Music News & Reviews

Poultry ’N Motion gets them out of their seats

It’s been said that being in a rock band is like being married to four or five people.

The nice thing about Poultry ’N Motion, lead guitarist Brian Rader said, “is that nobody in it is psycho.”

Indeed, members seem to get along, whether it’s sharing their musical tastes on-stage, turning practices at Rader’s house into cookouts or agreeing to donate their talents to good causes.

So it’s just one big happy family?

“Well, not all the time,” drummer Brett Krkosska admitted. “I mean, the longevity of a band is determined by how well you can work out your differences, how well you can communicate and not taking things too personally.”

Poultry ’N Motion brings its mostly harmonious approach to the Port of Wichita, 1548 S. Webb Road, Friday and also will perform from noon to 1 p.m. May 19 at Wichita Ribfest outside Intrust Bank Arena in City Lot D, 777 E. Waterman. (Gate admission is $4, free for children 12 and under. Admission is free with a Wichita River Festival button.)

Rader and Krkosska formed the band in 2009 after both had left another group. The third original member is bassist Billy Smart, with whom Rader had last played more than 20 years ago.

“He said ‘I think my kids are old enough, let me talk to my wife,’ ” Rader recalled.

After going through several singers, things started to click when they added Lana Pierce on vocals and Dan Niemeyer on rhythm guitar and vocals. The band has been gigging steadily ever since.

Rader said his initial idea in forming Poultry was to “play stuff I like — things that are just left of center but you still say, hey I’ve heard that. Some of my favorite songs are the ones you might hear in a Quentin Tarrantino movie.”

He found that the Wichita music scene demands a little bigger mix than surf guitar and R&B classics. That’s why the addition of Pierce and Niemeyer helped.

Pierce, who’d sung with several Hutchinson bands, added songs like “Stuck in the Middle with You” and Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good” to the mix, while Niemeyer specializes in Prince and newer material. The two sing together on songs like the John Mellencamp/Meshell Ndegeocello version of “Wild Night.”

Krkosska said that whatever Poultry plays — whether it’s Elvis, the Georgia Satellites or the Stray Cats — “we definitely put out our own spin on it. Hopefully that adds to the appeal.”

Niemeyer, who had been playing solo in coffeehouses, also pens original songs. The band has donated shows for several organizations, including the Kansas Humane Society and Bikers Against Child Abuse.

“I guess we do stuff that we’re close to,” said Rader, who has dogs, parrots and a motorcycle.

“We enjoy playing anywhere as long as the crowd’s having a good time,” he added. “If we can get them out of their seat and moving around, we’ve done our job.”

Band members were even able to agree on an unconventional name.

“I guess none of us takes ourselves too seriously,” Rader said of the moniker. “Squirrel Nut Zippers was already taken (as a band name). Who doesn’t love chicken?”