THE HYPNOTICS have a big week ahead. On Friday, Nov. 9, they’ll be playing alongside Helixglow, Airpark, and Babe Club at El Rocko Lounge – a show that means a lot to the band, as their friendship with Helixglow comes from being longtime fans of leader Travis Tooke and his former band, For Squirrels.
The next night, they’ll be running a Rolling Stones tribute show at Southbound Brewing Co. that is set to feature an all-star cast of local artists and raise funds for the Coastal Conservation Association.
The band, which features singer and guitarist Ty Thompson, bassist Ryan Sylvester and drummer Ira Miller, has been making a name for themselves with both originals and covers for years. It started with Thompson, who’d been playing with Sylvester’s cousin in a two-piece band.
“[The band was] a hybrid between cover shows and sneaking in originals,” he says. “It was coming out of my 20s, riding around in a smelly van only playing original music. Writing and producing it, but then having to figure out how to sell it. It was this weird crossroads of people saying, ‘You guys are great, but you need to compromise your vision a bit if you want to have a career.’ It became a drag. It was almost like an emotional hangover.”
The two-piece became an outlet for Thompson to have fun playing music, which led to the formation of The Hypnotics. The band’s approach to covering songs might seem a bit edgier or more punk rock, but Thompson says they’re obsessed with staying as true to the original arrangements and recordings as possible.
“We’re almost fanatical about playing it exactly as it is on the record,” he says. “The people who hear it hear this limited fidelity off of these old recordings. They don’t feel the energy, but then you get in front of them and they’re hearing the whole sonic picture. They’re thinking that there’s something different about it, when in fact it’s just the way the music was.”
The Nov. 9 show at El Rocko Lounge will feature Helixglow, as will the Stones tribute the following night. It’s especially exciting for Thompson, who came up listening to Tooke’s former band For Squirrels.
“When Example came out, that was one of the first records that I said, ‘Oh fuck! The first song’s my favorite. No, the second song’s my favorite. No, the third song’s my favorite.’ At different times, each song’s been my favorite. That record is so good,” he says.
For Squirrels was a band on the rise until a car accident, which happened just south of Savannah on I-95, took the lives of two of its members. Tooke carried on, and eventually formed his current band – which sparked a friendship with Thompson and the Hypnotics.
“I think I just became his friend on Myspace,” Thompson says with a laugh, explaining that a band he was in before Helixglow did a show with Thompson around 2007 and they became friends soon after. Tooke even came to a Hypnotics show in Gainesville and sat in with the band.
“He played three or four songs with us, I think,” Sylvester says.
The Stones tribute on Nov. 10 spawned from a Tom Petty tribute put on by the Train Wrecks last year, which also benefitted the Coastal Conservation Association.
“They reached to us because I think we’re, like, the only ones in Savannah who are into playing a lot of that kind of music,” Sylvester explains.
The cast of local musicians appearing at the event include the Magic Rocks, Nancy Druid’s Anna Chandler, Trae Gurley, Helixglow, and many others. The band is pulling from all eras of the Stones, and had to choose from dozens of songs to build the set list.
“It is a pretty vast collection of songs to go through, Thompson says.
“One thing we realized pretty quickly is that we’re going to disappoint someone. We’re doing, like, 34 songs. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, some people are going to come up and say, ‘How could you possibly leave out song X?’ That’s the Stones for you. We tried to make it a really nice mix of songs you have to do and songs you maybe wouldn’t necessarily think of.”