Wyoming Arts Council

Local Band “Patti Fiasco” to open for Bon Jovi at Pepsi Center

Back in January, Bon Jovi launched its Opening Act Contest. The rock group were looking for local bands to open for one of the stops on their This House Is Not for Sale Tour. One of those bands will be Patti Fiasco. We caught up with front woman Alysia Kraft to ask about the experience.
WAC: How did you first hear about the Bon Jovi Opening Act Contest? What was the audition like?
Alysia Kraft: My mom heard about the contest and passed entry information along to me… and basically checked in with me every day until I’d entered. If it weren’t for her persistence, I’m not sure I would have followed through with the entry.

WAC: What was your reaction when you found out that Patti Fiasco had been selected to open for the April 14 show?
Alysia Kraft: Pure, unadulterated joy, disbelief, flutters of nervousness, and then more joy.

WAC: Give us a little context. What’s your usual venue like vs. this Pepsi Center gig?
Alysia Kraft: Last week we played a sold out show at Hodi’s Halfnote in downtown Fort Collins. That’s an awesome feat for a local, independent band. There were probably 375 people through the door at a $10 ticket price. April 14 there will be 20,000 people with the cheapest tickets going for more than $100.

WAC: This is clearly a big opportunity for your band. What do you hope to get out of this show?
Alysia Kraft: There are some moments of your life that you have to shed all expectation of outcome and just relish in the experience. I hope that the band and I have the best time we’ve ever had playing music. I hope our energy resonates with the crowd and it leaves them craving more of it—whether that means buying albums or seeking out another live show. I’d love to make some new friends and fans.

WAC: Tell us a little bit about your music. Who do you sound like? What are your biggest influences?
Alysia Kraft: I shorten the description to “twang and bang.” Johanna Knudson described it well:

“The Patti Fiasco rides the edge of emotional extreme, delivering a brash yet fiercely soulful brand of rock and roll with a heavy dose of rockabilly, blues, and ballad. At times raw and volatile, and at others, sweet and lilting, the band fuses a hard-rock swagger with the two-step of its Wyoming roots. It’s the attitude of Joan Jett with a Steve Earle twang.”

I was drawn to songwriting by Patty Griffin, Gregory Allen Isakov, Josh Ritter, Ryan Adams. When the Patti Fiasco started taking off, I started listening to more country music– really getting into stuff I was listening to on the radio in my dad’s truck growing up in the 90’s. I love place where early rock and roll and country intersect. Mary Chapin Carpenter, Rodney Crowell, Dwight Yoakam, Elvis Presley, Bruce Springsteen, Lucinda Williams have all been big influences for me recently.

WAC: Where are you from originally?
Alysia Kraft: Encampment, WY

WAC: What impact has Wyoming had on your music? What advice would you have for other Wyoming bands hoping for opportunities similar to this?
Alysia Kraft: Wyoming has a lot to do with my psyche—the landscape is just loaded with feeling for me. It’s everywhere in my writing.

Our fans in Wyoming have been incredible—so enthusiastic and supportive. We could have moved to a major music city and gotten lost in the sea of great Americana acts, but we stuck to our roots, built our fanbase regionally, and have had a multitude of great opportunities as a result. Every band has to follow their own trajectory and I wouldn’t say that our formula for success is applicable for every style of music. The best advice I can give to anyone is: Play music with people you love. I think those internal relationships make or break bands and it takes TIIIIIMMME to make strides. Pair up with others who are dedicated, communicative, in it for the long haul, and just generally good people.

WAC: You were also selected to be one of Wyoming’s IMTour bands. What’s that experience been like so far?
Alysia Kraft: Not sure if it was the Bon Jovi announcement or the launch of IMTour, but we’ve definitely had a huge spike in booking requests  across the state. We’re really looking forward to getting to parts of the state/country that we haven’t performed before and stoked about what IMTour means for independent artists.

WAC: Is there anything else you’d like to add about the show or your music in general?
Alysia Kraft: There is incredible music coming out of Wyoming right now. Check out Patti Fiasco (www.pattifiasco.net) and then seek out the other fantastic independent bands on the scene. There’s much to be excited about as a music-loving Wyoming resident. Take pride and support local.

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