It was nearly four months since the group Suede played for a live audience indoors. For their first concert in their 2021 “Come Back Tour,” they played Doc’s Lounge in Johnston, performing for a live-music starved audience.
“It felt like we were playing in Wells Fargo,” says Suede’s lead singer Jenn Kintzle. “The energy in the place took you to another place. It was pure joy seeing everyone singing along. I think people hadn’t listened to live music in a while.”
Suede was formed in 2015 by Kintzle and drummer Steve Lesch. Lesch explains he was doing work at someone’s home and noticed a guitar at the house. He inquired with the owner and told him he was looking for a lead singer. He gave Lesch the number for his cousin Kintzle, who had just moved to town from Pennsylvania.
The rest of the lineup includes Steven Belknap, keyboard; Michael Jones, bass guitar; Jay Parnau, guitar; and Brian Devick, sound. Lesch and Belknap played trumpets in high school band together. All of Suede’s members have played in various bands over the years, including Round About, Misfit Toys and Rathbones.
They named the band Suede, as it sounds smooth and goes with their motto, “rock and roll to move your soul.”
“It was a good fit for Jenn’s voice,” says Lesch.
The first time the band played together at a gig, Kintzle recalls being nervous.
“It had been a few years since I’d sang, and I said to the band, ‘You want only one person in the front?’ ” she asked.
“If you want to sing in the band,” Lesch replied, “you have to be in the front.”
Jitters aside, the group plays a variety of rock and roll, pop and country from the 1970s to today. All of the band members sing or harmonize. Songs include “Radar Love,” “Sweet Home Alabama,” “Bobbie McGee” and tunes by Rush, Styx, AC/DC and more.
The band was on hiatus during COVID, and Kintzle didn’t practice with the band because she is a nurse practitioner. Once she received her COVID vaccine, the band resumed practices.
“I couldn’t go to a bar and then go to a hospital to work,” she explains.
Today the band remains solid, and they are all friends.
“We have a fantastic time and go out together,” Lesch says. “Before COVID, we used to watch other bands and support them.”
The most challenging part is the late nights and tearing down and setting up gear. “It takes a toll on the body,” says Lesch. “We need our own roadies.”
Once they get playing, Lesch’s body aches disappear.
“I feel no pain when I play,” he explains. “The endorphins kick in, and the energy is amazing.”
You can catch Suede playing at the Down Under Lounge on Friday, April 9; at Doc’s Lounge on Friday, April 16; or at Kenny’s Garage in Waukee on Friday, April 30. ♦