I can still remember the first time I saw the Kind Thieves at Boulevard Tavern in Charleston, West Virginia – when a small mosh pit may have/ kind of started, so of course I was hooked. Oh, what seems like a lifetime ago. They truly made an impression on me that night and have stayed in the forefront of my thoughts ever since. If I see their name on the bill or playing a local show, then I’m interested and trying to make it. I would dub these guys in my top five favorite bands to come out of West Virginia.
Based out of Beckley, WV, Kind Thieves have been increasing their traveling and are making their mark in the surrounding states, going South the majority of time and visiting Virginia and North Carolina quite frequently. Every time I introduce a new person to this band, they are instantly in love. After a great set at The Big What? I met a nice girl that couldn’t stop talking about them. Of course, I loved it and instigated her the entire time. Not only did she say it was her favorite set of the weekend, but she wouldn’t stop questioning how and when she was going to see them again – she lives in St. Louis. If they ever make out there her heart might explode. That seems to be a common reaction from people when people discover this band. They were born a thief and stole my heart, as well as many others I’m sure. I talked to lead Colby Elswick some questions to better get to know this band.
When did the Kind Thieves come into fruition and who are your main members today?
We formed 5 years ago and we have solidified our lineup to 6 full time touring members: Colby Elswick (me) on guitar and vocals, Drew Shinhearts on bass and vocals, Archibald Johnson on guitar and vocals, Dustin Roberts on drums and vocals, Christian Tanzey on keys and trumpet, and Brian Cantley on percussion, acoustic, and vocals.
How long has each member been in the band?
I (Colby) have been with the group the full duration of the band, I am a founding member. Archie & Drew have been with the band for the last 4 years. Dustin joined 3 years ago, Tanzey joined a year ago and Brian joined us just 6 months ago.
What are the struggles and/ or benefits have having so many members?
The only struggle we have had is consistently providing a full time group. We have definitely benefited from having multiple changes, because we have found who has really stuck chemistry wise and musically.
Who do you see as your inspiration/ influencers?
We all come from drastically different backgrounds. We are influenced individually by rock acts like the Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers, Phish, Widespread Panic, and Pink Floyd with bluegrass music being stained all over our sound as well.
Who does most of the writing of your songs?
We all write tunes for the band, but a solid 60% of our material is written by me.
What is your favorite song to perform?
Honestly, whatever the crowd is digging with most on any given night.
Your sound has evolved a lot since y’all first came to the scene, how would you explain your current sound and how it has progressed?
We started as a folk bluegrass band but have definitely changed into a full on rock/jam band experience. We still touch on the grass and country side of things but for the most part we steer towards psychedelic rock.
What do you enjoy about being a touring band?
Just watching the crowds in different cities and states really open their arms and hearts to what we are putting out nowadays. It’s a beautiful thing.
Are you planning on doing a new album anytime soon?
We will be dropping our new album “The Shape” in early 2020!
What was your most exciting event/venue you have played?
Definitely opening for Big Something on their New Year’s run last year at the Lincoln Theater in Raleigh NC. We had a great time playing with them again just recently December 6 at The V-Club in Huntington, WV.
What events are you excited to play this upcoming season and where we can catch y’all at?
We are also stoked to return to our hometown of Beckley, WV, for a NYE bash with our best friends Black Garlic. The show was formerly at Melody’s, but they unfortunately closed down recently. So the show has been moved to Foster’s in Beckley, which was one of the first bars we’ve ever played, so it’s cool to get back to our roots.
It has been a pleasure watching this band grow and develop into what they are today. I love their punk aspects as much as I like to watch them jam. I will continue to catch their shows as much as I possibly can. I think I may even hit up that NYE show, I have never been to Foster’s. If you want to give these guys a listen, check them out on Spotify, which I love their Kind Thieves radio station or buy their original album, “Many a Thief.”