By: CELIA ALMEIDA
His tendency to lose all restraint (and often his glasses) while wailing onstage to songs like “Helter Skelter” makes him one of the most memorable and beloved performers in Gainesville. This, however, presented him with a peculiar problem.
“These days”, he says, “if I’m recognized for anything musical, 9 times out of 10 it’s because of the Shitty Beatles. The tenth time is usually someone who thinks I’m a member of Morningbell.” While he says he is flattered by any recognition, Whitlock has been thinking about forming a band to present his songs since 2005.
That band is Dark Horse; a good ol’ piano driven rock n’ roll band with a sound inspired by music from the likes of Paul McCartney and Leon Russell.
The lineup consists of familiar faces that ensure the band’s status as a Gainesville super group, including Chris Hillman of Morningbell and the Shitty Beatles, Scott Kauffmann of Pseudo Kids, Zach Tetreault of Hundred Waters, and backup singers Whitlock calls “The Sisters of Mercy”: Annie Neimand and Cassandra Polcaro.
The band made their debut at the last installment of the AM/FM Gainesville Music Showcase, and plans for an album are already in the works. They play this Friday at Double Down with NUMBER 3 and Hedges.
Dark Horse is appropriately named for a musician stepping out as front man after being a member of countless other successful local bands including The Slims, the Boswellians, Cassette, Brewster Baker, and Pseudo Kids.
While he has shared songwriting duties in some of those projects, this is Whitlock’s first chance in a long time to front a band with only his compositions. For him, Dark Horse is “about being confident in my belief that my own music belongs to the Gainesville canon.”