When you hear a father and a daughter are playing music together, you definitely don’t expect rock ‘n’ roll.
Like any normal father, Kenny McClain (vocals/guitar) wanted a way to connect with his teen daughter, Inez (lead vocals/drums). That’s no easy task. Teens are notoriously full of angst and overactive hormones. They’re terrifying to just pass on the streets, let alone to live with. Luckily, Kenny already had an in: he’d started a band with his daughter when she was only 10 years old.
Today, Inez is 19 and The Exbats have released three full-length albums. Inez says she can’t see herself playing in a band with anybody else.
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“[We started the band] to be able to understand each other, essentially,” Inez tells BTRtoday. “I think [being a father-daughter duo] is an advantage because it’s an easy schedule to make, every song that we write is something we both understand—if it’s going to be about past love or about our family or just about something fun that we both like—I think it comes easy.”
Just last month The Exbats released E Is For Exbats, a 14-track album of reworked songs from the band’s history that Inez calls their greatest hits.
The Exbats, “Hercules”
They may be a family act but they don’t hold anything back. “I’m A Witch” opens with Inez singing “I’m not a bitch, I’m a witch” before breaking into a fast and fuzzed-out rocker. Tracks like “Kill Yr Boyfriend,” “Are We Dead Yet?” and “I Got Fights” are feisty with a strong thrust of hardcore riffs and heavy drum beats.
“A lot of people call us bubblegum pop or street punk, and I love those terms, they’re fantastic,” Inez says. “But to put it simply, I think we’ve evolved into a rock ‘n’ roll band.”
Inez says they’re influenced by bands like The Rolling Stones, The Monkees and, one of her favorites, The Flight of the Conchords—her dream band to tour with.
One problem being a teenager in a full-force garage and gritty rock band is the venues.
“I would say, at least in America, I’ve gone to more bars than any other 10 to 15-year-olds,” she says laughing. “We try to have all-ages shows all the time because of personal experience—I like to have people around that are my age and let them be able to listen to live music.”
Still, Inez says she has also learned a lot from being around adults so often. “It gave me perspective on adult life very quickly, which I found useful,” she says.
They plan to start working on a new album in the spring, but haven’t set an official release date yet. In the meantime, listen to the full interview with Inez of The Exbats and Ex is for Exbats in its entirety on this week’s The Music Meetup.