July 17, 2014


Full Body Tones on Lexington, Kentucky's Fertile Musical Underground

Courtesy of Full Body Tones
Courtesy of Full Body Tones

Full Body Tones are a snarling pop-punk three-piece from Lexington, Kentucky, with fast songs, memorable riffs and a lot of energy, on and off stage. In the midst of their current tour, we spoke with singer-guitarist Joe Fulton and bassist-singer Craig Sullivan about making the most of life on the road, jamming at random Guitar Center stores and Lexington's surprisingly fertile music scene.

Hey guys! So how far along your tour are you?

Joe: We're in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma right now. It's going really well. As far as how many dates we've played, I've lost count. All I know is that we have a couple months ahead of us still. We have a van and it's fun, man. It's really cool going from city to city—totally different experience from being at home and playing a show. It's great meeting new people and experiencing different emotions with new people.

Have you seen anything crazy so far?

Craig: In Texas I saw a longhorn for the first time and it was the best experience ever.

Joe: I was going to say in Oklahoma, everybody loves kickball. Just loves it. We were playing a show and afterward, we break down and out of nowhere, someone's got bases and a giant kickball and everybody is so into it. It was cool to see everyone rally around it.

Craig: One thing we love to do on the road is go bowling. So to see bowling alleys from around the United States is very, very nice. I would just like to say that they're all wonderful.

Joe: If anyone reads this, we love your bowling alleys—let us come back!

Are they all like '70s time capsules?

Joe: Yes! Have you ever seen The Big Lebowski? They all look like that, and they are all awesome. I'm waiting for the Dude to walk out at all times. It's like living in The Big Lebowski, and who doesn’t want to live The Big Lebowski?

So you guys are from Lexington, Kentucky, which has a big population but not exactly a national rep as a music town. Is there a music scene we don't know about?

Joe: Yeah, there's a really good underground music scene and a couple amazing venues in Lexington like Cosmic Charlie's and Buster's Billiards that people need to know about. The thing about Kentucky is, the biggest music genre in the area is country, and that's a fact. So you definitely have your country fans, but then you have your break off bands, like roots folks and things like that. Stepping back from what the general consensus is, there's an unbelievable hardcore scene, an unbelievable rock scene and an awesome indie scene. A little bit of everything—that's the coolest thing about Lexington: Music runs right through this part of the country. You got Cincinnati to the north, you got Nashville to the south, and Louisville also has an unbelievable music scene. That all filters through Lexington. It's a melting pot of music. 

Does the country music influence you guys at all? 

Joe: Yeah, you gotta suck in what's around you. Osmosis is a good word for it. Even if you're not into that kind of music, you have to appreciate the music that's around you and take notice of what sounds good. 

Where is your label? 

Joe: Our label is based out of Lexington. It's Long Island Recording Studios of Kentucky, named for the owner, who grew up in Long Island, New York. It’s a recording label and it's also a school. It caters to the kids who want to learn the industry and it does an extremely good job of teaching kids the business, how to be audio engineers. That is our sponsor and label. They are awesome, we could not be happier. I was a student at the school. I went to school at LIRCO, and while in school I got picked up by the label. I met Willy [our drummer] at the studio and built our relationship through it. I know more audio engineering, running live sound, the music industry than I ever would have otherwise. It really helped me understand how this business works and how to maneuver in this world.

Courtesy of Full Body Tones
Courtesy of Full Body Tones

What bands influenced you guys primarily?

Craig: We grew up with Green Day and Blink-182, I loved the whole speedy punk and awesome harmonies. And bands like YellowcardSum 41.

Joe: I grew up through the teenage years with AFI and goth punk bands. Which were awesome. And then Blink and Yellowcard, but now a lot of my influences are more underground bands. I'm hugely into the Menzingers. They're phenomenal. I love Wonder Years, pop-punk bands, Warped Tour bands. Those are the bands that most influence us in our songwriting process.

Craig: We did Warped Tour pretty much every year through high school.

Are you working on new material on the road?

Joe: We never really stop working on material. On the road, we like to go to Guitar Center and really annoy the workers and write songs on their amps. And it's a lot of fun, just get away from the hectic life of running around on tour and get back to writing music. As far as the future holds, to be completely honest, we don’t like to plan two months ahead. We let what happens take its course.

How do you write your songs?

Craig: Well, usually between Joey and I, we'll take a riff on the guitar or a chord structure, and it'll either be amazing or terrible. And we weed through the terrible ones and hopefully pick out the ones we like most.

Joe: Our drummer Willy, he's another big part of the writing process. Craig and I lived together for a while, and we write together, but when we bring in Willy it takes life. It becomes what it will become.

What are you plans when you get back to Lexington after the tour?

Craig: Maybe go bowling!

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