Kids From Kentucky Break Free From Their Parents’ Basements

Kalina Nedelcheva


We gonna have a ball but we ain’t got no need for chains!”

Give it up for “Sleeper Agent,” a garage band which didn’t wait for the spotlight to find them—they found it themselves. And what a reward they got…

You might ask, “Who are they?” Well,Bowling Green,Kentuckyproves once again that it’s got talent! After funk-punk sensation, Cage the Elephant, it brings us a new rowdy rock band—Sleeper Agent, a new fresh accessory to the music industry. 

But how did it come to be? Six kids, in their early 20s (some of them even younger) happened to be in the right place, at the right time. Too good to be true? Well, theKentuckysextet wasn’t a sextet at the beginning. It started off as a duo in 2008 by guitarist, Tony Smith, and drummer, Justin Wilson. In a college town with nothing better to do, they played their music so that they could earn some money. But the two of them weren’t enough to get noticed, so they started asking around town for new members. At that time, Alex Kandel was testing her pipes in a coffee shop and when she heard the news about Sleeper Agent, she knew that she had to follow her dream to be in a rock band and threw herself head first into the project. In the beginning, they didn’t really want her since she was only 15. But how can you say no to a girl with such attitude? Not long after she was accepted, Scott Gardner (keys and synthesizer), Josh Martin (guitar) and Lee Williams (drums) joined the band and they all started jamming together, making a mix of high volume southern rock and adding a bubbly, girly vibe to their music. At first, Alex was supposed to play bass, but when her fingers prove to be too small for the instrument, they let her have a shot at vocals, and that may have been their best decision yet.

When they were graduating college, the band played their music to celebrate what Smith describes as “one last drunk summer, before they all had to grow up.” Around that time, producer Jay Joyce, who basically made Cage the Elephant who they are today, heard an early demo of Sleeper Agent and appeared to be interested in their joyful, fun-loving sound. His offer seemed too good to be true, but the second call assured the Kentucky kids that this was reality. TheHollywoodof rebel-alternative rock found them a place, and on March 2, 2011, they had their first tour alongside their “family,” Cage the Elephant.

“Trick and treats and fees and holds/ Buy you a diamond cut from coal/ But I can’t! And I won’t!” shouts 18 year old Alex into the microphone during their first official music video “Get it Daddy,” which is one of the twelve drag-racing, garage-pop songs included in their debut album “Celebration.” Full of girly cuteness and fresh retro sound, the video highlights the attitude of theKentuckysextet towards life.