Albany-based rock ’n’ roll band Slick Fitty is still waiting for its big break in the U.S.
But over in Germany, it’s a different story. There, the band has five national tours under its belt, not to mention a 2005 debut album that hit No. 9 on the alternative charts. And if you head to the city of Gronau, Germany, be on the lookout for one of the group’s guitars in the European Rock ’n’ Pop Museum.
“Seriously, we’ve been to parts of Germany that lot of Germans haven’t been to, and that’s no joke,” said guitarist and vocalist Crazy Joe Domingo (the band’s members all go by pseudonyms). “We’ve been as far south as you can get, as far north as you can get, as far east as you can get and as far west. We hit all the corners.”
When: 10 p.m. Saturday
Where: Tess’ Lark Tavern, 453 Madison Ave., Albany
How Much: $5
More Info: 463-9779, www.larktavern.com.
Between 2004, when Slick Fitty was first offered a tour of Germany, Switzerland and Austria, and fall of 2006, when the band last toured Germany, the group and its mix of swing, garage, country and oldies-style rock seemed poised for a major breakthrough.
But things took a turn for the worse when the band’s label, S.A.D., stopped contacting the band. Then a planned opening slot on a tour with Berlin’s BossHoss, which would have brought the group more exposure, fell through.
“If we had spent a lot of money, we probably could have been bigger,” Domingo said. “I’m talking about us being offered to open up for BossHoss, but we had to come up with six grand. That’s how small bands get on big tours [in Germany].”
Luckily, the band was able to recover the rights to its album, “Where the Chrome Shines Bright,” and has continued to play locally and throughout the Northeast. They will perform at Tess’ Lark Tavern, where they’re regulars on the schedule, this Saturday.
The band — Domingo, lead guitarist Million Dollar Bill, bassist Bri-Bri 2 Hammers, drummer Mickey King and saxophonist The J-Man — has also been working up new material for its next album, which they hope to begin recording at the end of summer.
“We have several people in Germany wanting to hear our stuff, book the band again and tour, so they’re kind of waiting for something new,” Bill said.
Despite recent member changes (Bill replaced Scotty Mac, who now plays with his own band The Gold Tops, about a year and a half ago), the band locks in onstage. New songs such as the gospel-tinged “How It Feels” or the ’50s pop sound-alike “Go-Go Girl” show subtle hints of each members’ different influences and past bands — from punk to industrial to soul.
“I was doing industrial, heavy metal, and I decided that I wanted to do something different, make people dance,” Domingo said of the initial inspiration behind Slick Fitty in 1998. “I thought, what would happen if Buddy Holly and those guys were alive today? What kind of music — what kind of equipment would they use? What would they sound like? And that’s kind of what I was trying to put together.”
The band started out, as many do, as a cover act, performing “your standard ’50s fare,” according to Domingo. Eventually, the band began writing originals — Bri-Bri and Bill handle the majority of the songwriting now. The group’s throwback sound has attracted a wide audience in the past, especially in Europe.
“The fans [in Europe] are a lot less music-genre related; it’s not like only hardcore kids will show up at hardcore shows,” Bri-Bri said. “Anybody who likes music at all will come to shows. . . . Granted, we did have a lot of guys with puffy hair and cuffed jeans and white T-shirts, but at the same time, you had just as many hippies and everything else you can think of, metalheads.”
The group’s energetic stage show is all about having a good time. The band is family oriented, often drawing a high percentage of young children. “The little kids love us,” King said.
“We’re entertainers — we don’t just get up there and play music,” Domingo said. “There’s some shtick that we do. We talk to each other, we involve the crowd a little bit [and] try to make it more about entertainment.”