Vocalist and guitarist Chris Otepka will soon launch a national tour in support of his long time music project the Heligoats new full-length album, "Back To The Ache."
However, before the band hits the road, Otepka will give a warm-up solo performance on Saturday at The Rusty Nail, 7291 S.R. 43.
"I started playing drums when I was 16," Otepka said. "I drummed through high school and into college. I went to school in Chicago. Then I started playing the guitar, drumming and recording everything myself and that's how the Heligoats started."
Otepka started the Heligoats in early 2000.
"It's had all different kinds of members, but in the past three years we've had a pretty solid group of four of us," Otepka said. "We've done a few records and we just finished our third record and that's what we'll be playing on tour."
"Back To The Ache" was inspired by Otepka aching for somewhere to call home while on the road.
"I think this record and the past couple records came out of traveling and not really living in one spot and spending more than half a year on the road and kind of aching for a home base, but not having it," Otepka said. "So, I made a record to have one familiar spot for all the songs."
When it comes to creating new material, Otepka said it usually starts with lyrics.
"It usually starts with words or wanting to address certain things," Otepka said. "And then kind of finding a stream of conscious or rhythm for all the words to fit in place."
Unlike their previous album, "Back To The Ache" features live piano.
"We've never really done that in the past," Otepka said. "This time we had an acoustic piano and that was fun to work with. Other than that, it's a kind of rock record."
The Heligoats has been primarily a solo project, with Otepka doing the majority of work and guests filling roles. However, the Heligoats have become an ensemble piece, adding a set quartet to Otepka's compositions.
Otepka attributes a good deal of this shift to his re-connecting with drummer Nate Lanthrum.
Steven Fiebig, co-owner of The Rusty Nail, said he has been a huge fan of Otepka for almost a decade.
"I couldn't get enough Troubled Hubble into my ears, and The Heligoats have that same perfect-awkwardness that keep you wanting more," Fiebig said. "I never got a chance to see Troubled Hubble live, but I went with a friend to Barnesville this past summer to see Chris perform. He eventually got a hold of me and we booked him immediately, and are really excited to have a musician of his talent at The Rusty Nail,"
Fiebig said Otepka's solo performance is delightfully entertaining.
"He likes to tell short stories in between each song, a prelude if you will, to what you are about to hear," Fiebig said. "Sometimes it's serious, sometimes witty, sometimes funny, sometimes, well, you're just not sure."
Fiebig said his customers appreciate the fact that The Rusty Nail brings live acts like Otepka to Kent.
"I think that The Rusty Nail will be packed on Saturday night and I have already gotten a very positive response from some that are really excited to see Chris in Kent," Fiebig said. "Saturday night is going to be a lot of fun and I am really excited to have one of my personal favorite musicians at The Rusty Nail. I am confident that after seeing the Heligoats live, you will go to bed wondering why you have never heard of them before."
Otepka's solo performance will begin at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at The Rusty Nail. Also performing is Jake McKelvey of Jake McKelvey and the Countertops.
For more information, call 330-673-2297 or visit www.therustynail.net.