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Columbus’ Own: Worn Flints bring nostalgia of the ’60s

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Kenny Stiegele of The Worn Flints plays guitar and Jake Smith of The Worn Flints plays drums during a performance. Credit: Courtesy of Ben Goldfarb

Kenny Stiegele of The Worn Flints plays guitar and Jake Smith of The Worn Flints plays drums during a performance. Credit: Courtesy of Ben Goldfarb

In an attempt to shine light on local music, The Lantern’s “Columbus’ Own” is a weekly series that will profile a new Columbus band each week.

A defunct lighter during a smoke break sparked the name of the blues and psychedelic rock band from Columbus: The Worn Flints.

The quartet’s sound is reminiscent of Joe Cocker and other ’60s psychedelic rock bands with its ballads and hard-hitting instrumental interludes.

“Multiple years ago, I reached out via Facebook in need of someone to help record some music ideas I had,” said Kenny Stiegele, who does guitar, piano and vocals. He said bassist Steve Trabulsi was the first to answer the call and suggested Jake Smith to be the drummer.  

The three guys played together for a while but wanted to diversify their vocals. That’s when vocalist Emma Swysgood was brought on.

As a newer collective, the music careers of the four artists are supported financially by jobs in the service industry. Stiegele said each band member works in a restaurant.

“I think the goal is to get to a point where we can simply live comfortably off of the art that we make,” Trabulsi said. “If we could write an album, go on tour, then come back home and do it again, while not having to wait tables just to get by, I think we’d be pretty satisfied with that. Who wouldn’t?”

The Worn Flint’s first album, “If I Stay Awake,” was made in a friend’s basement without a label. Its newest album, “Second Sun,” was also independently financed, but recorded in Relay Studios. Both are available on Spotify, iTunes and Bandcamp.

“One song that I’ve been revisiting a lot recently is ‘Wide Eyes’ off of the most recent album ‘Second Sun,’” Swysgood said. “It hits a different vein from typical Worn Flints sound, but really showcases the band, not just our musical ability but our passion and our ability to express it through the music.”

The band has played in A&R Music Bar, Skully’s Music Diner and in the Big Room Bar. But its biggest show to date was opening for Alabama Shakes at the Lifestyles Community Pavilion back in September.

“Supporting local music is extremely important,” Trabulsi said. “I mean, we’ve never even toured outside of Ohio, and we were fortunate enough to play in front of thousands of people as the opener for Alabama Shakes. That kind of opportunity doesn’t come without the support that we’ve received from the people of Columbus.”

The Worn Flints is the first band Swysgood has been involved in, and she said it took her some time to get acclimated.

I had a bout of serious stage fright in the beginning of my time with the Flints, like to the point of almost backing out of the opportunity to play with them,” she said. “But now live shows are my absolute favorite thing.”

Trabulsi said live shows are an exhilarating experience.

“Getting that roar from the crowd is the absolute best high I could imagine, and you don’t get that roar without working for it,” Trabulsi said.

The members of the Worn Flints aren’t sure where they see themselves in the future but said they have faith in their sound.

The ‘Dreamland’ response would be the cover of Rolling Stone, selling out stadiums, but reality is we don’t know,” Stiegele said. “We could change our name and leave the country next year. Just know that whatever name we’re under or wherever we are at, we will be playing good music.”

The Worn Flints will be performing at Brew Brothers at Scioto Downs Racino this Thursday for a CD102.5 FM local showcase at 9 p.m. Admission is free.

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