Fall Crazy In Love with The Infatuations

By: Toni Cunningham | August 5, 2014
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While out and about at Ferndale’s Pig & Whiskey last month, I was enjoying some phenomenal barbecue while guzzling a Disco Lemonade when, what to my wondering ears should appear, but a beautiful sound.

Standing in front of the Jack Daniels Stage, I took in the mash-up of R&B, soul, funk, pop and rock sounds that make up Detroit-based band The Infatuations. As if the gorgeous, summer Sunday couldn’t get any better, it did, as soon as “Tonight We Celebrate” filled my ears.

The Infatuations is made up of Caleb Guiterrez (lead vocals), Christian Draheim (lead guitar), The Wolf (bass), Chris Polite (guitar), Robert Myers (drums) and Nick Behnan (lead guitar). The band is quite well known around Detroit, so there’s a good chance you’ve already heard one of their songs. This year alone, The Infatuations have won five Detroit Music Awards (with 14 nominations), appeared on the cover of Real Detroit Weekly, performed at a Detroit Tigers game, and sang the National Anthem at the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.

While not all of the band’s members are from Michigan, most of them have spent the majority of their lives in the Detroit area. Draheim co-founded The Infatuations in 2009 with Marco Lowe, who works in production and writing along with the band.

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The Infatuations’ first album, “Detroit Block Party,” was released in April of this year, and as Draheim said, it’s a party soundtrack.

“It’s a summertime feel good album that you can turn on when it’s cold out to (relive) a moment in time, like the best barbecue or party you were ever at,” Draheim said.

The album was recorded in two parts: drum tracks were laid down at Rustbelt Studios in Royal Oak, and everything else was recorded at the band’s studio, Acid Grove Studios. Since releasing “Detroit Block Party,” the band has been performing a string of successful shows.

“We can fit into a lot of places musically, which creates a lot of opportunities for us,” Draheim said. “There’s something in it for everyone… we cross over culturally and (generationally).”

The band’s song, “Down Jefferson,” got its start on a whim as the guys were packing up after a rehearsal, as Behnan began a riff that rivaled Bob Seger’s “Turn the Page.”

“I remember being drawn in by the vibe of the riff. Then Caleb sang the first line, ‘When the lights go down in Detroit,’ and just hummed through some melodies,” Lowe said. “I mentioned that I thought it had tremendous potential and we should write a Detroit-themed song around that line.”

The band had been waiting for the right song to experiment adding hip-hop elements to, and this one was it. The song, according to Lowe, paints a picture of the reality and despair felt by the people of Detroit and gives those people a message of hope and love.

“Let’s stop waiting for some outside force to come in and fix things. Let’s take things into our own hands and take action on our own to rebuild Detroit. The song is meant to inspire people to come together and make this city great once again,” Draheim and Lowe said. “Some songs are difficult and laborious to translate from an idea to an actual album track, but ‘Down Jefferson’ was captured perfectly the way we envisioned it and we couldn’t be happier with the end result.”

Guiterrez said the song is pretty straightforward and literal—the opening line is setting up a scenario in which the listener can understand the real Detroit.

“’Down on Jefferson’ is a song of hope and truth,” Guiterrez said. “It specifically talks about Detroit, but the bigger message can be understood by everyone, which is about humanity coming together to make something—and in this case, some place—better for our future generations.”

With a sound that cannot fit into one specific genre, it’s no surprise that The Infatuations draw inspiration from bands and artists of various genres. Motown artists, Led Zeppelin, Def Leppard, Radiohead, Jeff Buckley, The Bee Gees and Donny Hathaway are all on the list. One thing is for sure: The Infatuations put on an amazing live show.

The band is playing several dates this summer, including a performance at New Center Park, 2990 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit, on Thursday, August 28. While the band tours all over the map and gets to explore different cities, Detroit is the one they love the most.

“Detroit is beautiful. It’s a very spiritual place for creative folks to be and grow,” Draheim said. “I hope it stays that way… Detroit, for the moment, is still sort of affordable, it’s eclectic, it’s DIY and it’s incredibly magnetic. There are a lot of great venues for bands to play. Last, but certainly not least, Detroit is the birthplace of some of the greatest music ever made. I’m honored and proud to say The Infatuations are a part of, and from, Detroit.”

For more information on The Infatuations, visit the band’s official website or Facebook page.