states will mean fewer shows in central Arkansas, Horton admits, but notes that the band will play in Hot Springs at Maxine’s on Jan. 5.

“We’ll probably only play in Little Rock every two or three months after we move,” she says. “We hope our fans will get on our e-mail list and keep up with us that way.”

More information is available at dontstopplease.com.

Don’t Stop Please

Opening act: Stiff Necked Fools 9 p.m. Saturday, Stickyz Rock ’n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 107 River Market Ave., Little Rock Tickets: $6

Weekend, Pages 35 on 12/13/2012

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