A local band in every sense of the term, The Primitive Talk began with a high school garage session. “The first day that we ever hung out with our now-bassist, he came over to try a guitar. He couldn’t have been 15. I had just gotten my license, and we were all jamming.” Singer/guitarist John Tyler went on to laugh about how nervous Nick seemed, since he and drummer Steven had been playing long enough to be known for it. Now, The Primitive Talk is John Tyler Smith, Nick Schefano, and Steven Perrine, and their history together makes brothers and band members a blurred line.
After so many years the band is still making music together, with only a year hiccup of separation. After getting back together, the band’s style began to change. “I think we’re getting back to our rock roots, because we all grew up listening to rock,” John Tyler says. “Like Guns N’ Roses.” The band also mentioned The White Stripes and The Strokes as influences, and the guitar riffs in their favorite song, “Hopeless Man” are definitely reminiscent.
The style change also comes from crowd responses, as the three have found that across the board their new work gains fans. “We’ve played to just about every type of person you can imagine,” Steven says, and John Tyler remembers playing the most terrifying gig in his memory. “We played with The Devil Disciples for this satanic biker gang at the Nick one night. I had a leather jacket on and every one of them had a leather jacket covered in patches and stuff. It was fun!”
The band made it out alive to play a couple gigs in Atlanta and Nashville, as well as another story-worthy show in Florence, AL. TPT had the headlining act at a First Fridays event, and even though the 38 degree weather had their fingers locking up, the venue made it worth it. “The venue was so small, but they have stadium seating with couches and it was packed out. We were right on top of each other, but those kids loved it.” The venue owner made that night though, as “He pulled us to the front of the stage and sad, “these guys have traveled from Birmingham, so welcome them! He just got them all riled up. These guys probably would have let us play all night.”
Their favorite show consensus landed on the Wakarusa battle of the bands show at WorkPlay, because the rock trio thought they had no chance of winning. Steven says, “They were all jam bands and we were the only rock band thinking, we are going to stick out like a sore thumb! But they loved it.” And John Tyler remembers their winning moment:
“They announced, ‘And the winner is The-’ and there was another band with ‘The’ in the title- I was listening to the strokes and thought, I don’t even want to hear this! And then they announced, ‘Primitive Talk!’” The band was shocked, but scoring a festival gig is never bad news.
The trio will play another battle of the bands show for Birmingham Mountain Radio in May, in hopes of winning a set in this summer’s Bonnaroo festival. And hopefully for The Primitive Talk, battle winnings come in streaks.