Six years ago, I got to see one of my favorite bands, the Transistor Tramps, perform live at the Cellar, which is now a parking lot. The lead singer, Elle Hurley, looked like she was 20 months pregnant and big as a house. So, after this show, they decided to take some time off.
But unknown to anyone in the Cellar that night, Hurley was seriously ill. She had contracted hepatitis C, and she had other priorities.
“At that point, I needed to spend every moment I could with my family because I didn’t know if I was going to live or not,” she says now.
In 2014, a new drug was released, and though Hurley had to travel to India in order to get it, she’s doing fine now. She has a new lease on life, and as a special favor to a special fan — the Transistor Tramps do, too.
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“Aside from people having expressed an interest in having us come back. My daughter who is going to be 18 soon requested for her birthday — the one thing that she wanted was for Transistor Tramps to get back together,” Hurley said. “And we had been talking about it. We never really intended to walk away from it forever.”
Chloe, the oldest child of Elle and guitarist Richard Hurley, used to hang out at practice as a child — and is even on one of the Tramps’ recordings.
The band’s last EP, called “Transistor Tramps,” is available online, but there is even more material to be released — and they’ve already started working on new tunes.
“We had music to put out a full album,” said Richard Hurley, “but we wanted to get something out really quick, so we put out an EP. We’re going to release the full monty, the whole thing. There’ll be some things tweaked, but we’re already looking forward to writing together.”
The band, in its current incarnation, is Elle (vocals), Richard (guitar), David Sebrind (keyboards) and Jason Sweatt (drums).
“I always enjoy recording a lot with David, and our producer Jim King,” Richard said. “He’s phenomenal. He’s kinda like our George Martin. He’s totally the kind of guy who’s like, ‘Maybe you should try that guitar solo again.’ He doesn’t just sit there and let a clunker go.”
On July 15, at Lola’s Saloon, the Tramps will hit the stage with local rock stars Dead Vinyl and Panic Volcanic opening. Ansley “The Destroyer” Dougherty, Panic Volcanic’s lead singer, is a fan of Elle’s, and the feeling is mutual.
“I like her and she’s got some serious skills. She’s like Janis Joplin to me. That’s the level I see her at. I’m just like ‘Get past 27, get past 27. Don’t join that club,’ ” Elle said, referring to the pop-culture legend that so many influential musicians have died at the age of 27. “I think she’ll surpass that. She’s amazing!”
The Hurleys promise there will be special guests joining them onstage, and once they have this show under their belts, it will be back to playing and creating as before. Can’t wait to see what they’ll do with it.