The Yawpers assembled seven years ago in Denver when former Ego vs. Id guitarist Nate Cook secured a weekly residency at a local bar and was joined by his Ego vs. Id bandmate Jesse Parmet. Following a popular modern pattern, the pair decided against a traditional rhythm section, found the first in a succession of drummers — Noah Shomberg currently occupies the chair — and christened themselves The Yawpers, inspired by a line from the poem “Song of Myself” from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass.
The lofty literary reference of their name is just one of many fascinating dichotomies that define The Yawpers. The trio committed to the road early on, and within a year had compiled enough songs for a self-released debut, Capon Crusade.
In 2013, the band took a single day off from its touring schedule to hit the studio and record an album of covers with the self-deprecating title Good Songs/Shitty Versions, tributing everyone from Elvis Presley and Motörhead to Aerosmith and Ween.
Two years later, the band played South by Southwest, where their frenetic live show was seen by the honchos at Bloodshot Records; the company signed them on the spot. Within months, the label released The Yawpers’ third album, American Man, produced by Cracker’s Johnny Hickman.
The Yawpers showed their full emotional and musical range as well as their creative vision on last year’s Boy in a Well, a concept album co-produced by former Replacements/Guns ’N’ Roses bassist Tommy Stinson that was both contemplative and explosive. Ostensibly about a French boy abandoned in a well by his mother during WWI, the underlying traumatic inspirations for the material were drawn from Cook’s childhood molestation by an older man and the painful aftershocks of his divorce. The Legendary Shack Shakers’ J.D. Wilkes provided the album’s cover art, as well as an accompanying graphic novel, an unexpected addition to an equally surprising and incredibly ambitious project.
So what will The Yawpers do for an encore? Same as ever: present it live with breakneck intensity and a seemingly limitless supply of passion.