sarlo’s now doing laundry
by Jack Hill | The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette | February 5, 2013
Unusual band names have long held sway in the life of Aaron Sarlo, a local singer-songwriter whose latest band, Laundry for the Apocalypse, has a name equally as memorable as his first band, Techno-Squid Eats Parliament, a mid-1990s band.
“The Dangerous Idiots is the only band I’ve ever named,” Sarlo says. “I got it from a freedom from religion commercial. Otherwise, I usually just agree to whatever name the guys I’m playing with want. I try to remain positive.”
“Techno-Squid fell apart because we were young and idealistic. I [had] a four-track recorder in high school and recorded scads and scads of demos and songs. I taught Clay Bell to play guitar and the first band we formed was The Lemmings, which went on to become Techno-Squid. After it dissolved in July of ’95, I moved to Boston and formed a rocking little three-piece called Slept with Chris O’Brien.”
In 2000, Sarlo moved back to Little Rock and quit the music business, selling all his gear. But he eventually bought a ukulele, he says, “just to have a personal outlet.” By 2007, following the death of his mother, songs were pouring out of Sarlo and his ukulele.
“I decided then that I needed to be making music again, that it wasn’t something I could actually quit. So I formed The Dangerous Idiots. Two years later, LftA formed. So now I’m in two bands.”
Laundry for the Apocalypse has released an eponymous debut album on Mostar Records, and Sarlo is quick to salute one of his band members for how the album turned out.
“It’s receiving lots of critical praise [and] I credit John Hilliard, one of our members, for his insanely good fluting and trumpeting, but that’s just me. We’re working on a follow-up record and are booking a North American tour, which will begin with a Southern circuit and expand outward.
“In addition, we are booking festivals now for the 2013-2014 festival season. First stop will be The Norman (Okla.) Music Fest. I am a die-hard Flaming Lips fan,” he said of the psychedelic alternative rock band based in Oklahoma City.
Sarlo also reports news of his other band, The Dangerous Idiots, which will release a second studio album, Frankenbastard, Feb. 19. An album release party at the White Water Tavern is set that night, with a couple of guest acts, Adam Faucett and Booyah!… Dad.
“After that, I begin tracking on my first solo acoustic record and this summer, The Dangerous Idiots will be recording our first live album and DVD. And I recently unearthed an old Techno-Squid demo that I’m putting on the Dang’ Idiots record.”
Laundry for the Apocalypse consists of Sarlo on vocals and guitar; Hilliard on keyboards, flute and trumpet; Drew Wilkerson on drums; Matt Rice on bass; and Adrian Brigman on electric washboard and percussion.
Growing up, Sarlo’s guitar heroes were Robby Krieger of The Doors and Robert Fripp. The graduate of Little Rock Central High School admits that his first concert was not one he wanted to attend.
“It was Ratt and Poison,” he says. “I lost a bet and had to go. It was misery on a stick. I don’t like hair metal.”
While Laundry for the Apocalypse performs mostly Sarlo’s originals, some cover songs are being added to the band’s mix: Telekinesis’ “Coast of Carolina” plus a solo acoustic version of The Flaming Lips’ “One More Robot.”
Sarlo’s biggest influence and favorite band, he reckons, is Jeff Martin and his band, Idaho.
“My personal influences are the odder; [the] more off the beaten path, the better. I am a closet zydeco freak.”
One of the best-known Laundry for the Apocalypse songs is “Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2,” a salute to the shock-rocker.
“I am a big fan of his movies, for sure,” Sarlo says. “I even got to interview him for the Arkansas Times. Sarah, my wife, went to see the show with a friend. I’m not into arena rock. I like small, intimate music experiences.”