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Karate Coyote packs a punch of alternative rock into Columbus

Courtesy of Ted Bigham

Karate Coyote grew from a pack of friends in Ohio into a band putting out a CD with production help from a few famous names: a member of O.A.R. and the engineer behind a Maroon 5 album.

Drummer Ted Bigham gave the band its name.

“I picked it mainly because of the alliteration,” Bigham said. “There were six people in the band, each word had six letters and coyotes travel in packs of six. We found that out after, but it was pretty cool to find out.”

Despite the wit of its name as a sextet, Karate Coyote is now comprised of five members: Bigham, guitarists Eric Vescelius and Nic Jados and his sister, keyboardist and vocalist Kendra Jados ­- all of whom attended Upper Arlington High School – and vocalist and guitarist Ryan Horn.

The group recently released a self-titled album Sept. 28 with production help from by O.A.R. saxophonist Jerry DePizzo and Mike Landolt, who engineered Maroon 5’s multi-platinum 2002 album “Songs About Jane.”

Horn said members of the group were in a “weird sort of flux” after college with many of them wondering where they would fit in the world. The band formed in June 2007.

“This band was it,” he said. “We’re always meeting new people, meeting new bands, playing new venues, getting involved in things we never thought we would’ve.”

The sixth and original member of the band, vocalist Sam Corlett, left the group in September 2010 and was temporarily replaced by Horn’s friend, April Kitchen, who later left to pursue other music outlets.

“We had an introspective look at the setup and thought, maybe we’re supposed to be a little 5-person setup,” Bigham said.

Kendra Jados said she doesn’t mind being left as the only female in the band.

“I knew all of April’s parts, so when April left the band, it wasn’t all that big an adjustment,” she said. “It’s fun to represent as the only female of the band.”

Similar to the coming of its lineup, the group went through a few trials of identifying its sounds before it felt comfortable labeling itself as alternative rock.

“We played some funk and blues for a while and some jazz, but always rock,” Nic Jados said.

Bigham added, “We’re an indie band that plays (alternative) rock.”

Horn said he hears a different sound in the music though, mentioning the band sounds more like a pop group.

“There’s also a lot of mathematics, a lot of jazz theory that’s just strewn about it. It’s smart rock that has the sheen of pop,” Horn said. “Regardless of what we do, it will always sound (like) pop. We’re into harmonies, the pop structure, but we go away from that.”

Since its formation, Bigham said, the group has played larger shows, such as CD102.5 Summerfest, and with bigger names, including Matt and Kim, Spoon, The Von Bondies, Rogue Wave and Local H.

When playing live, the group said it likes to rediscover its youth.

“As geriatric as it makes us sound, when we have shows, it’s the freedom to just have that sort of college-esque era back, that one little chunk of time where nothing else matters but what’s coming out of your mouth or whatever you’re strumming or whatever you’re hitting on a keyboard,” Horn said.

He said the band has also performed with “a couple random ’90s bands, a youth group, a handful of different bands,” and credited the band’s residence in Columbus for its success thus far.

“Columbus is a great city to be in a band in,” he said. “It’s a great scene (with) great places to play (and) not too far from other cities … Everybody from sound guys to bands to producers, it’s all interconnected in Columbus.”

Karate Coyote is slated to perform next at 9 p.m. Friday at the Rumba Cafe. Tickets are available for $5.

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