Kangaroo Court guitarist brings passion to stage


Sydney Laput

University alumnus Garrett Frank plays the guitar outside of the Illini Union on Saturday. Frank recently joined the band Kangaroo Court last fall.

By Olivia Rosenberg, Assistant buzz Editor

Garrett Frank, who graduated from the University this past December with a degree in geology, said he first discovered his love for music from the influences at home. 

“To me, the world of music was through my parents,” Frank said. “My mom was a big Fleetwood Mac fan, and my dad was a big The Doors fan. Through those two avenues, I discovered classic rock originally, which I feel like is true for a lot of people in our generation, just listening to what our parents listened to. That was my foundation.” 

Building upon the foundation created with the help from his family, it was not until he discovered his own musical inspirations that his passion for playing really grew. 

“I had a really cool friend that introduced me to The Strokes, and from there, it was game over,” Frank said. “I wanted to be Albert Hammond Jr., their guitar player. The love I had for early Strokes material pushed me to want to learn the guitar. I wanted to be a Stroke, and I wanted to be on stage looking cool playing a guitar.”

Once the passion struck to start performing, Frank went straight into playing the bass in a church band with friends during his freshman year of high school. Being a self-taught performer, as soon as he picked up the technique by memorizing the notes on the fretboard, he was performance ready. 

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“Essentially, straight out of the gate, I was playing in front of people with my friends, having an absolute blast,” Frank said. “Pretty soon after playing bass, I transitioned my free time to playing a lot more guitar and went from there, using lessons online or getting together with my friends to play, learn and soak up everything they would teach me.” 

Fueled by his passion for playing live, Frank continued to play in different bands, creating music with all different groups. It wasn’t until this past fall that he joined his latest group, Kangaroo Court. 

“I was freshly out of a different play with a different group of people and transitioned right into this group,” Frank said. “It was perfect timing for me to be able to go straight into playing music with a different group of people. I didn’t really miss a beat.”

Besides Frank on guitar, Kangaroo Court also consists of Jake Luce on vocals and guitar, Cody Spiezil on drums and Noah Tenninson on bass. When describing their sound, Frank went on to explain the varying styles each member brings into the music and how different elements combine to make for a unique style. 

“It’s an exciting set to listen to,” Frank said. “It’s psychedelic in the sense (that) it’s hard to anticipate and punk in the sense that it’s in your face. I don’t hear a lot of stuff like ours from one band. You’d have to kind of look through a couple of different bands in a couple of different genres to get a good picture of what we sound like if you’re trying to compare it to one specific sound.” 

The band has been busy playing at various gigs in the C-U area as well as out of state in West Lafayette and Nashville with upcoming shows in both the campus area and around the Midwest.  

“To be honest,” Frank said, “I think a lot of the opportunities we get come from Jake and our manager, Mallory Mahen,  just being obsessed with this band and giving it all the push that they have. You can be great musicians and you can play great music, but if you don’t have people willing to put in the work to publicize that music and get people excited about it then it goes nowhere.”

The passion the band puts into their music is clear to members of the C-U community who continuously support their work and attend their gigs. Kangaroo Court has been popping up frequently all over the local music scene near campus. 

“With the Urbana music scene, there’s just so much love and support from those people and from the collective group,” Frank said. “What’s exciting about highlighting local music and having fun at these shows is that nobody’s taking themselves too seriously, and everyone is able to express themselves for who they are. Having support from the community is a really inspiring thing.”

Kangaroo Court is continuing their live performances as well as working on additional projects, like releasing music to streaming platforms. In their work with recording, it’s important to Frank that they stay true to the sound that’s cultivated from playing live.

“We’ve got a ton of really exciting stuff on the horizon that I’m really excited to share with the people that have been enjoying what we’re doing,” Frank said. “We’ve got a single that we’re mixing right now — it’s one of our favorite songs to play live — as well as hopefully releasing an album in 2022. If people are excited to see us live, there are tons of opportunities to do that. If they’re excited to hear us on the streaming platforms then very soon hopefully, they’ll be able to do so.”


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