Grand Ole Party plants its brash leader behind the drums for some high-energy art rock 

Kristin Gundred, front woman of Grand Ole Party blasts out big and brassy vocals which pipe through their new CD, "Humanimals." She is as brash as Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O, but a bit less brat and more art. But the real shock comes when one learns that Gundred belts out while tucked behind a drum set.


"It's kind of a shtick, but not an intentional shtick," she said.


Grand Ole Party with Rainbows Are Free will perform at 9 p.m. Friday at Opolis -- 113 N. Crawford, Norman. Tickets are $8.


A drumming lead singer is rare, but she said it just feels natural and is not likely to change. She's been hitting the skins for GOP for two years now, but don't look for any Keith Moon arena-rattling or Tommy Lee-style spinning drum kits.


"I pride myself in my simple kit. I'm a simple player," Gundred said. "My favorite drummers are ones like Ringo Starr: They play well enough for the song, but are still clever. I'm probably not capable of playing really complex melodies anyway, because I'm trying to sing at the same time."


Stabbing and strutting lead guitar and amble bass lines are provided by John Paul Labno and Mike Krechnyak who bring together vamptastic jams such as the smoky and alluring track "Nasty Habits." For performances, Gundred straps on a microphone headset so she can sing, leaving her hands free to drum. The recording studio is the only time she's never sang any of the songs without simultaneously drumming.


The rollicking shows are where the band got its name; it has nothing to do with that other Grand Old Party currently occupying the White House.


"Oh, no " a friend actually named us," Labno laughed. "He thought we sounded like a grand ole party, so we stuck with it. As far as the Republican thing goes, it's amusing, but no, there's no connection there."  - Charles Martin

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Charles Martin

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