Local, blues-based indie rock band The Black Cadillacs will be headlining the Bijou Theatre for the first time on Nov. 8.
The Black Cadillacs consider this headlining show to be a major accomplishment in their musical career.
"The Bijou Theatre is kind of the crown jewel for Knoxville music," John Phillips, rhythm guitarist for the band, said. "We've opened for other bands at the Bijou, but we've never done it as our show, so it's going to be special."
The group was formed in 2004 and is comprised of five twenty-somethings hailing from different areas of Tennessee. The name of the band was inspired by an old Lightnin' Hopkins song, a tribute to the band's bluesy undertones.
Although many sources claim The Black Cadillacs are based in Memphis or Nashville, they group caught their big break at various venues around Knoxville.
"We started out playing gigs in the Fort," said Will Horton, the band's lead singer. "We played at World Grotto, Barley's and Preservation Pub when we got old enough."
The running theme throughout The Black Cadillac's story is determination, Horton said.
"There have been plenty of shows that we would have rather skipped, but sometimes those shows end up being the most fun," Horton said. "We played in Nashville at least 20 times before we headlined there the first time at the Mercy Lounge.
"Most of the time we didn't get paid."
All five of the band members have day jobs but look forward to when they can solely focus on their music.
Each juggle work schedules with tour dates.
"When we're in town we work as much as we can," said Matthew Hyrka, the group's lead guitarist. "We do weekend runs, which is four days on the road and then we come back to town and repeat the process."
The band attributes a lot of their success to people in the Knoxville community who have helped them along the way.
"This is the most supported and connected music community we have seen on the road," Phillips said. "Nashville is great, but it's a lot more competitive.
"Because of the talent here in Knoxville and because there is a community to support them, bands can get better, learn how to play for audiences and play real venues."
Four out of the five members of The Black Cadillacs attended UT, and the group has formed a strong bond with the campus radio station, 90.3 WUTK The Rock.
"I can walk into the radio station right now and hand them a CD and they'll play it," Phillips said."They say they're local music's best friend and that's 100 percent true."
The group considers building a local support system to be one of the most important things for up-and-coming bands can do.
“We played 40 to 50 times in Knoxville before we ever took it on the road,” Phillips said. “We’re a better road band as a result of being a good local band. We’ve seen other bands on the road that didn’t build up their local market first and they just don’t have the same support or experience.”
After playing a show in Nashville earlier this year, The Black Cadillacs caught the attention of Red Bull and were asked to be a Sound Select Artist. Red Bull sent the band to the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas in March. At the nine day indie music festival the group played alongside bands like Vampire Weekend and Local Natives.
Though they fear that admitting it will ruin their rock and roll image, the band's music has been used on several television shows such as “Dallas,” “Whitney,” “Nashville” and “Necessary Roughness.”
As for advice, The Black Cadillacs said local bands should stay true to who they are and take a “just do it” approach to their dreams.
“If you really love it, just keep at it and good things will eventually come,” Horton said. “It’s important that you remain authentic.”
“When opportunities do come, be available, be ready,” Phillips said. “We always say yes and then figure it out on our end later.”
Recent success aside, The Black Cadillacs said they have by no means arrived. They hope to tour more extensively in the U.S. before possibly embarking on a European tour in 2014, the same year they hope to release their third studio album.
“We want to continue to get better and do things on a higher and higher level,” Phillips said. “We always shoot for things that exceed our resources and maybe even talent.
“People ask us who our influences are and we say The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and The Who. These are really amazing bands that made incredible records. No, we can’t make music like that yet, but we’re going to.”
The Black Cadillacs will be performing at the Bijou Theatre downtown on Nov. 8 with The Delta Saints as their opening act. Tickets cost $10.50 in advance and $12.50 at the door and will be on sale as of Aug. 30. There will be a special VIP sound check party for the first 50 attendees who buy tickets to the show.
For more information about The Black Cadillacs, visit www.black-cadillacs.com.