Tuesday, September 21, 2021

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Sound Circuit

Back to the front


William J Locker is best known to people around town as the drummer for two of the more talented acts to grace Des Moines stages in the past decade, Bright Giant and Towncrier. The former took a break nearly two years ago and hasn’t really been heard from since. On the flip side, Towncrier — dormant for eight years now — just played a show at Gas Lamp in September to a huge crowd.

William J Locker plays Gas Lamp on Saturday, Oct. 10 at 9 p.m. Photo by Stefan Hansen

William J Locker plays Gas Lamp on Saturday, Oct. 10 at 9 p.m. Photo by Stefan Hansen

“It’s funny,” Locker said. “We hadn’t touched those songs in eight years, but when we started practicing again, it’s like we didn’t miss a beat, because we’d all kind of had them in the back of our minds all this time.”

Locker says Towncrier is looking forward to playing more shows in the future, perhaps once every six weeks or so. A larger tour isn’t in the works at the moment, but new material is almost certain to emerge.

In the meantime, Locker has surprised some fans with his new, self-named project that sees him moving from the back of the stage to the front. The act, which also features Neil Stoffregen on keys, Locker’s brother Jon on bass, Dustin Smith on drums and several guest appearances from other local musicians, is the culmination of nearly a year’s worth of practice and songwriting.

Prep Iowa

One thing that makes Locker different from the other new acts that grace the stages of Des Moines in a given year is the fact that his project has come forth seemingly fully formed. The band’s show this weekend — its second ever in town — is the release show for the Locker’s “Redhead” album, something that some local bands don’t get around to until a year or more into their existence.

“Bright Giant was taking a break,” he said, recalling how his songwriting for the project started. “I had broken up with my girlfriend, my roommate was moving to Nashville, everything was just ending all at once. It was like, ‘Well, time to move on to this new chapter.’ ”

The new chapter sounds good. Locker’s brand of rock is the kind of stuff you listen to with the windows down and the pedal to the floor. It’s music for powering through life’s good and bad with equal abandon.

“That’s the kind of music I always wanted to make,” he said. “Loud, breakup/makeup music. That’s the kind of rock album I wanted to do.” CV

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