Indy-based garage rockers The Kemps have officially disbanded after a two-year run in which they rose to prominence as leaders of the newest generation of young, innovative, independent rock bands coming out of Fountain Square.
According to bassist and co-founder Tyler Bowman, the three-man group consisting of guitarist/vocalist Jared Birden and drummer Geoff Albertson, decided to call it quits late last month after a turbulent six months that saw at least one major line-up change and the theft of the master copy of their freshly-recorded EP in mid-March.
In an e-mail interview, Bowman said the breakup was prompted by a call from Albertson, who had decided to leave the band. As the only two remaining members, Bowman and Birden, who had already kept the group together through a major overhaul last fall, agreed they'd had a great run but that it was best to move on to other projects.
"We felt like we had effortlessly accomplished things any local band can hope to," wrote Bowman, who also noted that he respected Albertson's decision to leave and that there were no hard feelings between any members of the band.
"[Geoff] is an amazing drummer and whoever snags him up should feel very lucky to have him," he wrote.
The Kemps enjoyed a blisteringly-fast rise over the past two years to become one of the most talked-about rock bands in the city and the unofficial poster-child for the resurgence of the Fountain Square underground rock scene. Formed in the spring of 2010, the original Kemps lineup consisted of Birden, Bowman (then on drums), guitarist Andy Rittenhouse, and bassist Nick Snyder.
The band quickly cut a self-released EP and soon after joined up with GloryHole records where they recorded a split 7-inch with garage-rock counterparts Vacation Club, as well as a 7-inch EP Familiaresco.
Through the summer and fall of 2011, it seemed The Kemps were one of the hottest bands in the city; they were playing everywhere, and everyone was talking about them. However, shortly after they played Broad Ripple Music Fest last fall, things began to unravel. Bowman switched from drums, where he had never really felt at home, to bass. Rittenhouse and Snyder left the group, and Albertson was brought on to play drums.
After sort of dropping off the map over the winter, it seemed like The Kemps were back in action in March, playing sets at the Melody Inn and the White Rabbit, at which they unleashed an electrifying set of tight new songs they were recording into a new album. However, in mid-March their home studio was broken into and they lost the master copy of the new album as well as some of their equipment.
Bowman said he and Birden originally thought about going forward and re-recording the new album, in spite of the dissolution of the band; however, they will instead split the songs up between their own independent projects/bands. Bowman's project is called Dope, Menace and Birden's is Teenage Strange. Bowman said they hope to release a split 7-inch soon.
"[Jared and I] work well together and complement each other in a way where things just effortlessly fall into place," wrote Bowman.