This site is a tribute the music of the JudyBats -- a dearly loved little band that rose from the unique music scene of Knoxville, Tennesee in 1990, flirted with fame -- were teased by it, even -- and fizzled out of existence in 1995. In the interim, they recorded four albums for Sire/WB records, each of which different fans claim as their favorite. 1999 saw the return of the JudyBats with a new lineup, a new sound, and a great new album. Kicking it indie-school, they've hit the Internet, the direct sales market, and the road. For fans like me, things are looking up.
The JudyBats' albums track the evolution of a semi-quirky college band through the era of the grunge tsunami and beyond. While not untouched by it, the JudyBats did purposely take a path to their own brand of alterna-pop maturity that swung far wide of Seattle -- though they have occasionally paused long enough to stick their tongues out in that general direction. Their chosen path just about led them right back to near obscurity in Tennessee. In '95 they were ahead of their time and underpromoted by Warner Bros. They broke up with hardly the proverbial whimper. Their return with complete creative independence and new life is the most exiting thing to occur since... well since ever.
The JudyBats are/were:
Jeff Heiskell -- lead vocals
Rob Bell -- bass on 5th album
Doug Hairell -- guitar on 5th album
Mike Hairell -- drums on 5th album
Reed Pendleton -- guitar on 5th album
Johnny Sughrue -- acoustic & electric guitars, vocals on 1st-4th albums
Ed Winters -- electric guitars on 1st-4th albums
Peggy Hambright -- keyboards, violin, vocals on 1st & 2nd albums
Tim Stutz -- bass on 1st & 2nd album
Terry Casper -- drums on 1st album
Dave Jenkins -- drums on 3rd & 4th albums
Paul Noe -- bass, vocals on 3rd & 4th albums
(a studio drummer named Kevin Jarvis played drums on the 2nd album -- Dave hooked up with them for the tour and stayed on)
Through these shifting lineups, there have been what I would call three incarnations of the group. Through the first four albums, the wellspring of the JudyBats' alluring sound remained the coupling of Johnny and Ed's guitar interplay with Jeff's masterful lyrics, but there was a fundamental change in the group when Peggy left. Her keyboards and especially her violin were distinctive contributions to the music of the first two albums. Jeff is now the only original member left, but the JudyBats essence remains, evolved but recognizable. And what's this? A piano I hear? And (gasp) a violin?!
This page has been up since June 10, 1996. It's seen one revision and one migration, which roughly coincided. Maybe one day it will line up with my dreams for it. Please tour around. There's much to see. The feature attraction is the lyric section, which is spiderwebbed with hyperlinks back and forth throughout the text and also pointing outward to footnotes and exterior sources. I believe it's the only HyperText Lyric Sheet(tm) in existence. The guitar archive is a work in progress, of course. It debuted on the third anniversary of the site's initial launch. Featured there is my own personally created ASCII art!
By the way, all contributions are welcome.HyperText Lyric Sheet