Before becoming the Nashville favorite that stole the show at this year’s Lightning 100 Road to Roo contest, the indie space-pop quartet Creature Comfort was playing shows in living rooms and basements across Murfreesboro.
Clubgoers in Murfreesboro may recall hearing Creature Comfort’s alternative-rock sound over the years in Murfreesboro’s various venues. From the Fortress of Solid Dudes and Wolfcastle to Three Brothers and Little Shop of Records, Creature Comfort has played them all. The experimental quartet joined other Murfreesboro favorites for the Murfreesboro Tour de Fun in 2012 and Boro Fondo in 2013 and 2014.
Creature Comfort got its start as Paper Not Plastic in 2008 and played its first show at a high school graduation party in Tullahoma, Tenn. The band members moved to Murfreesboro to study at Middle Tennessee State University and continued to pursue their passion for music. The lineup at this time consisted of Jessey Clark on guitar and vocals, Nick Rose on bass and Zach Brattsveen on drums. These members saw the transformation in both sound and name from Paper Not Plastic to Creature Comfort in 2011. After losing their previous lead guitarist at the start of 2011, the electrifying Nick Rose filled the vacancy, switching from bass to guitar, and Cole Bearden, another Tullahoma native, joined the team.
“I was the only remaining founding member (of Paper Not Plastic) and the bandmates hated the name,” Clark said, “and our sound was different so we changed the name. The name actually came from Cole. He was having a hard time one night and his roommate’s dog hopped in his lap and [his roommate] told Cole to get some creature comfort and it stuck.”
The lineup changed once more in 2012 when Brattsveen left the band and Taylor Cole of Chalaxy, another Murfreesboro favorite, became the band’s drummer.
“Taylor’s first show was May 18, 2013, for our Fox Tales album release show,” Clark said. “He wasn’t even on the album but he played that show and he’s been a member ever since. We’ve actually known each other since we were 5. His dad is still my doctor. We played T-ball together, hung out, drew dragons together and played Dragon Ball Z together. Next, we’re going to play Bonnaroo together.”
Following Fox Tales, Creature Comfort continued the process of writing, recording and playing as many house show gigs as possible. Between Frankie Avalon House, Trap House, Fortress of Solid Dudes and Wolfcastle on many weekends, Creature Comfort became a regular on the Murfreesboro music scene. By 2013, the band scored its first Nashville show at The Attic.
“The first actual show we played in Nashville, I just reached out and sent a blind Facebook message to Joe Clemons, the Native magazine editor and the booking contact for The Attic,” Clark said. “Once we had that under our belt, Springwater was next. In 2013 we were playing shows at Springwater and still playing house shows in Murfreesboro. After that there was 8th off 8th at the High Watt and we played Tour de Fun in Nashville. That was the first time that we got to play The Five Spot.”
After establishing itself in Nashville, Creature Comfort released the EP Echoes and Relics in 2015 following on the heels of its first tour. Last year, the band completed its second tour, this time in the Northeast. Upon returning, the band released another single, “Teeth for Days,” which has become the trademark of Creature Comfort’s sound.
“We’ve been working really hard and just trying to grow,” Clark said. “When we put out this single after Echoes and Relics, it did really well on Spotify with 100,000 plays. It’s not very much in the grand scheme of things but we’re not signed to any label and we’ve just been working hard.”
When Clark heard about the Lightning 100 Road to Roo contest, a battle of the bands opportunity to play on a Bonnaroo stage, he submitted “Teeth for Days” for the band’s entry, thinking it was a long shot. From that moment, Creature Comfort’s official Road to Roo began. In each round, Creature Comfort approached its sets not as a competition but rather an opportunity to play music and have a good time.
“I never went up there and felt nervous, I went up there just feeling like I was about to have the best time of my life,” Clark said.
After three elimination rounds and the state finals competition, Creature Comfort secured its spot on the Bonnaroo lineup after its April 5 finals performance at Acme Feed & Seed, a familiar stage for the Middle Tennessee natives. On Monday, June 5, Creature Comfort will release its latest single, “Common John (Southern Shame),” before premiering it at the famed Manchester festival. Fans can listen to the politically charged, anti-Trump track on Spotify and iTunes.
You can catch Creature Comfort’s first Bonnaroo appearance Saturday, June 10, at 2:45 p.m. on the New Music on Tap Lounge Stage. If you can’t find the stage, you can meet up with the band members at the fountain just before their set, when they’ll form a conga line leading to the show.