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The pessimism of their name aside, Liz and the Luckouts are a safe bet if you’re looking for “Detroit rock ‘n’ roll, just raw rock ‘n’ roll,” said Gretchen Domino, who plays bass and joins in on vocals. “Our sound is hard to describe.”
Maybe. But locals find it easy to enjoy. The cuts on their 2016 EP, “Twisted,” are catchy and the music is approachable in an ’80s, Joan Jett kind of way.
“Joan Jett, Chrissy Hynde, Suzi Quatro, I was inspired mostly the female musicians,” said Liz Scaris, who fronts the band and plays guitar. “I saw them all rocking out and I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s what I want to do.’”
Scaris had played in other bands for years before she decided to step out front.
“We couldn’t find another singer so that’s how I ended up doing it,” she said. “I always just played guitar but then I started singing and playing guitar. I’ve been in other bands as bass player, guitar player so I said I might as well try it myself and do it … and it’s working out way better than expected.”
Domino and Scaris started playing together in 2011. Dan Durecki started playing drums with the band about four years ago.
“It’s just fun,” Durecki said. “Playing with them there’s never a dull moment. What I like about it is we’re not to the point. Every show that you see is going to be a one-off. Even though we rehearse we try to create a different version of the song almost every time you see it. It’s fun to play like that. If you play the exact same thing every day it’s like punching a clock. That’s what I like about it. We’re free to make magical mistakes.”
The band doesn’t just play together though. They also write songs together as well.
“We’re really organic in the way that we do it,” said Durecki. “They’ll come up with some sort of a hook and then I’ll come in and they’ll say, ‘Lay something down to this.’ So I’ll kind of come up with a rhythm to it. Or I’ll come in with a hook line and say this is what I’m thinking and they’ll build something around it.”
“We’re all on the same page so that helps out a lot when it comes to writing music,” she said. “We all pretty much listen to the same music and come up with the same ideas. It just works.”
The formula has garnered some success. Last year Liz and the Luckouts were nominated for three Detroit Music Awards.
“There’s a little bit of everything in our music,” said Domino. “We got some blues stuff and some jazz stuff that’s influenced it, as far as lines go and what we play as musicians.”
Durecki, perhaps, summed it up best.
“We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel,” he said. “We’re straight ahead ballsy three-cord rocking music. Our songs are catchy and hook-laden. That’s what I kind of want our sound to be. We’re trying to make really great rock songs and I think there’s still a place for that.”
Liz and the Luckouts will be playing at Cross Street Station in Ypsilanti on Saturday, May 12th. For more information visit facebook.com/theluckouts.