The Karl Hendricks Trio is a rock band from Pittsburgh. They have released seven albums, toured, and have occasionally played as a four-piece rock band. Now firmly a trio again, the band's latest album was 2007's The World Says (with Alexei Plotnicov as a second guitarist). The current line-up includes Jake Leger on drums and Corey Layman (Developer) on bass. Hendricks, as he always has, plays guitar, sings and writes the songs. The Trio is still active in Pittsburgh, preparing for an eighth album, going out on short tours and playing occasional local shows.
The moody, muscular indie-rock band dubbed the Karl Hendricks Trio formed in 1991 following the break-up of their nominal leader's previous band, Sludgehammer. Hendricks, a singer-guitarist born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1970, first began writing songs and releasing cassettes while in his teens; while working a day job in a record store, he formed the Trio with bassist Tim Parker and drummer Tom Hoffman. The band played their first show on New Year's Eve 1991 and recorded their first album a couple of weeks later. Released on LP on Hendricks' own label, 1992's Buick Electra garnered national attention and sold out quickly.
The Trio recorded two albums worth of material during the later months of 1992, and early in 1993, the mini-album Some Girls Like Cigarettes was released as a 10". A few months later, Misery and Women was released and the band toured for the first time.
In 1994, Buick Electra was reissued on CD. The Trio's next new album was 1995's A Gesture of Kindness, the first recorded by Brian Paulson, who would also work on the band's next two albums. A Gesture of Kindness was also the last one to feature the original rhythm section of Hoffman and Parker.
Later in 1995, Merge Records reissued Some Girls Like Cigarettes on CD. Len Jarabeck joined on bass and the band recorded their first completely new album for Merge, 1996's For a While, It Was Funny. The next album was 1998's Declare Your Weapons, the first to feature Kress on bass. Noah Leger also replaced Hoffman on drums.
From later in 1998 to 2000, the band expanded to a quartet (now dubbed the "Karl Hendricks Rock Band") with Matt Jencik on second guitar and Chris Emerson on drums. This version of the band, except for one single, did not do much recording. In 2001, the band returned to a trio, with Jake Leger taking over on drums. In 2002, the band started recording their next album for Merge, The Jerks Win Again.
The band did a cross-country tour in 2003 in support of The Jerks Win Again. After the tour, Kress quit to pursue other things. In 2004, Len Jarabeck returned to the bass slot. Also, A Gesture of Kindness – long out-of-print – was reissued on CD by Spirit of Orr. Hendricks continues writing new songs and the band recorded the follow-up to The Jerks… in 2006. The World Says was released in 2007.
The band's sound and approach has changed some over the years. The early years presented a fervently confessional side of Hendricks, and the youthful heartbreak in the lyrics was embodied in the band's spirited performances. In more recent years, Hendricks' lyrics have become more outward-looking and his guitar playing has become more expansive. The band's performance, however, remain just as ardent, and, well, loud. Overall, the band seeks to always become better at what they do, and the mission of the Karl Hendricks Trio has been the same from the beginning: to write good rock songs and present them in a genuine, uncompromising fashion.
Though relative strangers to the road at times, the Karl Hendricks Trio has toured significantly in the past. Among the bands they've toured with are Superchunk, Smog, Low, My Dad Is Dead, Butterglory, Kind of Like Spitting and Small 23. They've also played shows with, among others, Silkworm, Don Caballero, The Mekons, The Spinanes, The Shipping News, New Bomb Turks, Labradford, Hayden, Joel R.L. Phelps, Magic Hour, Hurl and even - on one strange evening in Hoboken - Steve Earle.
Karl Hendricks has also served as a bass player in Thee Speaking Canaries and Developer.