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Raiding the Rock Vault

Golden Ones give Tulsa's music scene a dose of straight-up rock, bathed in classic glam that smacks listeners out of a post-alternative “come on and try to impress me” slumber.

G.K. Hizer
Marc Rains
May 28, 2019

When one of Tulsa’s hottest young rock bands takes the stage, it’s something that initially takes most people by surprise. This isn’t the loopy, blues-based jam vibe of the New Tulsa Sound, nor the slightly dissonant sound of the indie scene. Instead, it’s an explosion of guitars, energy, and attitude. Something familiar, yet fresh and in your face.

Four 20-somethings screaming through the amplifiers, sounding (and looking) like they just teleported from the 1970s. Equal parts T. Rex, David Bowie, New York Dolls and Sweet, with a dash of The Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers-era thrown in for seasoning, Golden Ones filters out all of the ‘80s excess and ‘90s grunge to get back to straight up, good time rock ‘n’ roll.

The band’s debut, Hot Lunch, delivers just like its live show: five tracks of full throttle rock ‘n’ roll steeped in those same ‘70s influences and served with a touch of punk rock aesthetic — the kind of hit-and-run sonic blast that leaves the listener a little off balance and wanting more.

Sure, there’s a re-emerging punk scene in Tulsa, but it’s been years since T-Town had something this energetic and addictive come surging out of the speakers and off the stage.

The band came together in September 2017, and its chemistry has been on a long, slow boil.

“Sean [Fisher, guitar] and I have played in bands together, off and on, for 12 years,” says lead singer/guitarist Sarah Dickenson. “Jesse [Frick, bass] and I met in California when I was in a band with him there. When I came back to Tulsa, I drug him back with me.”

It wasn’t long before Dickenson and Frick were ready to get back to making music, and the Golden Ones was formed with a vision for high-energy, straight-up rock ‘n’ roll in the vein of classic ‘70s rock with a flair for glam. Fisher was on board in short order, followed by drummer Jay Sullivan. The mix worked immediately, with Sullivan and Fisher having studied music together. The fact that Sullivan is brother-in-law to Dickenson adds an extra touch of irony to the already music-as-blood family vibe that flows through the band.

With three songwriters in the group and a great dynamic between all, songwriting commenced quickly as the band fleshed out its sound and direction. The group was patient in its decision to record, however.

“We took our time because we knew we wanted to do it ourselves,” says Frick. That meant all of the parts were recorded in a home studio with the band’s equipment, followed by a couple of months set aside for Fisher to work on the mix.

“I think our style works to our advantage,” says Fisher. “That spontaneous, energetic feel lends itself to raw production values. I like the idea of a raw band with added production.

“I looked to a lot of my favorites, like AC/DC. They were a real deal. You look at the production on Back in Black, and it just pulled the best out in them. Songs like “Shoot to Thrill” jump out at you with the delay on the vocals.”

Although Golden Ones are far from a blues band, the blues roots of their influences ground the group. The gritty guitar riff that anchors lead single “Ain’t Nothin Better” reflects the contagious workhorse licks of Free and Mott the Hoople, especially when paired with Dickenson’s soulful growl. Elsewhere, the rubbery bassline of “Hot Mama” and elastic guitar hook of “Altar” let the band breathe, making space for Dickenson’s vocals to draw the listener in.

Golden Ones doesn’t frequently play, making the band’s shows events worth looking for. “The last thing we want to do is oversaturate the market, so we aim to play once a month, maybe twice if the right opportunity is there,” says Dickenson. “We want to be relevant.”

Perhaps the real challenge is finding the right audience, as Golden Ones has carved out their spot amid a music scene that’s more focused on Americana and other genres.

“People are hungry for rock ‘n’ roll, whether they know it and realize it or not,” says Dickenson, citing the recent success of bands like Greta Van Fleet and The Struts. “We’re trying to be there to help pass the torch to the next wave of rock fans.”

Tulsa rock fans, take heed and keep an eye out for Golden Ones. Although the band has nearly half an album’s worth of material already written, its current focus is on releasing a couple more singles and a music video, as well as playing more live shows before heading back to the studio. In June, the band headlines a show at Soul City (June 14), then plays a gig at the Mayo Moto Street Classic (June 15), followed by a gig with Tulsa Little Jam in July.

Golden Ones