Oh, the good ol’ days of MySpace. Once upon a time, way before Twitter, Facebook and Instagram became the Holy Trinity of social media platforms, you had to go over to MySpace in order to holla at people. And that’s how the story of Baby Baby begins.
Back in 2009, while attending the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, lead guitarist/vocalist Fontez Brooks hit drummer Grant Wallace up with a friend request. “I sent him a message on MySpace, and I was like, ‘Well, let’s play the same music. Let’s be friends.’ And here we are.”
They eventually became roommates, with Brooks plucking away at his acoustic guitar while Wallace played with cool bands.
“So, one night,” remembers Brooks, “when he was out at a bar or something, I went into his room and recorded some songs on (computer recording program) GarageBand and then he heard them. He was like, ‘Dude, I should play drums.’ And I was like, ‘OK.’ And, so, from that, we just, like, never, ever gave up.”
Now based in Atlanta, Baby Baby is a quartet, with bassist Hsiang-Ming Wen and percussionist Colin Boddy filling out the group. Brooks says the band continues to pursue their dreams, even when it appears the city they live in don’t have their backs. “We didn’t have a community to fit in,” he says. “So, we just kind of like, built our own, and it kind of snowballed into this thing where it’s my whole life.”
Ever since they started playing professionally, they’ve referred to their raucous party music as “fun rock.” Brooks attests that their music is a wilder version of the power-pop/pop-punk jams they grew up listening to.
“Our sound is an accumulation of each of our influences,” he says. “Our sound is America – it’s a melting pot.”
“Melting pot” could also be a good way to describe the band, which consists of two African-American guys, one white dude and an Asian fellow, all 28. Brooks doesn’t talk much about the band’s multicultural lineup, mostly because he gets a kick out of going onstage and baffling audience members who weren’t ready for the different shades.
“When we get onstage opening for a bigger band, as I set up my guitar, you can see the looks in their eyes, like, ‘What the (expletive) is about to happen?’”
Baby Baby has performed on more welcoming stages, like Atlanta’s Afropunk Fest last August. Currently on tour promoting their latest album “Semi Famous,” they’ll be doing a Halloween Eve show at downtown Raleigh’s Neptunes Parlour. (They’ll be back in the Triangle next month, doing a show at Local 506 in Chapel Hill.)
As someone who was always “the black guy at a rock show,” Brooks is seizing every opportunity he can to get onstage and prove that he, and other dark-skinned artists like him, can rock as hard as any paleface with a guitar.
“I wanna change everything, as far as the way black people are viewed – what we can and cannot do,” he says. “That’s the best part about being a black guitarist, honestly: people’s – I don’t want to say ‘ignorance’ – but their inability to believe that a black guy can do this. I don’t want them to change on their own. I want to change that for them.”
And, remember, if you want to reach out to the band, you can hit them up on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and – yes – MySpace!
Who: Baby Baby, with Weird Pennies and Mighty
When: 9 p.m. Sunday
Where: Neptunes Parlour, 14 W. Martin St., Raleigh
Details: 919-833-1091 or kingsraleigh.com