‘Existential redemptionism’ defined12/4/2013
Todd Partridge has something to sell you.
It’s more than just merch or an album (King of the Tramps actually has two: “Good People” and last year’s “Wicked Mountain”); it’s an ethos. From the band name, to its lyrics, to the between-song banter, Partridge and his mates want to sell you on the importance of being a tramp.
“It’s something we’re trying to manufacture,” Partridge said, acquiescing to the yoke of modern life. “Obviously we’re not all tramps. But I think everyone’s kind of got a little tramp in them. That spirit of adventure — maybe that ‘fuck you’ spirit, too. Everyone gets tired of their job once in a while and wants to hit a romanticized version of the road.”
And that “the road,” as opposed to just a road, is what KoT is peddling. It’s something that Partridge calls “existential redemptionism.”
“It’s kind of a bullshit term,” he admits. “But it centers around the idea of ‘yeah, I screwed up last night, but now it’s morning and all’s forgiven.’ ”
It also centers around really, really good music. Something King of the Tramps has in spades. Most of it comes from Partridge’s pen, but it’s brought to life by five guys who are dedicated musicians and stalwart friends.
“I think it’s driven by two things,” Partridge explained. “First, I’m kind of hyper and a little vocal. And the other thing is that the band just gets along so fabulously. It’s pretty rare that everyone in a band of five guys gets along all the time. But we really do. And it just naturally rolls onto stage.
“We had no preconceptions. I think all we were trying to attain was just having a good time with the music. We’re all very serious about music, but for me personally, if it wasn’t fun, if it became a miserable experience, I’ll drop it in a second. But I don’t think that’s ever going to happen, because these guys are just so much fun to play with.”
And that’s at the heart of what being a tramp is all about. It’s that old cliché: “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” The Tramps love what they do. And it’s an infectious spirit.
“People respond to it well,” Partridge said. “I think everyone leaves a little happier than when they got there.” CV