Dundee Central School graduate and his punk-bluegrass band, Whiskey Shivers, was cast in major studio film in theaters now
Pitch Perfect 3 will be screened at Lake Street Plaza Theaters Jan. 5 – Jan. 21
John Christensen The Chronicle-Express @JCPYnews
Bobby Fitzgerald, Dundee’s famed fiddler and bagpiper, and his Austin, Texas-based band, Whiskey Shivers, are featured in Universal Picture’s Pitch Perfect 3, the third and final film in the very popular Pitch Perfect trilogy.
The boys of Whiskey Shivers appear in both acting and musical roles as Saddle Up, a country-bluegrass band competing against the Bellas, including returning stars Anna Kendrick, Hailee Steinfeld, and Rebel Wilson.
According to the film synopsis, after the highs of winning the World Championships and now graduated from college, the Bellas find themselves split apart and without job prospects in the music industry for a cappella pop singers. They get the chance to reunite for an overseas USO tour and, “this group of awesome nerds come together to make some music, and some questionable decisions, one last time.”
Directed by Trish Sie and written by Kay Cannon and Mike White, Pitch Perfect 3 is the sequel to 2015’s Pitch Perfect 2 and also stars John Lithgow, Ruby Rose, Elizabeth Banks, and John Michael Higgins.
Asked how they came to be cast, Bobby, who as a teenager was mentored by local fiddler Roy Litteer, says, “The director, Trish Sie, got to know us through our mutual friend, Nick Garza, and a Craigslist post Horti (guitar) made, and their shared love of raising chickens. Fast forward a couple of years and Trish got the gig to direct Pitch Perfect 3 where there was a casting call for a country/bluegrass band with a sense of humor. She recommended us, and we hit the ground running.”
Whiskey Shivers jumped to the studio and with the help of many friends, they knocked out a handful of demos. From those, the production team chose Exes and Ohs by Elle King, now on the movie soundtrack, then flew the band to Atlanta to shoot.
“We had an amazing time meeting and working with the film cast and crew,” says Bobby, adding, “We’ve never really been involved in something like this before, so we really didn’t know what to expect, and everyone was so kind and welcoming. We really felt like a part of this crazy family that came together to make a damn fine and totally funny film. Getting to meet and hang out with the Bellas was a blast, they’re so talented and witty both on and off the set, it was very inspiring and exciting to share that space. The rest of the cast was crazy talented as well. We made some life-long friends and collaborative partners through this experience.”
The filmmakers were happy to get a ready-made package in Whiskey Shivers to play the fictitious group, Saddle Up. “We were lucky enough to really just be ourselves through the whole process,” says Bobby. “Sleeveless and barefoot, I got to be me. That kind of encouragement truly stoked our creative fire.”
The exposure in a very popular, internationally released film could mean great things for Whiskey Shivers’ future.
“I’m really excited for the projects that will come of this unlikely union. We recently released our record, Some Part of Something, and with the next year we’ll continue to write and produce our music as well as some collaborative projects with our cast members. We just finished up a three-month, coast-to-coast tour, and plan to hit the road again this coming spring. Keep an eye on our website for the dates and locations, I’m sure we’ll be coming up upstate way and we would love to see some familiar faces.”
Whiskey Shivers full lineup now consists of Bobby Fitzgerald (vocals, fiddle) from Dundee, Andrew VanVoorhees (bass, vocals) from Prineville, Oregon, James Gwyn from Meridian, Miss. (washboards), Jeff “Horti”Hortillosa (vocals, guitar) from Middlesboro, Ky., and James Bookert (banjo) from Georgetown, Texas. Visit whiskeyshivers.com for details.