Jessica Klinner Montgomery, Alabama is not universally known for its wide variety of musical acts, but within the city limits, there are many people looking to make a living off music or just jam with a group of friends. Among those musicians, you’ll find the five young men who make up The Talismen. Jack Bennett (guitar), Jack Anderson (bass/ vocals), Jack Wagstaff (piano/horns/vocals), Camp Spain (guitar/vocals) and George Norrell (drums/vocals) all met while attending high school in Montgomery and have turned their garage band into a local favorite. Though they’re young in age, The Talismen have been playing together for years and have booked gigs at some well-known venues in Alabama such as Workplay Theatre in Birmingham and Riverwalk Amphiteatre in Montgomery. It’s their unique blend of soul and funk mixed with their passion for creating music that makes The Talismen stand out among other Southern bands. Their live performance contains a mixture of cover songs and originals, giving their audience a chance to sing along with tracks they may already know and also get a feel for the band’s talent with songs they’ve written.
Interested to learn more, we caught up with the band to find out what they’re all about. Read the interview below.
How did you all meet, and when did you form?
We all went to school together at The Montgomery Academy (Jack Bennett later at Park Crossing) and were friends before the band formed. We started playing together during spring break of 10th grade and added Jack Anderson to the band in May of the same year.
The Talismen is an interesting name. Where did it come from?
We opened up a dictionary and saw the word "talisman" and changed the “a” to an “e” for a play on words. A talisman is a good luck charm, and we liked the idea of that.
What’s been your favorite performance/place you’ve played so far, and why?
Probably Workplay in Birmingham. This was the summer of 2015 and was our biggest show yet and bigger than we thought we'd ever play. We have also played at Iron City in Birmingham in July of 2016. You guys play cover songs as well as originals.
Where do you usually gather songwriting inspiration? What is your usual songwriting process?
Most of our songs come from personal experiences and thoughts that we all relate to. All of our songs are very personal to us. We all take to writing our music in different ways. It all comes together once we are done with all that we can do on our own. We can't focus well enough together to write a full song in one sitting.
What bands have influenced you all the most?
We all come from different backgrounds of music, but have a solid understanding of what we want our music to sound like. These different genres of music are hard rock, improv rock, classic rock and jazz.
Do you have any plans to record an EP or album in the future?
We do all of our recordings from live shows. We've been focusing on how we sound live rather than worrying about a studio.
Is there anything you do outside of music that fuels or contributes to your creative process?
Art, creative writing and reading.
How has your music evolved since you first began playing together?
Our progression as a band has come from countless hours of playing together. That's how we get a better understanding of how each other plays so that our live performances reflect progress each time.
What’s been your biggest challenge as a band? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?
Being taken seriously. Progressing from being taken as high schoolers messing around to a real professional group that loves music just as much as any seasoned band doing it for a job. I think we are on the right track with this goal. It is especially because of Billy Norrell (George's dad), always looking regionally at festivals, city fests and other performance opportunities so we have a consistent amount of live shows to play and are able to share our love of music. Also a special thanks to the Bennett's (Jack's family) for allowing us to rehearse at their home and for Roger Spain (Camp's dad) who has provided most of the equipment that we use.
What upcoming shows do you have that you’d like our readers to know about?
Playing at several private events as of now. We will know about more summer shows when it's closer to that time.