Night Beats are an American psychedelic/garage rock band, formed in 2009 in Seattle, Washington. The band consists of lead singer and guitarist Danny "Lee Blackwell" Rajan Billingsley, drummer James Traeger and bassist Jakob Bowden.
The band incorporate elements of early R&B, Texas psychedelic rock, English blues rock, folk and soul and have toured with the likes of The Black Angels (band) (in the UK, Europe and U.S.), Roky Erickson, The Zombies, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Strange Boys, Black Lips, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and The Growlers.
Danny "Lee Blackwell" Rajan Billingsley had previously fronted various bands in his hometown of Dallas, Texas including The Old Explosives, White Light Fever and Medicine God Box. With White Light Fever, who were initially called Japanese Auto Clinic, he released debut album Heavy Knife Blues in 2007 and the band were reportedly courted by Columbia Records. A second album Count All Your Father’s Wealth was seemingly abandoned.
Raised Catholic and Hindu, Billingsley moved to Seattle to study comparative religion at the University of Washington. Leaving Dallas, which he saw as "a wasteland of music", he founded Night Beats in 2009. Named after the Sam Cooke album Night Beat, the solo self-recorded Street (Atomic) EP was released that year via Holy Twist Records. After trying out a couple of different lineups, he asked high school friend and former B.B Mercy drummer James Traeger who was studying in Austin, Texas to move to Seattle to join Night Beats. After playing a duo for a while, they recruited bassist Tarek Wegner in January 2010. Wegner, originally from Tacoma, Washington, had previously played with The Drug Purse and Paris Spleen.
The Night Beats toured extensively early on, completing multiple North American tours during 2010 and were signed within weeks of self-releasing the H-Bomb EP. Picked up by Chicago's Trouble in Mind Records (Ty Segall, Fresh and Only's, Hex Dispensers, etc.). The re-release of the EP topped several college radio charts competing with other Artists' full-length efforts.
In 2011, the band released a split EP with The UFO Club on the Austin label The Reverberation Appreciation Society.
In June 2012, The band released a split single with TRMRS on Volcom Vinyl Club.
On September 24, 2013, the band released their second album Sonic Bloom via The Reverberation Appreciation Society. They toured North America, Europe, Israel, South Africa and Australia in support of the album.
In late 2014 Tarek Wegner left the band. No announcement was made, it only becoming apparent when new press shots were released with a different bassist. He has since gone on to release solo material.
In 2015, the band signed to London-based label Heavenly Recordings and released their third album Who Sold My Generation in January 2016. The album featured Black Rebel Motorcycle Club member Robert Levon Been on bass, who also co-produced the album. The band recruited Jakob Bowden to tour the album.
In September 2016, the band embarked on a UK/EU tour without drummer James Traeger. Throughout 2017, drummer Evan Snyder toured with the band.
Through a US tour supporting Black Rebel Motorcycle Club 2018, Jonah Swilley played drums with the band. Traeger's absence from tours hasn't been commented on or acknowledged.
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