Night Beats are an American psychedelic/garage rock band, formed in 2009 in Seattle, Washington. The band currently consists of lead singer and guitarist Danny "Lee Blackwell" Rajan Billingsley[1] as the only permanent member. Founding member drummer James Traeger has only played intermittently with the band since 2016, and bassist Jakob Bowden left the band sometime in early-mid 2018.

Night Beats
Night beats.jpg
Night Beats at Mount Rainier National Park in 2010.
Background information
OriginSeattle, Washington, United States
GenresGarage rock, psychedelic rock, soul, surf rock
Years active2009 — present
LabelsHeavenly Recordings
Trouble In Mind
The Reverberation Appreciation Society
Holy Twist Records
Associated actsWhite Light Fever
The UFO Club
Night Sun
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
MembersDanny "Lee Blackwell" Rajan Billingsley
Past membersTarek Wegner
James Traeger
Jakob Bowden

The band incorporate elements of early R&B, Texas psychedelic rock, English blues rock, folk and soul[2] and have toured with the likes of The Black Angels (band) (in the UK, Europe and U.S.), Roky Erickson, The Zombies, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Strange Boys, Black Lips, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and The Growlers.


Danny "Lee Blackwell" Rajan Billingsley had previously fronted various bands in his hometown of Dallas, Texas including The Old Explosives, White Light Fever and Medicine God Box.[3] With White Light Fever, who were initially called Japanese Auto Clinic,[4] he released debut album Heavy Knife Blues in 2007 and the band were reportedly courted by Columbia Records. A second album Count All Your Father's Wealth was seemingly abandoned.[5][6] He also worked with The Tempers, playing live with the band and contributing a guitar solo to one track on their debut album Vol. 1.[7]

Raised Catholic and Hindu, Billingsley moved to Seattle to study comparative religion at the University of Washington.[8] Leaving Dallas, which he saw as "a wasteland of music", he founded Night Beats in 2009. Named after the Sam Cooke album 'Night Beat',[9] the solo self-recorded Street (Atomic) EP was released that year via Holy Twist Records.[10][11][12] After trying out a couple of different lineups, he asked high school friend and former B.B Mercy drummer James Traeger who was studying in Austin, Texas[13] to move to Seattle to join Night Beats. After playing a duo for a while, they recruited bassist Tarek Wegner in January 2010.[14][15] Wegner, originally from Tacoma, Washington, had previously played with The Drug Purse and Paris Spleen.[16]

Night Beats toured extensively early on, completing multiple North American tours during 2010 and were signed within weeks of self-releasing the H-Bomb EP. Picked up by Chicago's Trouble in Mind Records (Ty Segall, Fresh and Only's, Hex Dispensers, etc.).[17] The re-release of the EP topped several college radio charts competing with other Artists' full-length efforts. (September 6, 2010)[18]

In 2011, the band released a split EP with The UFO Club on the Austin label The Reverberation Appreciation Society. On June 28, 2011 they released their self-titled debut album via Trouble In Mind.[19] A split single with TRMRS was released in June 2012 via Volcom Vinyl Club.[20]

On September 24, 2013, the band released their second album "Sonic Bloom" via The Reverberation Appreciation Society.[21] They toured North America, Europe, Israel, South Africa and Australia in support of the album.

In late 2014, Tarek Wegner left the band. With no announcement regarding his departure, it only became apparent when new press shots were released with a different bassist.[22] Shortly after he released an EP entitled "What Colors Last" via Burger Records featuring the now deceased musician Joshua Vega,[23] and the full length self released album "Soul Fuckers" [24]in 2015 along with a west coast tour with Tomorrow's Tulips.

In 2015, the band signed to London-based label Heavenly Recordings and released their third album "Who Sold My Generation" in January 2016. The album featured Black Rebel Motorcycle Club member Robert Levon Been on bass, who also co-produced the album.[25] The band recruited Jakob Bowden to tour the album.

In September 2016, the band embarked on a UK/EU tour without drummer James Traeger. Throughout 2017, drummer Evan Snyder toured with the band.[26][27] Through a US tour supporting Black Rebel Motorcycle Club 2018, Jonah Swilley played drums with the band.[28] Traeger's absence from tours hasn't been commented on or acknowledged, but was rumored to be temporary. In May 2018, the band embarked on a tour of Spain and France, with Evan Snyder again replacing James Traeger on drums. Bassist Jakob Bowden was also not present.[29] In July 2018, the band (Rajan Billingsley and drummer Jonah Swilley) performed as a duo at the Social in London, England.

On 24 September 2018, it was announced that the band's fourth album Myth Of A Man is due for release January 28, 2019. The album was recorded by Billingsley with producer and Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach. For the sessions, Billingsley was backed by a cast of old time session musicians who had worked with the likes of Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin. Perhaps explaining the absence of founding member James Trager or bass player Jakob Bowden, the official press release states that the album was "written during a particularly destructive period of the band"[30]

Band membersEdit


  • Danny "Lee Blackwell" Rajan Billingsley - Vocals, lead guitar

Current Live BandEdit

  • Danny "Lee Blackwell" Rajan Billingsley - Vocals, lead guitar
  • Jaiq Stein - Keys, Guitar
  • Evan Snyder - Drums
  • Sam Thornton - Bass


  • Tarek Wegner - Bass
  • James Traeger - Drums
  • Jakob Bowden - Bass


Studio albumsEdit


  • H-Bomb 7" - 2010 (Self-Released)
  • H-Bomb 7" - 2010 (Trouble In Mind Records)[31]
  • H-Bomb EP (iTunes) - 2010 (Holy Twist)[32]
  • Night Beats/UFO Club Split 10" - 2011 (The Reverberation Appreciation Society)
  • Night Beats/TRMRS Split 7" - 2012 (Volcom Entertainment/Resurrection Records)[33]
  • Night Beats/ Her Cold Cold Heart - 2018 (Heavenly Recordings / [PIAS])


  • Get Wyld! Vol. 1 - 2010 (Holy Twist)[34]
  • Portable Shrines Magic Sound Theatre Vol. 1 - 2011 (Translinguistic Other/Light In The Attic)[35]
  • Sailor Jerry Vol. 4 - 2011 (Sailor Jerry Rum)


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  2. ^ [1]Archived September 19, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
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  9. ^ Maguire, Paige (2010-04-09). "Austin Psych Fest Preview: For the Benefit of Mr. Night (Beats)". Austinist. Retrieved 2014-01-09.
  10. ^
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  17. ^ Troublemakers (2012-03-15). "Trouble In Mind". Retrieved 2014-01-09.
  18. ^ "Top 30 Albums |". Retrieved 2014-01-09.
  19. ^ "Night Beats | Trouble In Mind Records". Retrieved 2014-01-09.
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  21. ^ [2][dead link]
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  31. ^ [3] Archived August 23, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  32. ^ "iTunes Store". Retrieved 2014-01-09.
  33. ^ "Volcom Entertainment - Vevc". Retrieved 2014-01-09.
  34. ^ "iTunes - Music - Get Wyld! Volume 1 by Various Artists". 2010-04-05. Retrieved 2014-01-09.
  35. ^ "Portable Shrines Magic Sound Theatre Vol. I | Light In The Attic Records". 2011-04-16. Retrieved 2014-01-09.

External linksEdit