Nolan Kelly and Nick Ward of Flaccid said they can't remember seriously considering another name for their Bloomington-Normal based band. Ward recalled "Captain something or other." Kelly laughed and said "Once you go with Flaccid you never go back." When pressed further, Kelly adamantly said no other name came to mind. "You have to be pretty sure of yourself when you settle on a name like that" declared Kelly.
Ward and Kelly said the band name starts a few snickering conversations.
"Usually at first it's a pretty good laugh" said Kelly. "But once they hear the music or get what it's about, they're usually pretty impressed it's a little more under the surface than what they might have expected."
Flaccid played numerous Twin City house shows after forming four summers ago. They blossomed last year with a 4-song EP and a tour of the West Coast. The rock-funk-jam quintet hits the road again at the end of September for a Midwest tour in support of their new album. "All In" clocks in at roughly 40 minutes over nine songs that are filled with anguish, grief, and some regret. Even the joyful "No Dice" has the tension release of someone who just finished a grueling marathon.
"All these songs came from a certain time period" said Kelly. "I lost a real good friend at the time and was writing a lot about that."
Kelly is Flaccid's principal songwriter, with contributions from fellow guitarist and vocalist Jack Kendrick and bassist/vocalist Kyle Woith. Fans will recognize at least some of the songs on the band’s first full length album from past live performances.
"It was just a really organic process over a number of years. I do all my writing acoustically, so it all just kind of poured out. After being fortunate enough to meet these guys and start the band, it was a huge outlet to be able to see the songs through to the vision I had in my mind. There are always ideas floating around when you're writing songs, but you don't always have the right people with you to get them to that point. It's been nothing but a blessing to play with these guys."
Kelly founded Flaccid with Ward, Woith, and Kendrick. The four were later joined by keyboard player C.J. Kelly (no relation to Nolan). Kelly takes a deep breath when remembering the early iteration of the band.
"After playing together so long you build up a lot of trust” said Kelly. “ It was definitely awesome enough in its beginning form. Then we added Kyle and Jack on bass and guitar and were able to see the songs through from the vision to their bigger form. Everybody brings their own form. And especially adding C.J. We're family at this point whether we like it or not" laughed Kelly.
A little over two years ago, Flaccid won a Battle of the Bands competition at The Canopy Club in Champaign, Illinois. The prize was a highly coveted spot at Summer Camp Music Festival in Chillicothe, Illinois. Kelly said their Summer Camp experience combined with a performance at a Grateful Dead Reunion pre-show in San Jose, California infused the band with an extra dose of confidence. But Kelly said the band has believed in itself for a while.
"As you grow or get to a new plateau, or some new re-instilled sense of knowing that we're really doing good things here. I mean even from the beginning, before it was ever a thing, it was definitely great. And then as you get yourself out there and get away from playing all basement shows every weekend in your house and get out and play venues, and getting some feedback, little by little, you start to think this is a good thing. And people respond to it and enjoy it. That’s the best when other people dig it too" said Kelly.
Kelly and Ward said the band is "All In" on taking the band national. Ward had an enthusiastic laugh when he said "We'll drive around the country. And if people want to see us, that's pretty cool too."
"That's the idea" said Kelly. "We will go wherever you are."