What do you get when crossing a trailer park with five guys and their musical instruments of mass destruction? An eclectic orchestra fueled by the love of partying and rock ‘n’ roll.
The Trailer Park Orchestra consists of Chris Sealey (bass), Joe Potts (guitar), Louis Money (vocals), Brian Pell (percussion) and Bull Bentley (guitar). Bentley said that everyone played in different bands with each other before and Money describes the members as “local music veterans.” Money said TPO did not feel complete until Potts joined the band and Sealey, (who joined last year) was the icing on top. Potts joined the band after he helped them record their first demo at his studio, JP Audio Labs.
After jamming out for the first time one night four years ago, they were at their trailer park when they first conceived their name. “We were actually writing the song which is now “Lot 312,” Money said. “I was sitting there trying to think of a name, and I was thinking I like the name Trailer Park and it started to hit me, what is another name for a band? Trailer Park Orchestra, and as soon as I said it everyone in the room was like ‘that’s it.’”
On Nov. 3 the orchestra will commence after a five-month hiatus (due to Pell’s recovery from an operation) at Bessemer Billiards, located at 1207 E. Bessemer Ave. in Greensboro, from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. Also playing will be Desired Redemption and Katelyn Masters.
This show is apart of their monthly First Fridays, which has been a recurring event for four years that features three bands. Typically one band is from out of town, Money said. Bentley said there is usually three different styles of music, such as blues, metal, cover bands, country, etc.
Even though the band hasn’t been performing for five months, TPO has been writing and making music on and off in Potts’s home studio. TPO also had a once-in-a-lifetime chance to collaborate with a hip-hop Hall of Famer, Special K. He appears on their new song that will be on their second and upcoming album, Deep Fried Double Wide, called “Peed On a Stick,” and was written by Money after his girlfriend told him she was pregnant. Money met Special K in Greensboro when he was involved with Triad Old School at a Kool Moe Dee show and after they became friends and TPO has even unexpectantly performed with him before.
“We became Facebook friends and when I went to New York City he said to hit him up so I did and we hung out,” Money said. “I was walking in the south Bronx with Special K down the grand concourse, how many trailer park guys get to do that? It’s pretty awesome.”
Another new song called, “Tate Street Hipsters” will also be on their upcoming second album. This song stems from the band’s collective frustration with the lack of participation and support for local music by Tate Street hipsters. Bentley recalled a time when Special K hopped on stage with them at the Blind Tiger and started performing. Bentley said that there were Tate Street hipsters there at the show, and, “they didn’t know that there was literally hip-hop royalty performing for them.”
TPO’s music can be described as, “if Lynyrd Skynyrd was reincarnated and grew up with old-school metal, old-school punk and old-school hip-hop,” Money said. Overall, there is significant Southern rock, metal and punk influence ingrained in their music.
“If Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Ramones had an illegitimate child it would be us,” Bentley said.
Money said their style and genre goes back to the whole Tate Street hipsters conundrum. “If we play at a metal bar we stick out like a sore thumb because we are not as heavy as everyone else,” Money said. “If we go play some of the Tate Street-area venues everyone is looking at us like we are the death metal band.”
Potts wanted to point out that despite their band name being “Trailer Park Orchestra” and them being five burly, white men doesn’t mean they are what they seem.
“A lot of times I think we are mistaken or presumed to be,” Potts said as Bentley interjected, “Country rednecks.”
“Or more conservative than we are,” Potts said. “In fact, we have written several songs about equal rights and gay rights.”
“But not in a political way,” Bentley said finishing Potts’s sentence.
“Not in a political way, but almost coincidentally that we are actually kind of good, swell people,” Potts said. “I think once a lot of people get to know us they are surprised or shocked to find out that the trailer park is kind of a nice place to be.”
Deep Fried Double Wide is expected to come out in February 2018, but TPO plans to preview a couple of their songs before the end of the year. From here on out, TPO will perform at every First Friday event and on Feb. 17 they plan to play a benefit show for Triad Health Project at Somewhere Else Tavern.
Katie Murawski is the editor of YES! Weekly. She is from Mooresville, North Carolina and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in film studies from Appalachian State University in 2017.
See TPO at Bessemer Billiards on Friday, Nov. 3 at 9 p.m. Follow them on social media for more information, @thetrailerparkorchestra