"The bottom of the barrel," she adds, "is a show where you show up and they say, 'Who are you?' Then you end up sulking, not playing a show and not making any money."

While such a page could be taken straight from the travails of any new outfit, it didn't make the strain any less onerous. But it caused the band to focus on refining its sound, which led to more time playing in Fort Collins and, eventually, the arrival of a new drummer. Six months ago, former Dovekins drummer and CSU student Max Barcelow showed up at an informal audition. It was a game-changing moment for the band, Anderson insists, one that would help formalize its course in the coming year.

"He was the second or third drummer we tried out," Anderson remembers. "We called him up and he showed up to play. He was like, 'I haven't really listened to this song.' At that point, it was getting a little bit old, playing the same songs we've been playing for two or three years on tour. We played 'All I Have of You,' and we all looked at each other and said, 'Yeah, that's how that one goes.'"

Something fierce: Max Barcelow (from left), Chris Anderson, Alana Rolfe and Dayton Hicks are Fierce Bad Rabbit.
Josh Neil
Something fierce: Max Barcelow (from left), Chris Anderson, Alana Rolfe and Dayton Hicks are Fierce Bad Rabbit.

Details

Fierce Bad Rabbit, Higher Ground Music Festival, with Epilogues, Kinetix, MTHDS and tons more, Friday, August 24, through Sunday, August 26, Nevadaville Road, Hidden Valley/Central City, $25-$175, 1-866-461-6556.

The impact of rhythmic input — the distinct fills, the change-ups in percussion and voicing — was the first step in an even more collaborative approach to the band's songwriting, and the inclusion of Barcelow, who also plays guitar and writes songs, helped the quartet move beyond its growing pains. "I'm loving the way it is now," says Rolfe of the addition. "For some reason, the fact that he also plays guitar and also writes music — it's been really interesting to have another person's perspective."

And that perspective will certainly be instrumental when Fierce Bad Rabbit returns to the Blasting Room later this year to record The Maestro and the Elephant, its second full-length album, set for release at the end of the year. Maestro will comprise tunes that Anderson wrote in Nashville as well as new songs from the rest of the band, including one from Rolfe that she's especially excited about.

"There's one with a working title, 'Dust,' that I wrote," she concludes. "There's creative anticipation to see what becomes of it. I'm expecting a magic baby in the form of a song."

In this case, you can be certain the labor will be well worth it.

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