Speakeasy is the new buzz behind the door

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Speakeasy is a band that has to work hard to live up to its name. Coined after establishments that illegally served alcohol and that celebrated free speech during Prohibition, the band seeks recognition with their dangerous-yet-cool vibe.

“The speakeasies were kind of an underground place you go to catch a buzz,” said Shawn Eckels, lead guitarist and vocalist. “We wanted our music to reflect that feeling . It’s an easy name to remember, but we always get into trouble because people want to make it two words when it’s one word.”

The band is made up of Eckels, Marcus Chatman (vocals and piano), Reed Herron (vocals and bass) and Ryan Fannin (vocals and drums). Eckels and Fannin met, combined their musical talents and formed Speakeasy. Chatman joined the group in 2002 and was followed by Herron, three years later. Though the men grew up listening to various music genres, they are mainly inspired by rock.

“We pull from all sorts of rock and roll,” he said. “We’re all inspired by Led Zeppelin. I grew up listening to heavy metal like Metallica and stuff out of Seattle, [while Chatman] grew up listening to Zappa and Jazz. We like all kinds of new music and everything.”

As for the band’s own style, Eckels described the band as having a sound that seems classic.

“We’re original rock and roll,” Eckels said. “Our manager coined the phrase ‘harmony with balls’ for our sound, and it’s also catchy.”

Speakeasy is currently on tour for its fourth album, All Your New Favorite Songs (Speakeasy Band & Production LLP, Feb. 12).
“We write about things that happen in our lives, situations that happen to us,” Eckels said. “It’s more of a personal kind of thing. We’re not very political. Everyone’s got problems.”

Originally from Springfield, Mo., the men have a personal connection to the city of St. Louis, holding it close to their hearts.

“We love the people,” Eckels said. “We have a lot of good friends that live in St. Louis, [and] we love the Cardinals. I’d have to say that the Cardinals are our favorite thing about St. Louis.”

Speakeasy will be coming to St. Louis on Feb. 14 to the Broadway Oyster Bar (736 S. Broadway) for the Valentine’s Night of Music, which begins at 9 p.m. with Madahooci Acoustic.

Speakeasy will be celebrating their album release from 12:30 p.m. until close. There is a $7 cover charge.