Fruit Bats started in the mid 1990’s as the four-track project of Eric D. Johnson (of The Shins, Califone & Vetiver) The name “Fruit Bats” was actually one of many cryptic monikers scrawled on the cassettes. Somehow that one stuck. Some of the other band names included “Holiday Inn,” and “Senseless Tripe.” For a number of years there were many warbling, feedback laden tapes, but no shows and no band.
In early 2000, Johnson joined the cast of characters that made up Califone and the whole Perishable Records family. It was this kinship with a bunch of like minded folks that coaxed the Fruit Bats from out of the bedroom and turned the shy lo-fi project into a real band.
Brian Deck produced the first record, Echolocation, which featured hi-fi versions of many of the old four-track tunes. The album sold poorly, but garnered rave reviews in places like Mojo and The Village Voice, the latter calling it “a mini-masterpiece of zoology rock.” Shows were offered, and a band was hastily put together. The lineup would remain ever shifting after that, always revolving around Johnson and a rotating cast of characters.
Fruit Bats would sign with Sub Pop records in 2002 and release 4 successful records with the venerable Seattle imprint. They then toured the world, played on the TV and had a generally great time. Besides the aforementioned “zoology rock,” the two best obscure genres the Fruit Bats have been linked to by the press are “bootgazer,” and “rustic pop.” So there you go.
They'll be touring with My Morning Jacket in fall 2015, and will release their sixth full-length in early 2016.