Sleeper Agent keeps Bowling Green connections strong

Courtesy of Sam Citron

Chris Rutledge

Life for the Sleeper Agent band members has changed a lot in a short time.

They’ve spent most of the year opening for popular bands such as Cage The Elephant and Manchester Orchestra. They were Rolling Stone‘s “Band to Watch” in its Sept. 1 edition.

And so, the band members have all recently moved back in with their parents.

Singer-guitarist Tony Smith said while the members are missing their band house, they’re not fretting over the decision to move back home.

“It’s just to save money,” he said.

In fact, the Bowling Green sextet is in good spirits.

They’ve just arrived back in town after opening for O.A.R. in Atlanta and are awaiting the release of their new album, “Celabrasion” (Mom + Pop Music), out Sept. 27.

Smith described the album as 35 minutes of face-bashing, energetic, raw rock and roll.

“It’s our first official release,” Smith said. “Sleeper Agent over the years has released a couple of EPs and one independent record. This is the first one that’s actually going to be distributed.”

Opening for successful bands has helped Sleeper Agent gain recognition.

“Through those tours we start to build our own fan base,” Smith said.

Cage the Elephant, in particular, has been huge supporters of Sleeper Agent.

Cage The Elephant guitarist Brad Shultz said that before his band got big, he and his bandmates would spend a lot of time hanging around with other musicians in Bowling Green.

“Everybody would always jam together,” Shultz said. “Tony and Justin (Wilson) and some of those guys were a part of that circle.”

Smith said the two bands keep each other in check.

“We try to make sure what they’re doing is cool and what we’re doing is cool,” he said. “That we’re writing good songs and what not.”

As for Rolling Stone, Smith still hasn’t quite wrapped his head around that.

“It’s one of those things where you’re out there doing it, or you’re at home waiting around,” he said. “So you don’t really know what’s going on until someone sort of nudges you and tells you about it.”

Despite the newfound success, Sleeper Agent continues to play house parties around Bowling Green, a trend Smith expects to continue.

“If we’re in town for too long, we get kind of anxious and bored,” Smith said. “We try to pick up local shows just to keep on our game and to see all of our friends.”

Smith is a WKU alumnus. He graduated in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design Visual Art.

“I spent five years there,” Smith said. “I actually worked at the Herald for a few semesters. I worked at Revolution too. I think I got just about everything WKU out of my system.”

Bowling Green sophomore Ashley Jenkins saw Sleeper Agent two weeks ago at a house party. She didn’t come for the band, but she had a good time.

“I’d never been to a party that had a band,” Jenkins said. “They were pretty cool. Everyone was doing their little head banging thing.”

When Jenkins heard the band was Rolling Stone’s “Band to Watch,” her eyes widened and her apathy disappeared.

“That’s pretty awesome,” she said. “I can’t believe I saw them at some random party.”

Shultz said he isn’t surprised with Sleeper Agent’s success.

“It’s been a long time coming for them,” he said. “I think there are several bands in Bowling Green that, and I don’t want to curse anything, but there’s a lot of bands in Bowling Green just waiting for their time.”

Smith remains optimistic about the band’s future, but doesn’t feel the band has quite reached a point it’s satisfied with yet.

“You’ve got articles coming out, and you’re “Band to Watch,” and you see the reviews, but at the same time you feel like you’re just a Bowling Green band who’s pretty much in the same place we were, just with some recognition,” he said.

“You just show up on time, play as hard as possible and if people dig it, they dig it. Hopefully it will go further.”

In the meantime, the band members will continue to live with their parents in Bowling Green and play parties in their time off, giving locals the perfect opportunity to take Rolling Stone’s advice.