Watching Jimmy Kimmel Live last night projected onto the stage of Highway 99, you couldn’t help but notice how many times he was saying it: “And later, our musical guest tonight is Xolie Morra and the Strange Kind!”
Of course, that was likely due to the huge cheers Kimmel elicited from the Highway 99 crowd each time he mentioned the band, which has been on a six-month odyssey to appear on the show that began in July. They celebrated with a viewing party and show at Seattle’s venerable blues club that featured performances by Fox and the Law and Smoking Bill, among others.
“It was really probably the most amazing experience I’ve ever had in my life,” Morra said. “Just knowing the size of the audience that watches that show, and the opportunity it gives us to grow and become something in the industry and become well-known is just beyond anything I could ever imagine for my life or our life as a band.”
The band got the opportunity after winning a number of contests on the independent band promotion website ourstage.com. The contests opened doors such as playing at Lilith Fair, hooked them up with industry executive Bruce Tyler and also introduced the band to its sponsors, including Orange amplifiers and Gibson.
So when Morra got a call last July from Tyler, she figured it was another opportunity but couldn’t fathom that it would be a chance to appear on national television.
“He emailed me and said, ‘Have a camera ready. I’m going to call you,’” Morra recalled. “So he calls and I had no idea it was about Jimmy Kimmel Live. I figured it was an opportunity to open for another band or maybe go to New York. When he said it was for Jimmy Kimmel, it blew my mind.”
The band headed down to Los Angeles to tape its show on Nov. 11 and fought down some pre-show butterflies. Their song “Over My Head” closed out Kimmel’s show Jan. 7 show.
“It was a lot of nerves,” said drummer Brett Hutchinson. “You didn’t know what you’re were getting into. They say you’re going to the El Capitan Theater (where the show is filmed) for Jimmy Kimmel, there’s no prerequisite for what it’s going to be there. Once we got there, everything fell into place and it was actually more comfortable than I thought it was going to be.”
Even though the band missed out on a chance to meet Kimmel, Zooey Deschanel did stop to say hi to Morra’s dog, Little.
“We were just hanging out in the middle of the floor,” Morra said. “Little was sitting on my lap.”
“And Zooey beelined out of her green room right to the dog,” said bassist Christian LieBig. “I was eight feet away screaming, ‘I was the one who wanted to meet her more than anyone!’”
With the way things are going for the band, LieBig might just get his chance to meet Deschanel sooner than later.
-Owen R. Smith, on Twitter @inanedetails