Watch: The Young Evils play the shirt guitar on TV

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The Young Evils dropped by KING 5 TV’s New Day Northwest morning show yesterday to promote their Noise for the Needy show (which is happening tonight at the Crocodile). The band played the poppy phone sex anthem “Touch Tone Lovers” off their excellent four-song EP Foreign Spells, which is set to be released July 10.

A band appearing on TV playing a new song off a new album sounds pretty normal, right? Well things get pretty awesome during The Young Evils’ performance right from the get go when Cody Hurd strikes a string on his guitar. But Hurd’s guitar isn’t an ordinary guitar. Hurd’s guitar is a playable, amplified, guitar that is a part of his shirt. Check it out in the clip above. The shirt guitar playing starts at around the 40-second mark.

I caught up with The Young Evils at a Capitol Hill bar last night when they were fresh from band practice and we chatted about Foreign Spells, the local music scene, Pearl Jam and, of course, the shirt guitar.

The “guitar” became a part of the band’s repertoire when Eric Wennberg, the group’s drummer, bought it as a gift for bandmate Michael Lee.

“I found it on this website called thisiswhyimbroke.com. It’s the website with all this ostentatious, random stuff to buy and I thought, I have to buy this for somebody and he was the first person I thought of, so I just ordered it,” explained Wennberg.

Lee said the group wanted to offer up something a bit more than just standing around and playing their instruments during their New Day Northwest appearance.

“We were trying to think of something fun to do for local daytime TV and that seemed like a good answer,” he said.

However, the shirt didn’t fit Lee which is how Hurd ended up strumming his shirt on television while playing a drum machine. The band was both surprised and pleased they were able to pull it off.

“It’s wired to a little amp that clips onto your pocket and you can plug it into a real amp too, which is what we did,” explained vocalist Mackenzie Mercer. “It ended up working really well.”

The success of the shirt guitar’s maiden voyage has left the band in a somewhat comical quandary.

“I think what we are all grappling with is if this is the last you’ll see of it, or if there will be future uses for the shirt guitar,” Lee said with a laugh. “We’ll probably retire it.”

You can catch The Young Evils perform at the Crocodile tonight with the Redwood Plan and Land of Pines as part of the annual Noise for the Needy series (9 p.m., $10) and you can get your own playable shirt guitar over here.

Travis Hay

About Travis Hay

Travis Hay is a professional music journalist who has spent the past 13 years documenting and enjoying Seattle's diverse music scene. In 2009 he established Guerrilla Candy and is currently the site's editor and publisher. He has written for various media outlets including MSN Music, the Seattle-Post Intelligencer, Seattle Weekly, Crosscut.com and others and was the founder and former editor of the defunct music site Ear Candy.