Douglas' Street Team's secular revisionism

Swilley bros bring rock 'n' roll back to the scene

Filling a gap in Atlanta's underground rock 'n' roll scene that's formed in the absence of the Gaye Blades, and in Jared Swilley's limited time away from touring with Black Lips, is Douglas' Street Team. The new group, which debuted on Christmas night, finds the Black Lips' singer and bass player moving to guitar and playing alongside fellow Gaye Blade John Kang (guitar), Die Slaughterhaus scene vet Geoff Cook of Archrivals (bass), and his younger brother Jonah (drums). "I like having a band at home that's not my main band," Jared says. "I did have Gaye Blades, but we cannot do that as much with Gentleman Jesse Smith being so busy with his restaurant, Kimball House."

Some similarities exist between Douglas' Street Team and the Gaye Blades, including guitarist Kang and an unwavering loyalty to '50s rock 'n' roll and honky-tonk riffs and harmonies. The group also tears through a solid cover of "Don't Get Married" from the Gaye Blades' 2011 Norton Records LP.

Even though the Swilley brothers have played together at their father Bishop Jim Swilley's Church in the Now, Douglas' Street Team finds the two playing secular music on the same stage for the first time. Jared is 10 years older than Jonah, which means he's been on the road with the Black Lips for more than half of his brother's life. But there's no generation or talent gap, as the brothers live together and Jared sees Jonah as a top-tier musician. "My brother has played in church for a while, and technically he is light years ahead of me," he says.

The band gives the older Swilley brother a pressure-free songwriting outlet and a reason to play small venues around town. "It's something I can do for fun, and it doesn't matter if people don't come out and see it or not," he says.

By playing various local shows with Douglas' Street Team, as opposed to the limited number of Black Lips gigs that happen in Atlanta, it's easier for Jared to share the stage with friends, like at the band's upcoming Feb. 19 show at 529, headlined by Atlanta's elder statesmen of rock, the Subsonics.

Jared also sees the band as an excuse to write and perform rock music the way it was championed by his mentors, such as the recently deceased Mighty Hannibal. "I know things come in waves here, but right now there are not many traditional rock 'n' roll bands," Jared says. "We're hoping to fill that void."

When considering this new band and its deep family and friendship ties along with its commitment to rock 'n' roll's roots, one question remains: Who is Douglas? "Douglas was my least favorite man name for a while," Jared says. "I always wanted to name a band after a name I didn't like. Gaye Blades was almost called 'Michael.'"

That's the kind of inside joke that's usually reserved for late-night bar room banter with friends, or reminiscing with a sibling. When it comes to Douglas' Street Team's lineup, it all makes perfect sense. C