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if you can gauge a band’s merit by the company they keep, Futurebirds has already made it. Having shared the stage with such acts as Drive-By Truckers, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals and Widespread Panic, Futurebirds represents the Athens, Ga., tradition proudly. They have parlayed that success into a summer that has already featured dates at SXSW and the Hangout Festival and now they’re rolling onto the Bud Light Stage at 6:15 p.m. on Friday, June 8, the opening night of Riverbend.
Guitarist/vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Carter King was kind enough to answer some questions for The Pulse about the band’s favorite moments in Chattanooga, touring with influences and what makes great facial hair.
The Pulse: First of all, what has this summer been like for you guys? Where have you been, what has it been like playing for festival crowds?
Carter King: Summer has been amazing so far. Festival season is the best. Big crowds. Big sound systems. Everyone’s full of vitamin D. The perfect storm.
TP: You guys have been coming to Chattanooga for a while now, from when you were touring with Dexateens and playing JJ’s Bohemia. What’s it like to move up from smaller venues to the Riverbend audience?
CK: It’s great. We love Chattanooga. I have to say that show with the Dexateens was my favorite. They blew the doors off JJ’s in front of a crowd of 12 people. Elliott was up on top of the bar, marching up and down, singing “Dixieland Delight.” Then they got in a fight ... with each other. Best band ever. Seriously. If you can’t give 12 people something to go home with, what are you gonna do with 10,000? Track 29 is a great place, too.
TP: How has being from this part of the country and specifically Athens shaped what you do? How different would your sound be if you were from say, New Jersey?
CK: The only parts of New Jersey we’ve really seen are the turnpike and the Empress Hotel. So, I’d have to say our music would suck if we were from New Jersey. I hear the shore is quaint and lovely though.
TP: As a band that features some pretty prominent beards, what are the three most influential examples of facial hair in recent American history?
CK: Three most influential facial hair-styles in recent history: 1. Walker Howle 2. Kurt Russel as Wyatt Earp. 3. Prince
TP: If you had to end every one of your shows with a cover song, what would it be?
CK: Garth Brooks’ “Friends in Low Places.”