• October 24, 2014

Ill Caretta drums up support, followers

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Posted: Friday, July 4, 2014 4:30 am

Walking into the Harker Heights home of Royal Schlitt, 34, it’s easy to tell a musician lives there with album covers, rock ’n’ roll posters on the walls, and a drum set instead of a dining table.

Practice is about to begin for Ill Caretta, a group that includes Schlitt on drums and Austin residents Billy Bowers, 23, on guitar and Luke Farmer, 32, on bass guitar. What started in 2011 with a few house parties has blossomed into a band that is booking more shows throughout Central Texas.

“Since January, it’s getting better with shows in Temple at O’Briens Irish Pub and Austin’s Lucky Lounge, and we’re setting up a show in Waco and possibly one in San Marcos,” Schlitt said. He acts as the manager, keeping track of their gigs, which total 21.

“We try to play everywhere we can and have a lot of fun doing it,” Bowers said.

Recently, they played at the In the Line of Duty benefit concert at the Harker Heights E Center for slain and wounded Killeen police officers. Their next show is today at the grand opening of the The Patio on Main Street in Temple.

Their style is modern Texas rock with influences from Led Zeppelin, the Foo Fighters and the Beatles, Pink Floyd, AC/DC and Stevie Ray Vaughn. All three members write the band’s songs, including several that can be heard on reverbnation.com.

The trio made a quick musical and personal connection.

“These are my two best friends, and we wouldn’t be where we are without the others,” Bowers said.

Schlitt and Bowers met working for the same construction company, and Farmer knew Bowers through friends. The band’s name comes from a type of sea turtle, caretta, because they want to project an easy-going image.

“We have no egos and we all get along well,” Farmer said.

Donning shades, Schlitt mildly resembles singer Adam Levine of Maroon 5, while Bowers and Farmer are sometimes mistaken for brothers. Each member comes from supportive musical families, but they know the business is tough.

“What’s holding us back is we don’t have a CD that people can listen to,” Schlitt said, adding that a career in music is what he is meant to do. “Music is a part of who I am.”

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