Fruit Bats are an American rock band formed in 1997 in Chicago. Noted as an early entrant into the folk-rock boom of the early 2000s, the group has had many personnel changes but revolves around singer/songwriter Eric D. Johnson. Johnson joined The Shins in 2009, though he continues working with Fruit Bats.
In 2000, Eric D. Johnson was an instructor at The Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, led his own space-rock band called I Rowboat, and was a sideman in various groups, most notably Califone. He also had a four-track solo outlet called Fruit Bats, which he had been working on since 1997.
Fruit Bats began to evolve into a band with the inclusion of I Rowboat members Dan Strack and Brian Belval, and in 2001 their debut record “Echolocation” was released on Califone’s imprint, Perishable Records.
Fruit Bats signed with Sub Pop in 2002 and have released three albums with the label including “Mouthfuls” in 2003, “Spelled in Bones” in 2005, and “The Ruminant Band” in 2009. “The Ruminant Band” became the band’s first to enter a Billboard chart, reaching #20 on the Heatseekers Albums chart. The band's fifth album, “Tripper,” was released in August 2011 by Sub Pop and peaked at #14 on the Heatseekers Albums chart.
November 2013 Johnson announced he would be dissolving Fruit Bats. They played their last show at the Aladdin Theater in Portland on November 16, 2013.