With the Band

Get to know Quite Frankly’s Carolyn Armstrong


Rachel Horsley

Gavin Robert, Jolson Robert, Eli Peterson, Carolyn Armstrong, and Scout Matthews at their 2021 homecoming performance.

Ren Park, Culture Editor

Quite frankly, Quite Frankly is one of the hottest must-see rock bands in Kansas City. One day, they’ll fill up stadiums and coliseums and concert halls from coast to coast, but for now, they’re playing venues such as the Truman and Starlight Theater and building their very own local fanbase.


Senior Carolyn Armstrong is the lead vocalist when she’s not being a Pacesetter, a Pep Club member, playing tennis and/or starring in school musicals. How she balances all of this is a mystery.


“I feel like every activity that I do speaks to a different part of me,” Armstrong said. “I think it makes it worth it that I get to express myself in so many different ways. I’ve opened myself up to a lot of people who I wouldn’t have been friends with otherwise.”


That would be particularly true for her fellow band mates. The band began to form in 2017 with bassist Scout Matthews as the founding member. Both Armstrong and Jolson Robert (singer and multi-instrumentalist) joined soon after. Jolson’s younger brother, Gavin Robert, joined after the band’s first guitarist. Scout Matthews, Carolyn Armstrong, Jolson Robert and Eli Peterson (drums) all met at a local branch of School of Rock–a program that teaches teenage bands how to play and perform rock. The bandmates bonded over Sonic and a love for music.


Over time, the band has expanded and constricted, with members coming and going, but the current lineup has been together for the longest and is, according to manager MJ Matthews, tighter than ever.


“They get along so well, and they trust each other,” Quite Frankly’s manager, MJ Matthews, said. “Trust is a huge part.”


The band members hang out before shows to gossip and talk about their lives–a ritual that Jolson said has brought them closer.


One of the many highlights at one of Quite Frankly’s recent gigs was their rendition of The B-52’s “Love Shack.” Armstrong’s vocals were nothing less than spectacular, coaxing nearly everyone in the crowd to the dance floor. The audience erupted into cheers when Jolson amazed every onlooker with his unexpected (but absolutely insane) saxophone skills. That paired with the instrumental talent of Matthews, Gavin and Peterson added up to a musical spectacle that left even original fans of The B-52’s blown away.


“I think it’s like when you go to a concert, and you get to scream all the words of your favorite song,” Armstrong said. “That’s how I started describing it to people, because I don’t know how else, besides that feeling when you just get to let go of everything with music.” 


The other band members feed off her energy.


“Even if she’s upset about something, she’s never mopey or grumpy,” Jolson said. “She always finds a way to pull it together. She never complains about anything.”


Gavin added that Armstrong is also both a good friend and a trustworthy ear. 


“I have a bit of a habit of spewing verbal garbage,” he said. “Rarely do I find a person who will put up with it, but also be receptive, and bounce off, and joke and goof around.” 


The band’s ability to work together has gotten them far. They’ve played more than 100 gigs–even opening up for national touring acts such as The Greeting Community, The Darbies, John Corabi, The Jacks, Liliac, and LA Guns.


One day, Quite Frankly will be a global sensation. One day, they’ll fill up stadiums. For today, all that matters is getting their music out there.


“The dream is to go on one of those big stadium tours,” Armstrong said. “For now, we’re just enjoying our gigs, enjoying songwriting and being in each other’s company.”