Formed in Lawrence, KS in 2005.

Radio station: Listen to music by Percival

Past shows


Alt / Indie rock, Country / Rockabilly


Name Released Label
Album cover Indian Summer EP 2006


Fresh from recording their debut EP with producer JP Bowersock (Ryan Adams & The Cardinals, The Strokes), Lawrence, Kansas-based Percival is back on the road and spreading the word. With a growing buzz in the Midwest, Percival is a new alternative-country rock band whose songs explore the rich territory where old-school rock 'n' roll, rockabilly, roadhouse country, and electric blues overlap. Influenced by artists such as Ryan Adams & the Cardinals, Neil Young, The Band, Chris Isaak, Uncle Tupelo, Hank Williams, and The Grateful Dead, Percival plays original music that sounds fresh and exudes a timeless quality.

While they are best known for the strength of their songs, Percival also stands out for their collaborative musicianship, ensemble playing, and improvisation. Each member of Percival is a multi-instrumentalist, and their live shows highlight in-the-moment playing that reveals both a rootsy approach to old-fashioned musicianship, and a simple love for sharing their music with a live audience.

Percival was founded in 2005 by singer-songwriter-guitarist Justin Klinksick, guitarist-bassist-drummer Oliver Zeltner, and drummer-guitarist-percussionist Tom Reid. When it comes to recording and performing music, Percival espouses a distinctly old-school ethic.The members of Percival believe that songs are best served when recorded as close to "live" as possible, even in the studio. They resist the temptation to encumber their recordings with fancy recording tricks, gratuitous overdubs, or digital effects. Instead, they prefer to let the songs-and the performances-speak for themselves.

Live and in the studio, Percival strives for a sense of directness, honesty, and immediacy that is sorely lacking in most popular music today. "It's all about the song," Zeltner says. "It's about creating music that is authentic and genuine and that refuses to adopt the trendy affectations and gimmicks of the moment. We want to make music that still sounds good 10, 20, or even 50 years from now. So I guess our job is two-fold: to write good songs, but also to let them breathe and exist on their own terms."

The band also has quite a story to tell. A short time after Percival was formed, in November 2005, guitarist Oliver Zeltner and his wife were honeymooning in the Arkansas Ozarks (long story involving a hurricane). Over dinner one evening, Oliver was talking with his new bride about buying a new guitar when a traveling salesman, from behind an outspread atlas, piped up from across the room. "Gettin' a guitar?" he asked. "Yep." "Go Gretsch," the stranger replied. Thinking he was a Telecaster man, Oliver thought little of the exchange until, two weeks later, when he found himself staring down a lovely Gretsch Tennessee Rose in a local shop. Taken by the guitar's beauty, and remembering the stranger's words, Oliver plunked down money he really shouldn't have spent, and took it home.

At home, however, he struggled at first to adjust to the new guitar--lots of knobs and switches--so, one night, he posted a question on a popular online forum about how to coax lively sounds from a Gretsch. The first person who replied was none other than JP Bowersock, one of Oliver's favorite guitarists who played with Ryan Adams & The Cardinals, and served as "Guru" to The Strokes. In between receiving guitar pointers, JP asked Oliver to send him a CD of his current band--just to be friendly, probably. That night, Oliver and Justin stayed up past dawn recording a rough home-demo of their new band, Percival, to send to JP. Not expecting much beyond some friendly constructive criticism, they mailed the CD and waited.

When the call came, JP was blasting the home-demo in the background. "Hello, Oliver, this is JP Bowersock," he said, "I've heard one and a half songs so far, and I'm in." JP asked Percival to come to New York as soon as they could to record with him. Amazed, they agreed to his offer and only later contemplated how things might have turned out differently if that salesman in Arkansas hadn't said anything about a guitar.