Kerry Sherman is passionate about his band, Dead Presley, and about the local music scene. The groove rock band consists of Kerry (vocals/guitar), his cousin Colton Gabel (drums), and college friends Zach Reiter (bass) and Tyler Cook (lead guitar). Kerry is a relative newcomer to Billings, but he’s got some connections in town. Despite a nomadic family life due to his father’s white-collar railroad job, Billings is home to his wider family, and Sean Lynch recorded his first band when Kerry was 16. His parents eventually returned to their hometown of Billings, and a few years ago Kerry wanted to follow.
Kerry hit up Sean while looking for potential jobs in the area. It turned out the Pub Station needed a marketing coordinator. It was a great fit for Kerry, with his marketing degree, minor in entertainment management and love for music. “My job is to put butts in seats,” he said. But it’s more than a job. As he describes the position, he grows thoughtful; he wants to stick with Pub Station and help it grow. He’s in it for the long haul.
Kerry also handles Pub Station bookings for local musicians. This gives him a natural connection to the local music scene and an opportunity to help shape it. "A vibrant music and arts community is essential to a growing and diverse community," he said. Kerry is passionate about supporting and encouraging the arts in Billings. But he also loves making music. “I want to create music I love and play awesome shows and travel around the area.”
Creating beauty is a key tenet for CMYK. It inspired our name, and we make a point of feeding into and nurturing creative expression. Kerry aims to foster more cohesion and cooperation within the creative community in Billings. “There is enough opportunity to go around,” says Kerry.
Those opportunities could be no more evident than in downtown Billings in summertime. Motorists are regularly stymied by barricades protecting open stages, live music and crowds of people enjoying music and conversation. Magic City Blues takes it all up a notch. Per Kerry, only been a few local bands have played the festival. Goodridge looks for the best he can get. Tim’s invitation to play the MCB stage (read by Kerry before dawn one day in March ) triggered an impromptu dance party of one. Tim’s invite endorsed the quality of Dead Presley’s music.
Kerry’s musical development has been heavily influenced by Gaslight Anthem and Bruce Springsteen. When asked to choose the one song everyone needs to hear, he tagged Springsteen’s “Jungleland.” “It becomes really impactful when you listen to it within the context of the 'Born To Run' record because that entire record is a story, with Jungleland being the finale.” Kerry’s affinity to story shows in his choice of songs for CMYK Gatherings, whether it’s one of his own creations or a cover. Playing at CMYK has triggered a change in his acoustic songwriting, Kerry says. Feedback from Matt Blakeslee on differences between his band and his acoustic writing has given him confidence to explore more and take creative liberties. “Spirituality, faith and the wrestling match with that has always been really present in my music before I got involved with CMYK,” Kerry said. “I don’t go too deep into it, because I don’t want to speak for the other band members, but it’s there. I get a lot of lyrical content ideas from CMYK because it really makes me think and explore on a deeper level. It puts me in an inquisitive headspace.”
Dead Presley is scheduled to play the Stillwater Stage at the Magic City Blues Fest at 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 4. You can follow Dead Presley on Facebook. Their first album, “Muses” is available in the usual places.