You know Sprout by Scott Foreman’s soulful lead vocals, his fingers shredding a Hammond organ in accordance with his seven bandmates. Zach Doiron, Colin Shepherd, and Stephen Desrochers hold down guitar parts; Geoff Levy plays bass; Desrochers and Kasey Warner, percussion; and Shepherd, Levy, and Desrochers all provide backing vocals. Together they’re the guys in the band, but they’re not Sprout without the vocal harmony, mouth trumpet, percussion (often on tambourines), and feminine charm of Erin Chapin and Caitlin Gowdey.
That’s why, after spending the last year winning UCSB’s annual Battle of the Bands, rocking their slot at Extravaganza, and performing gigs around town, they slipped under the radar for the summer. While the guys stayed back at the Sprout Ranch in Goleta, Chapin and Gowdey (along with Cheyenne Methmann and Vanessa May) spent the summer spreading the sultry sounds of their other band, Rainbow Girls, through Europe.
Armed with a tape recorder, a tuner, a guitar, a ukulele, and seven harmonicas, the girls made their way through Switzerland, Germany, England, Italy, the Netherlands, and France. It was a classic Eurotrip with the added adventures of touring as a band. The girls were robbed of their harmonicas in Livorno, Italy, and forced by police to miss their train and give statements instead. They ran into Dr. Scott Marcus, their former UCSB sitar instructor, walking under the Eiffel Tower. They turned “See See Rider” into a Swiss wedding song. And just when they were about to realize their dream of riding the Chunnel, immigration officers in a small French border town stopped them for informally touring without work visas, and detained them for six hours. “We were in the middle of nowhere,” recounted Chapin. “The French people were literally laughing at us. We waited for the first bus, tried to find our way back to some sort of central station … We all got mad at each other and started drinking, one by one, and eventually forgave each other.” In time, they ended up at an art flat in Paris, where they stayed for five days and recorded in two “super nice” studios.
“We name-dropped Sprout all the time in Europe,” said Chapin. “We want to go back with Sprout—that’s the plan.” Their Tour Fund Benefit on Wednesday, August 31, at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club (1221 State St.), booked by Black Mamba, is aimed to help Sprout’s wanderlust. The first order of business, said Levy, is saving up enough for a trailer that will allow them to move their massive music-making machines (like their new bass amp and Foreman’s organ) more efficiently. Next time, there will be no slipping under the radar. They’ll dip out of town all together, uprooting and sprouting tunes worldwide. For tickets and info, call 962-7776 or visit sohosb.com.