Band of Coyotes

  • Genre
  • Rock
  • Awards and Nominations
    • SAMMIES 2019 Winner★ New Artist ★
    • SAMMIES 2019 Nominee★ New Artist ★
    • SAMMIES 2019 Nominee★ Rock ★
  • Musicians
    • Graham Carter — drums, vocals
    • Mason Durst — guitar, keys, vocals
    • Mike Schotter — bass
    • Samantha Henson — guitar, mandolin, vocals
    • Steven Morkert — lead guitar, vocals
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Canine quintet

Published 03.28.19

This story originally appeared in SN&R's annual Music Issue. The issue published on March 28, 2019. 

By Maxfield Morris

Coyotes are solitary creatures: They often scavenge alone, and they mark their territory with urine. But when they share a common goal, say hunting deer, they’ll team up in a sort of “coyote supergroup"—kind of like The Traveling Wilburys, minus Roy Orbison.

Music is Band of Coyotes’ deer hunt. The rock group’s members met at Old Ironsides open-mics. Singer and keyboardist Mason Durst, guitarist Steven Morkert and vocalist and guitarist Samantha Henson saw each other perform and joined forces. Drummer Graham Carter and bassist Mike Schotter later joined the pack.

“When you’re up there by yourself, you’re having to do 100 percent of the work,” Durst says. “Now I’m doing 50 percent of the work.”

The combined solo acts bring different fire to the table.

“We’re alike enough where we can gel,” Carter says, “and then we’re diverse enough, as far as musical backgrounds, that we can come up with something interesting.”

The band has a diverse geographic background, as well; everyone except Schotter recently moved to Sacramento. Henson’s from Wisconsin, Durst from Texas, Morkert is an Arizonian and Carter is a Virginian. They’ve only known each other for about a year, have been in the band for most of that time and now three of them are living together below a daycare.

We’re alike enough where we can gel, and then we’re diverse enough, as far as musical backgrounds, that we can come up with something interesting.

Graham Carter
drummer, Band of Coyotes

“Every morning I’m woken up by children running around,” says Durst, who lives with Carter and Schotter. The band used to practice in the living room until the daycare complained—so it rented a rehearsal space away from delicate ears.

The band’s there a couple times a week, getting songs ready. They’ll play the Raley Field Brewfest in May, and they’re preparing nearly five hours of material.

Unlike actual coyotes, Band of Coyotes have opposable thumbs—ones they use to great effect in their music. The tunes are jammy and versatile, like a Swiss army knife in a jar of raspberry preserves or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in sleepwear. They’re electric and kinetic, vocally powerful and clean. What drives it all?

“At the end of the day, we’re all passionate about music; this is what we do in our free time,” says Morkert.

“We’re serious about making a very good, quality product,” Henson says. Schotter agrees: “I mean, when you’re in a band, that’s kind of one of the things you have to do, is make good music.”

Their product is 97.4 percent pure, a collaboration between talented songwriters and musicians, keeping it fun and creating.

As Carter was getting ready to take to the drums, he started to take off his pants. “I promise I have another pair of pants on,” he said. He did.

“We all got two sets of pants on,” Schotter joked. “It’s a band thing.”

Perhaps that’s where the magic of Band of Coyotes comes from—the extra pair of pants. 

Q & A

All-time favorite song?

02.04.19

Winner Takes it All by ABBA or "Kissed by a Rose" by Seal.

How do you describe your music to people?

02.04.19

Business Casual eating mac 'n' cheese in the summertime.

Tell us about how the band formed.

02.04.19

After drinking whiskey at Old Ironsides one night, we all realized our deep love for “Kissed by a Rose” (Seal). From then on, the deal was sealed.

Tell us about your best gig in Sac.

02.04.19

We played a private event at Shine last summer for our buddy Marty “SoCal.” It was for his five-year anniversary celebrating his move to Sacramento.

Tell us about your worst gig.

02.04.19

Last night. We started after midnight, our drummer forgot his cymbals, our guitarist’s pedal board broke and we were out of town.

What artist or band are you a little embarrassed to love, and why?

02.04.19

Winner Takes it All by ABBA or "Kissed by a Rose" by Seal.

What's next for the band?

02.04.19

We are playing a four-hour gig at the Raley Field Brewfest in May!

What's the story behind the band name?

02.04.19

We met at Old Ironsides after moving to Sacramento from all over the country. We eventually started playing together, and our friend called us a “Band of Coyotes.”

What's your favorite local artist/group?

02.04.19

Animals in the Attic, Nate Curry, The New Crowns, Roa Brothers, Occupy the Trees, Heather Evans/Marco Robledo, The Herald, Island of Black and White, Roa Brothers Band, Occupy the Trees, The Stoneberries, The Knights of the Soundtable.

Who are your biggest influences?

02.04.19

Steely Dan, Mac DeMarco, Joe Dart (Vulfpeck), The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Bobcat Goldthwait.

Who first inspired you to play music?

02.04.19

We met a guy who used to date Joni Mitchell. Here we are.

Words to live by?

02.04.19

The wise words of Mike Schotter: “Nothing is ever achieved by one person that’s only achieved by a team.”

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