If you have ever been to a The Goddamn Gallows show you can’t look past Baby Genius (for you smartass fuckers: insert joke about his height here…). The man is a ticking time bomb of pure raw energy waiting to explode in your face and release the demons from the darkest abyss of hell onto the stage. Besides that he’s a friendly guy… I remember my first Gallows show, Muddy Roots 2012, I was blown away! For our European readers, The Goddamn Gallows will be at Muddy Roots Europe this year and they will be touring the rest of Europe as well! Go see them, drive, fly, teleport for all I care!
This is the last one in our series of “ten random questions”, we go out with a bang…
Y’all motherfuckers need… Baby Genius!

1. Introduce yourself to our readers please.
I’m Baby Genius of the Goddamn Gallows. I beat on the brat aka the drums.

2. On what record would you have loved to play? (any style, artist, whatever)
I would love to be the new singer of Gwar.

3. What is the first concert that made a real impression on you and made you want to play music?
I was 9 years old, my mother took me to see Ratt in ’89. After that I was sold on rock ‘n roll music. I had a piece of Steven Pierce’s shirt and I would tie it around my head and stand on my dresser and sing Rat songs to the neighborhood kids.

4. Is there a musician/artist you really want to work with and why?
I’d like to work with a few different producers and I’d like to make a rap record with some hip hop artists, Killa Mike, Yella wolf, maybe Master P.

5. How did you end up in this “roots” scene?
It just kinda happened, we had an upright bass so we got lumped in with psychobilly bands and after a few years it just happened. I loved country and bluegrass so did the rest of the band but we never really where going for roots. I don’t know, just because we had a mandolin and a banjo we weren’t trying to be any type of music or genre. We just didn’t want to follow the leader, we cut our own path. Now that’s all it is, roots or die, I prefer punk, metal and rap.

6. Do you believe in aliens, and if so… What does their music sounds like?
I do believe in aliens and honestly I think they don’t have music. There is more to what they do then we could ever know and if they do have music, I bet it’s like native drums.

7. Who do you believe to be the most overrated band on the planet at this moment, and why?
The most overrated band? Way too many to name but it’s on the radio now so tune out please.

8. Just like any “scene” this one will explode in time, how do you see the future of this new “roots” movement?
Honest answer – I never cared for scenes and I think the wrong bands will be the ones that “make it”. I don’t consider our band a roots band and I hope if we ever “make it” we won’t be labeled as that, we are a punk band. I mean Modest Mouse uses a banjo in lots of songs and they are not considered roots.

9. What band or record do you really like, but you are a little ashamed about?
I listen to pop punk and rap/hip hop. I like Fall Out Boy and Blink 182.

10. Eating dog shit or record with Toby Keith?
I’d just rob Toby Keith, fuck it!

http://www.thegoddamngallows.com/

When you walk into a bar in my town and you’re in the company of a young fellow with a silver tooth and a head full of tattoos people are gonna stare at you a little. When this young fellow turns out to be a very nice guy that likes to drink and get down low (you should all see Henry’s dance moves) people don’t mind anymore and you’re in for an evening of fun and shenanigans… Boy, did we have fun while Henry was on tour in Europe with Lou Shields and Hangdog Hearts in june… And remember folks, he’s coming back and he’s bringing his boys in S.S. Web! They will be touring in June and July.

1. Introduce yourself to our readers please.
My name is Henry Berger. I play acoustic guitar/banjo and sing in Steering Ships With Empty Bottles (S.S. WEB).

2. On what record would you have loved to play? (any style, artist, whatever)
I would have loved to be a part of any Johnny Cash album. There’s not much to most of them, so I wouldn’t have stuck out like a sore thumb, and yet they were so influential and filled with amazing songs.

3. What is the first concert that made a real impression on you and made you want to play music?
For me, it was a campfire jam that I was at when I was young and at summer camp. The counselor knew every song every kid requested. I asked him to play ‘today’ by the smashing pumpkins, and ‘possum kingdom’ by the toadies. He nailed both of them and seeing him play both lead and rhythm parts of ‘today’ at the same time, absolutely blew me away and want to play music.

4. Is there a musician/artist you really want to work with and why?
I’m really having fun working with the folks I am currently working with, both S.S. WEB and The Hangdog Hearts. I’ve also done some work with a Chicago band called the Blind Staggers, filled in a little bit with Ando Ehlers, Rickett Pass and St. Christopher. All of these folks are a blast to work with. I suppose I would be into working most anyone as long as it’s a good time!

5. How did you end up in this “roots” scene?
I’m not really sure how it happened. Started playing acoustic instruments and before I knew it we were playing show in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where we are from. It was before I was legally allowed into bars so we just found one that let me in and started setting up shows. Soon enough we started touring and meeting folks in the same vain of music and found ourselves playing with a ton of roots bands.

6. Do you believe in aliens, and if so… What does their music sounds like?
I believed in aliens for a long time when I was growing up. Or I guess maybe I wanted to believe in them. I’d always be drawing pictures of aliens and had some shirts with aliens in human clothing and such. I guess I just a fell out of it when I started skateboarding. If they do exist though, in sure the jams they would put out would be super intense.

7. Who do you believe to be the most overrated band on the planet at this moment, and why?
Bob Dylan. I get what he has done for music, but I think he is the worst, ever. Just a personal vendetta, he is terrible.

8. Just like any “scene” this one will explode in time, how do you see the future of this new “roots” movement?
I certainly hope you are right, and I think it will as well. I don’t really know how it will pan out but I do see more people attending shows and showing support of all the rootsy bands. I guess that’s really all any of us could ask for.

9. What band or record do you really like, but you are a little a shamed about?
The Carter III by Lil Wayne. I’m not going to go into it but, true story.

10. Eating dog shit or record with Toby Keith?
Record with Toby Keith. I really love being in the studio and creating new songs that will be forever out there and available. So even though it would have to be with Toby Keith, I’m sure I’d still have a good time. It’s just a fun process, or at least it can and should be, so I don’t think I would mind it all that much.
TFKOGTFO

We (my wife and I) first got in contact with Jason Galaz in 2012, or maybe 2011 when we had seen the line-up for the 2012 Muddy Roots Music Festival in Cookeville. I told her to look at it and asked if we should go, remember we live in Belgium, and she just said, “yeah sure, why not”. She caught me by surprise there… We had been traveling a big part of the world but never went to the USA. So we started making plans… But us being Belgians we needed to know a bunch of stuff about the festival, how to get there, how to get this and that… So I started to mail Jason on Facebook and just overloaded him with questions and he always replied with useful info. I liked that! What started out as an internet Q and A transformed into a friendship and I’m proud that I can call this man a friend. He does a great job with this whole Muddy Roots thingy and by his doing I gained so much more friends from all over the world that we came across at his festivals. We have 6 Muddy Roots festivals under our belt (3 in the USA and 3 in Europe) so we are veterans! And we owe it all to this man, enjoy!

1. Introduce yourself to our readers please.
Jason Galaz, the man behind everything Muddy Roots.

2. On what record would you have loved to play? (any style, artist, whatever)
I don’t know the first thing about playing music but I’d love to be in the room while some records are being recorded. Specifically all the early country and blue stuff like Jimmie Rodgers and Charlie Patton. Same goes with Hank Williams and Led Zeppelin.

3. What is the first concert that made a real impression on you and made you want to play music?
My first concert was Suicidal Tendencies, Metallica, Fight and Candle Box.  Alice In Chains was supposed to play but due to addiction issues  they canceled. It was 1993, I was 13 and it was mayhem.  It was in San Bernardino California which is a crazy ass place. I saw people get sliced with flattened beer cans, mosh pits around make shift fire pits, and folks were taking toilet paper rolls (the big ones) out of portapotties, lighting them on fire and throwing them into the crowd.  There were cops on horse back on the perimeter. That kind of mayhem had a huge effect on me. It was my first taste of pure anarchy in a music setting and made an impact on my young mind.

4. Is there a musician/artist you really want to work with and why? 
Many of them and most of them we end up doing so one way or another. I mean there are bigger names I can’t reach like Dwight Yoakam and The Stooges but that’s because I am not wealthy.

5. How did you end up in this “roots” scene?
I had moved to Nashville from California and was looking for music that filled the hole in my soul. I needed something deeper than what I was used to.  I started listening to Dwight Yoakam more often, came across Hank 3 and then my brother passes me a free digital cd from Soda Gardocki.  That mix right there was enough to get the wheels moving. I began looking for music I could feel more and eventually ended up finding places for them to play in my area so I could experience it live.

6. Do you believe in aliens, and if so… What does their music sounds like? 
I believe in illegal aliens. In America it would sound like Conjunto music but could also be Narco Mexicano music. The first would be my music of choice. Think Muddy Roots in Mexico, that’s what it is to me. The Hank WIlliams singers south of the border.

7. Who do you believe to be the most overrated band on the planet at this moment, and why?
That changes weekly. It is whoever is #1 on the charts. I don’t hate these people though. They are the product of a massive investment. If I had a bajillion dollars I’d put my own bands up top.

8. Just like any “scene” this one will explode in time, how do you see the future of this new “roots” movement?
There is no scene. Keep the walls off the movement allows it to grow organically in any direction it needs to.

9. What band or record do you really like, but you are a little a shamed about?
I listen to a TON of shitty music. I can’t listen to “Muddy Roots” type bands all day. It’s too good for my soul. It makes me want to just hang out and drink beer. I need to keep focused on work. I find gangster rap most motivational. They are always talking about hustlin’ and stuff.  Sometimes I’ll switch to drum n bass or even old techno. The tempo keeps me working just like it would in a gym.  Oh, and if I am feeling real cray cray I will put on Die Antword. That shit is weird.

10. Eating dog shit or record with Toby Keith?
I’d absolutely record Toby Keith and make millions off him. I just wouldn’t put the Muddy Roots logo on it. Shallow people need shallow music. That’s their problem. I gots bills yo.

You can find all the info you need about Muddy Roots at:
http://www.muddyrootsrecords.com/index.php

If you have never been to a Muddy Roots event, 2015 is the year to do so. It doesn’t matter who you are, what job you have or don’t have, what the colour of your skin is or which what country you come from. At Muddy Roots we’re all family. I can honestly say that we have had to most fun on the planet at each and every one we went to and got to know the most beautiful, crazy and kindest people in the world. So what’s holding you back?

I did not really know who Lou Shields was until Austin from Hangdog Hearts told us he was bringing him for his European tour. I had heard his name and I had a quick listen to his music in the past, and I thought it was difficult music. Lou’s music is chaotic at first, but once you really listen to it, it all comes together, puts a smile on your face and makes you stomp your feet. The moment I met Lou in Kurt’s living room (Kurt being the one who booked the tour with a little help from yours truly…) I instantly liked him. He’s an honest and caring person with no attitude whatsoever, and he’s very funny once you get to know him! Check out his website at the end of this interview for more music and his artwork. Happy reading!

1. Introduce yourself to our readers please.
My name is Lou Shields. I grew up in the South Suburbs of Chicago and later in the country outside of a small town about an hour South of Chicago, Illinois. I am an artist, musician, skateboarder, rambler, adventurer and teacher… I live to do all of these things and do not make much of a living doing these things but the trade-off is a lifetime of great experiences and that is what is most important to me. Traveling, adventuring = inspiration, inspiration = art/music, then I can share this with folks and hopefully help them to feel, maybe feel better, maybe inspire them or give them a temporary escape and clarity. I ultimately hope to help them (audience, supporters, art lovers) feel good and feel better.

2. On what record would you have loved to play? (any style, artist, whatever)
I am not really into jamming or being in bands. I am a big fan of the early blues/country musicians that played solo – one microphone, one guitar, one guy and that is all. I think I would have loved to be in the room when Charlie Patton was recording. Just to have witnessed that man’s presence, his voice, his foot stomp, and of course, his guitar mastery. But I really do not dream about playing with someone I look up to because I just respect what they did so much. I think I would probably mess it all up and get smacked in the head by Howlin’ Wolf or something…

3. What is the first concert that made a real impression on you and made you want to play music?
My first experience seeing real music performed; I was a little kid and barely remember where this happened. It was either the old Maxwell Street in Chicago or the Taste of Chicago. There was a blues band playing. I remember being that little kid that stopped and was mesmerized. My parents probably lost me for a second as they were passing by. I vividly remember staring at what was happening and was completely hooked. I had no idea what was going on but I knew that I liked it. Then I could feel my arm getting dragged along with the rest of my body as my parents were probably moving along… But my eyes, ears and mind were forever locked into that sound, what I saw and what I immediately felt when hit with that amazing early experience.

4. Is there a musician/artist you really want to work with and why?
They are all dead. But I love and respect the work of my friends and always feel really honored to play a show/share a bill with them.

5. How did you end up in this “roots” scene?
I had been playing this stuff (what I play) in my living room for 15 years before I first started hearing about some of these bands. During the early 1990s I totally hated the post Nirvana influx of bands that were flowing in every direction. I reverted to pre-war blues, roots and early country music. I also kept my kinship with 80s punk alive that I loved growing up as a skateboarder. I felt a deep connection with the musicians of that time. That music was recorded in such an honest and simple way. I also identify with the subject matter of the songs. You can learn so much about life from these old blues tunes. I did not want to hear about how “he did it all for the nookie”… That stuff just completely turned me off.
I also had the worst stage fright. So I was too scared to even get into a performance space. I was perfectly happy learning how to play the many styles of old music from the old country that I loved so much. And I started writing my own tunes. Hundreds of them… But I put it all under the bed, kept it all away from anyone. I enjoyed playing by my self in front of no one…
I got to a point later in life that I absolutely couldn’t do that any more. I felt it was time to get out there, do what I truly loved and share this stuff. I was already traveling the United States, adventuring, skateboarding and experiencing as much as possible. I started to see bands like Devil in a Woodpile with a huge following in Chicago and beyond, then .357 String Band doing what they were up to.
And I was like, ok… let’s get it going. Maybe people would actually come out and have a listen. Maybe I could actually do something with this stuff, get out and play, have fun. I was playing a lot of open mics, parties, etc… Trying to get over the stage fright thing. I started to meet music lovers around my area like Jody Robbins. I got turned on to more and more bands that were doing great stuff like the Gallows, The Cubes and all these folks I was beginning to meet from all around the US that were up to the same musical mischief that I truly love. I met guys like LoneWolf OMB and Austin from The Hangdog Hearts who I hold in such high regard as brothers.
I have found in this community of musicians, music lovers and supporters to be so much my of my own blood… We somehow have all magnetically come together. It just all happened. It had to. I am so lucky to have this in my life.

6. Do you believe in aliens, and if so… What does their music sounds like?
Yep listen to “1983 (A I Merman Should Turn To Be…)” by Jimi Hendrix.
I have seen a lot of things on the road; late at night, in the middle of the day, you name it. There are lots of unexplained phenomena out there and magic, religion nor science do it justice… Might be aliens. Might not.

7. Who do you believe to be the most overrated band on the planet at this moment, and why?
I don’t really pay attention anymore. Right now? Taylor Swift? Only because I keep seeing her fake selfie self in the grocery store, at Starbucks, on the bus… blah and I mean not the real human being but the product that is Taylor Swift which really bugs me.
I am not one to rip on other musicians, artists as long as what they are doing is real (to them). As long as they are writing the music and recording/performing the songs with integrity I have nothing to say. But if they are in it for the wrong reasons or are causing other people harm then I am not down with that. You see a lot of celebrities in this music/art world, and people become intrigued by the celebrity. It doesn’t matter if their music is any good at that point. They could be singing completely off-key, forgetting their own lyrics (or the producer’s lyrics) and these “fans” will be screaming for them. They may not even be singing or playing the instrument they are holding.
At that point it is not about the music or the art for the audience, it is about celebrity. For me I like to think of folks who like what I do as supporters, not fans. They took time to come out and hear my tunes for the first time, they are there because they happen to be in the bar and like what is going on up on the stage or they are truly into my music. For that I am truly grateful.
But you’ll always have situations like that. For me personally, it is about getting out there, having experiences and then sharing those experiences with folks via my music and art. I hope I never become overrated. I feel sorry for those empty boxes that are overrated and for the “fans” that support them.

8. Just like any “scene” this one will explode in time, how do you see the future of this new “roots” movement?
I just hope that as more and more artists, promoters, booking agents, labels, etc. get involved that those who operate with integrity outweigh the others. I hope that the support continues to grow and venues become more involved in creating “concerts” more than “gigs”. Meaning that people are there to hear/listen to the music “concert” rather than the traveling band is there doing a “gig” so that they can hopefully get enough gas money to get to the next town. Meanwhile they are competing with 10 flat screen TVs and a bar full of sports fans that are screaming over the band and while they are playing, their van gets broken into or wrecked out on the street.

9. What band or record do you really like, but you are a little a shamed about?
I always liked the movie Xanadu and had the soundtrack record when I was a kid. I had no idea it was Disco and If I heard it now I would probably cringe lol… But Olivia Newton John, well she was a first love for me.

10.Eating dog shit or record with Toby Keith?
Who is Toby Keith?

http://www.loushieldsart.com

Here at Old Style Music Nights HQ we had the idea to ask ten of the same questions to a bunch of different people who we respect for what they do in this world. Being it musicians, label owners, festival bookers, whatever. Over the weeks you’ll see them come all by… Remember, they all got the same questions, this could get weird…
We start this series with Jared McGovern, singer and banjo player for The Urban Pioneers. For our readers in Europe, good news, they will be touring here from November 14 to December 21. That last show is a show I’m doing, so if you are somewhere around Diest (Belgium) that date, come and dance with us at The Celt! Find all tour dates and info via the link at the end of this interview.

1. Introduce yourself to our readers please.
My name is Jared McGovern, I play banjo and sing in the Urban Pioneers.  I wear size 11 shoes and need a haircut pretty bad. I’m engaged to Liz, who plays fiddle and sings in the Urban Pioneers.  We live together in a bus parked on our bass player’s (Guido) property in East Tennessee.

2. On what record would you have loved to play? (any style, artist, whatever) 
I’m greedy. One time I found a magic lamp and a genie gave me three wishes. My first wish was to ask for unlimited wishes.
I wish I could have played on Michael Jackson’s Thriller. First because it is fucking awesome and second because it’s the highest grossing song of all time and I’d be rich as hell and be able to do a lot of good with that money.

3. What is the first concert that made a real impression on you and made you want to play music?
The first concert I ever went to was Lollapalooza in 1994 and that show warped my fragile mind forever.  The line up was insane – Metallica, Rancid, Ramones, Rage Against The Machine, The Melvins, and a bunch of other bands.I still remember that day like it was yesterday, it made such an impression on me. I remember the weather being beautiful and riding with my friend in his mom’s car listening to Jimi Hendrix and bouncing off the walls with anticipation. I had seen concert footage before but I had never experienced anything like it. I was mostly excited for Rancid, the Ramones, and Metallica and I lost my mind when they played. As soon as they started I went straight for the pit and my buddy shoved me down and I got the shit stomped out of me.It was awesome!! That day changed me forever.  After that day I became a serious music lover and tried to go to as many shows as possible.

4. Is there a musician/artist you really want to work with and why?
That is a really tough one. I want to work with lots of artists. I love collaborations and letting yourself go to be influenced by other writers and musicians. I am very new at this song writing thing so recently I’ve been trying to surround myself by song writers I admire to see if it will rub off on me. I’ve been talking to Brook Blanche a little bit about this song idea I have and I’m excited to see how that turns out. I was also talking in the past about putting together a truck driving album that will have an all-star cast of folks like James Hunnicutt, Wyatt Maxwell, and Adam Lee. All that stuff takes time though so hopefully we’ll actually make it happen.

5. How did you end up in this “roots” scene?
If you told me 20 years ago that I would be singing and playing banjo in a hillbilly band I would’ve slapped you. I went through lots of phases, haircuts, and bands in the past and it was all fun as hell. The position I am in now came from a long line of sometimes great and sometimes horrible decisions. Life is a journey and everything you do today will affect where you are and who you are tomorrow. I started playing music as a horrible guitar player in punk bands. I wanted to play music but I was such a bad guitar player that I knew I needed to try to play something else to be able to join a band because no one would want me as a guitar player. I really really sucked. I don’t know why but for some reason I thought I’d be able to play fiddle. I got a cheap fiddle off eBay and tried to play it for a couple of weeks until I gave up. That shit is hard! Then I had some interest in playing upright bass. I didn’t have money for one though so I built a wash tub bass and that thing was awesome. I was hooked!
Mind you at this time I had just moved to a new town and didn’t have any friends or have a clue where to go see shows. I didn’t know any fellow musicians or anything so I was pretty much left on my own to figure stuff out.
After playing the wash tub bass for a little while I went and splurged and got myself a used Engelhardt bass from a music shop. I loved that thing so much, I played until my fingers bled and then I taped them up and played some more. After a few months of figuring out the bass I had the confidence to play with some people so I started searching around for other musicians. I played with anybody and everybody I could. I was having a good time but none of the bands seemed to stick or have the same idea that I had in mind until I started Soul Reapin 3. I had a ton of fun with that band. We were a psychobilly band based out of Connecticut and Dennis, from Sawyer Family played guitar and sang too.
I finally got to the point where I wanted to give this music thing a full-time shot. Our drummer had a great teaching job that he didn’t want to give up so I left SR3 in pursuit of another band where I can play music full-time. I did a month with The Hillbilly Hellcats in Europe and when I got back I got a phone call that Bob Wayne was looking for a bass player. I packed my stuff immediately and met the band in Austin, TX to join the tour.

6. Do you believe in aliens, and if so… What does their music sounds like?
I totally believe in aliens!! I don’t think they have music like we have music. I bet aliens don’t have the ability to hear like we do, they have other weird senses and stuff that we can’t even imagine. If humans heard alien music it would make us poop our pants and our head would explode

7. Who do you believe to be the most overrated band on the planet at this moment, and why?
The most overrated band on the planet is the wrist band. I mean think about it, it’s just a piece of plastic that goes around your wrist. It can’t cost more than 3 cents to make but clubs are charging lots of money for these pieces of plastic

8. Just like any “scene” this one will explode in time, how do you see the future of this new “roots” movement?
Roots music has always been around and will always be around in some shape or form. There has been sort of an explosion as of lately but this is really nothing new. I hope that there will always be people who are preserving the traditional styles of music but I also hope there will always be people who will take that traditional style and put their own contemporary spin. Commercial music that is forced to us is mass-produced crap much like every other industry now a days. It takes a little more effort to seek out the good wholesome real products but the pay off from it and what you get out of it is so worth it

9. What band or record do you really like, but you are a little a shamed about?
I like a lot of off the wall stuff but I’m generally not ashamed of it. Sinead O’Connor? Bring it on. Rick Astley? Hell yeah. Hootie? I used to be able to get down until he started playing that country crap. When it comes down to it, if it makes you wanna shake your but then shake the hell out of it. One thing I hated about the punk scene is that people would give you a hard time over what you listen to. Fuck you! I listen to what I want!

10. Eating dog shit or record with Toby Keith?
How much is he paying?

http://urbanpioneersmusic.com/index.html

The cliché goes that great things come in small packages, I guess that also counts for great voices. Hot damn! I’m not a big fan of female fronted rock ‘n’ roll bands, but this band got me hooked. Where lots of other bands seem to use the frontwoman thing as a gimmick or crowd pleaser, with Lara Hope and The Ark-Tones it all feels right.
This is not your twelve in a dozen girly, girl rockabilly album. This is the real deal!

Luck Maker, the first full album by this Hudson Valley, NY band was born fully with the help of crowdfunding. It must have been a great feeling for this band that people where believing in them to create such a great album that they where all willing to chip in before hearing any of the music. And let me say, they where right to do so.

The album swings like the tits of a fat girl doing jumping jacks. I’m not saying it’s all fast forward songs, not at all, party songs, dark ballads, rhythm ‘n’ blues to hold your lover close. The songs flow out and come together as a perfect piece of roots music. Lara is backed by amazing musicians and songwriters, one of them being Matt from world known psychobilly band The Arkhams on the doghouse. Chris Heitzman on guitar and Dave Tetreault on drums make up a great band that knows how to write a song.

Highlights for me are “Whiskey Pick”, an uptempo swinger that makes you want drink, dance and maybe hit a chair over someone’s head because he gave your girl a dirty look. This song could be used in a bar fight scene for some movie, I can see it! Hey Quentin, here’s some new music for ya!
“He is not the devil” is a country’esque uptempo ballad (is there such a thing?) carried by Matt’s perfect slapping bass line about an abusive relationship that more than a few of their listeners will relate to. Hang in there girls, prince charming is out there somewhere…

I guess by now you know I like this album, and I’m sure you will too. Lara’s voice is one of the best I’ve heard for a long time in this “scene” thing and I’ve said it before, this is not girly girl music, so boys you can play this one full blast while driving with the windows down, who knows you could be that prince charming for that one girl…

That’s it, I’m out!

Photo credit: C3 Photography

While on tour in Europe, James released a “new” album. To be honest, it’s 8 tracks from the pre-release for his new album and two songs he recorded while in London, England the ninth of October. Niko and Matt from The Freeborn Brothers, with whom James is touring, made this happen. James arrived in Europe with no merch at all, so a plan was made and a cd was born. I have to give it to my Polish friends Niko and Matt, they get the job done! In Belgium we joke about Polish people being thieves, lowlifes and lazy fucks… but these two prove me wrong every time! It has nothing to do with racism, it’s just stereotypes, so please get the sand out of your vagina…If you are on tour and need cd’s, get in contact with these guys, they’ll hook you up and make it happen!!!

We all love to sing along to James’ songs, he has a way to make you smile and cry at the same time. This new release is not a sing along album, not at all. It’s heavier, more metal, like a semi-acoustic doom metal monster. In almost each song there is an electric guitar in the background building a base but not taking over. His voice and sublime guitar picking is still the main course, but it has such a different feel compared to his previous releases. “I’ll take the rain” could be a Paradise Lost song if you add drums and more guitars, but this stripped-down version does the trick. “Never Alone” is the next one, and shoot me if I’m wrong, but I’m sure that James based this song on the Cock Sparrer song he loves to play. It has the punk vibe but never gets to the sing along, soccerhooligan anthem as the song I think it is based on. But it works just as well!

The title song, Who Will Raise The Flag, is a typical James Hunnicutt song, but oh so metal, slow built up, grabbing you by the throat lyrics that you try to give a place in your life but don’t really understand, his fantastic voice kicking you down, lifting you up and then just leaves you feeling like you need to do something for someone, but you forgot who it was and this person really needs you now… It’s weird how he does it, but he always makes you think…
The two songs recorded live in London at the end of the album bring back James as most of us know him, a guitar and a voice, and will take you home after a “hard to understand” first run of this album but make sure to play it over and over again, it grows on you!

This cd is limited to 100 copies so most of you will never have the opportunity to buy it, don’t be sad, the new album will be released soon and has the same songs on it.

There is a mistake on the sleeve or/and on the cd, song number nine and ten have switched places, that’s what you get with working with them polish folks. I’m just joking, not about the mistake, it’s for real. But if you can get shit done as fast as Niko and Matt can, you can take over the world without people noticing it. I just hope these two stay on the *Team Simple side and let us do what we like, have a beer, go to shows, have fun with the people we love and be good to the folks who deserve it…

*Team Simple: people who like to party, have fun, get drunk, don’t care, don’t drink, do drugs, take care of their friends, don’t do drugs, be straight edge, hate religion, believe in god, don’t preach, eat red meat, love their rabbit, walk their dogs, holdhairbackwhilepuking, love life, don’t give up, joke on you, kick you in the nuts and hug it out…

Look out for our interview with James Hunnicutt and The Freeborn Brothers. We will be posting it soon…

10 bands you may not know, but you sure as hell would want to know! (worldwide) I’m damn sure that when you’re reading this, you are a music freak, I see no other reason to checkout this blog… Oh wait, Inny is gonna kill me! CHECK OUT THE STUNNING PHOTOGRAPHY IN THE ART SECTION. Back to business it is…

I was thinking it would be a cool idea to introduce our readers to some bands I really like and they maybe don’t know about. I for one love it when someone tells me about a band I don’t know, but they are pretty sure of I will go apeshit for. I understand that not all these bands will appeal to you, we all like different stuff even in a same ‘genre’. In this list are just bands that came to mind on the spot. Some of them are in my favorite bands list, others are good friends that I like you, our reader, to take some time for to check out. And then others are just, well how to say this? KICK ASS?!?! I hope you will enjoy this list and feel free to send us some of the bands you really like or think we should check out. Yes I’m open to review band albums, demo’s or just talk about your band here if I like it. I’m also open to bribes…

1. Everymen (Lake Worth, FL, USA)
I think I first heard these guys on a compilation being it by Farmageddon Records or on a Muddy Roots sampler for the festival. I honestly have no clue. But I do know that every time I hear them, I smash my head against a wall because I did not went to see their show at this year’s Muddy Roots festival. They played 50 meters away from where we where sitting (Hangdog Hearts/Farmageddon merch tent). I was just too engaged in doing nothing, drinking beer and talking to people. I could hear them play, and was thinking “damn those guys are killing it, go and see them”. I guess Wal-Mart camping chairs are just to comfy… Anyway, enjoy this track of their brand new album.

 

2. Black Cat Bone Squad (Halen, Belgium)
I know it’s a bit biased to put this band in this list, but hey what are you going to do about it? Indeed, these boys are some of my best friends in the world. One of them is real family, but I consider them all as my brothers, I’m very serious about this. I would run into a burning house wearing a rubber chicken suit to rescue them from a certain death, or if they left some beer in that house…
I was there from the early beginning, when they where playing under the moniker Bandits ’49. Don’t look for it, looking back at it, it wasn’t that great… I mean they could play, but it was a cover band… Fact is that the first song in the video is a cover, but damn, they kill it! They released two full albums and a split cd. In 2015 they will release a split album with S.S. Web from the USA. More about S.S. Web later. I sure hope you like their blend of Roots Rock/Psychobilly. If you do, send me a message and I’ll hook you up with a cd or shirt.

 

3. Crazy Arm (United Kingdom)
I did not know about this band before a couple of months ago. I think it was in may 2014 that a friend told me to check them out. I was a little confused, if you check their YouTube video’s you would think that there are 3 or 4 bands playing under this name. But as I found out, they just do what they like and that’s okay in my book. This is how they describe it themselves: “Formed in 2006, Plymouth roots-punk ensemble, Crazy Arm’s sound is an accumulation of decades of influence and inspiration: rooted in hardcore/punk, ‘60s protest folk/country and Springsteen-esque classic rock’n’roll. They combine this with a grass-roots political overview that embraces anti-war, anti-fascist and pro-community activism”.
As you may expect from this description, they are indeed a very political band, and I’m okay with that. For me a punk band without something to say is not a punk band. It doesn’t have to be negative or violent, sing about hope, sing about making this world a better place in dark times, sing about how multicultural society is bringing us fear, but make sure you sing about how we can overcome this fear and kick down those who oppose our way of living.

 

4. Coma Commander (Diest, Belgium)
Oh my … (insert your deity of choice) Coma Commander… First things first, check this video and then read on………………………………………………….. Have you seen it? Did you love it? Did you laugh? Did it make you want to go out with your friends and have a crazy day? These boys are from my hometown and I love all of them even if one of them is a damn hippie!
If they are in need of a driver, they give me a call and I sure had some fun nights with the boys in this band. They are young, crazy and can be a pain in the ass but fucking hell there is some talent in this band, being it as musicians or in their private life. Bram, their singer is an out of this world graphic artist. Check his stuff here.

 

5. Blackbird Raum (Santa Cruz, California, USA)
As a folk punk band they reminded me of Petrograd, the band from Luxembourg, not the city in Russia. I think it was the female vocals, not that Petrograd has that many female vocals, but it just triggered the need to listen to my old Petrograd records. (I just mindfucked all of you and by know you are all listening to Petrograd on YouTube or Spotify. With a little luck you pulled out that old Petrograd record) Blackbird Raum is an anarcho folk band and they are alive with activism. Their extreme left-wing message will not work for all, but their music is of an unheard beauty to me. They toured europe some years ago and I’m really sad I missed them. I also missed them at Muddy Roots this year, Inny told me they where something she hadn’t ever seen before, in a good way. Don’t mind the helmets… That’s all I can say about this video.

 

6. El Guapo Stuntteam (Hasselt, Belgium)

Best rock ‘n’ roll band Belgium ever had! That’s all I will say about them. From their early days untill their last and final album…

 

7. The Shrine (Venice, LA, USA)
“Dude, come over, we’re at a skate contest/festival thing in Hasselt (Belgium) and it’s free.” That’s all I need to read in a text message to get me going. I rolled into the festival on my board and was blown away by the sonic assault that is The Shrine. A mix between hardcore punk, 70’s rock and metal? I have no idea how to describe them better. It’s loud, fast and kicks you in nuts! BLESS OFF!

 

8. Call me Bronco (Louisville, Kentucky, USA)
This wild bunch of hellraisers I got to know at the 2013 Muddy Roots festival in Cookeville. They played the open mic stage and they sure left a big impression. They sound like a metal band playing country music and there is nothing wrong with that! I don’t think they have a song that does not involve alcohol, a bad girlfriend or someone dying. But hey, those are perfect themes to sing about, if you ask me. No one ever does… This year they played the big wood stage at the festival and boy did I have fun, not as much as the band on stage, even with all those broken snares. They just didn’t care and went on!
http://youtu.be/0YmmlQG6tKo

 

9. S.S. Web (Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA)
First things first! S.S. Web will be playing Muddy Roots Europe 2015!!! Hooray! S.S. Web will release a split album with Black Cat Bone Squad in 2015! Hooray! S.S. Web will be touring the whole of Europe in 2015! Hooray!
Why am I so excited about this? Because they are an amazing band, that’s why!!! This year we had the honour to book shows for their singer Henry Berger when he was on tour with The Hangdog Hearts and Lou Shields. We spent a lot of time together drinking, talking and doing silly stuff, he crashed in our guest room a couple of times and we just had a good time. S.S. Web is not really known in Europe, but we want to change that. The upcoming tour is something I’m really looking forward to, and that split with my boys in Black Cat Bone Squad is something I’m very of proud as I’m the fire starter for this project.

 

10. Hangdog Hearts (Indianapolis, Indiana, USA)
This is by far one of my favorite bands. And they have some of my favorite people in this band. They will be back in Europe in 2015, look out for that. I have nothing more to say about them. I love their music, I love them as people. Fuck it, that’s all…

 

This post was written while listening to Venom, Dead Kennedys, Towns Van Zandt and Those Poor Bastards.
Drinking tip while reading and viewing the video’s: A strong dark Belgian beer!

How amazing is it that as a first article on a new blog about roots music, punk rock and all other music my wife and I love with all our hearts, I get to write about Scott H. Biram, James Hunnicutt and The Freeborn Brothers. The latter may not be known that well with our readers, but I recommend you all check them out. Hailing from Poland, Niko and Matt are two of the most wonderful guys that will ever cross your path. Riding thousands of miles all over Europe to perform their own blend of hobo gypsy trash grass… Yeah, that’s what they call it, I call it, “what the fuck did they just do, that was fucking insane!” But then in a good way…

More about them later.

Last weekend Scott H. Biram came to Belgium to promote his new album “Nothin’ but Blood”. First things first, this album is way better then his previous one “bad ingredients”, but that is my opinion. Scott never really disappoints. Each of his albums has songs that go straight to your heart. Long fingernail, for me will always be his best song.

MOD in Hasselt was the place to be, it’s a semi-independent music venue that does great work to promote local talent and also has the big shows. The great thing is that they have a small room with an intimate stage for shows as these apart from the big stage.

Due to work obligations I missed the opening act Fernant Zeste, so I’m not going to talk about him. I hope he had fun and played a great set.

A Biram show for me is always linked to booze and good friends. My first Biram show was with my brother-in-law Stef Sweetboy and my good friend Jumpin’Jim, both in Black Cat Bone Squad.

I remember it vaguely, a typical Belgian Blues rock festival, Scott shocked the old guys, we loved it and kids where crying because he yelled at them for being little fuckers trying to play on stage… But that’s what I remember. I don’t think mister Biram remembers the second show I saw him play, he was just drunk, the show was not that great… This one was!

The moment I walked into the venue I was handed a beer and greeted by some of my best friends in the world and I knew that this was gonna be a good one! And hell yeah, it was! Yes, mister Biram was a little drunk, but a good kind of drunk, the kind when he let’s his demons out and wants to party with the people in the room. He played us some of his new songs like the ass kicker “Jack of Diamonds”, “Church Point Girls” and “slow and Easy”  mixing them in with older song and off course some old blues songs. Switching from acoustic to electric guitar, from slow but dark driven blues songs to almost metal songs he had the crowd with their throath from note one. Folks where dancing, drinking, singing and screaming for more. “Truck Driver”, he played Truck Driver and for us, the people who know his stuff that’s always a kick ass song to sing along to. When he played “still drunk, still crazy, still blue” he had the whole room singing along. An amazing moment… I have to be honest, I was tired from,a long day at work, and I was fulfilled when his set ended, but you know people always want more. Scott knows this aswell. So he did a few more… Those few more were fueled by the whiskey he was drinking all night and as I was still sober, well, he shouldn’t have done it… But the drunk folks loved it!

It was a great night, with great music and friends. I got me a copy of the new record at the merch and drove home listening to some Darkthrone… It just felt right…

Two days later on sunday it was time to get our asses to Aarschot, a scenic little city in Belgium. Cafe De Flater (the mistake) was the place to be. Our dear friend and PMA guru James Hunnicutt was starting his European tour there with The Freeborn Brothers. James who arrived in Belgium two days later then planned, due to airline company fuck-ups, welcomed my wife and me with a big and heartfilling James hug. It just lifts you up. It was only a month ago that we said our goodbyes at the Muddy Roots Festival in Cookeville, Tennessee, but for one reason, it’s always to long to go without a James hug.

Redcloud opened the show. I don’t know much about this guy, but he had a good voice and he sure loved Canada… James was next, even if he was the headliner. Marijn, the promoter of the show thought it was a good idea to let James play second, and I think he was right to do so. The man was tired, but thankful as always to have a stage to share his songs with an audience. What is there to tell about a James Hunnicutt show? I have never seen a Hunnicutt show that I did not like. He had me in tears at many, not this one, he had me dancing on stage with “don’t let tear drops fill your eyes”, not this one, he had me singing along with a Danzig song, he had me singing along with a Judas Priest song, he had me singing along with a Cock Sparrer song… Yep, all of these this sunday evening!!! It was just GOOD! And his new songs promise all of us a new “have to get” album.

The Freeborn Brothers where up next to end the festivities, and if you have ever seen them you know they fuck shit up! Banjo, electric guitar, drums, washboard, harmonica and two voices, all done by two guys. In this weird, mystical, religious and dirty feeling atmosphere they create you just want to dance, drink and repent your sins to the One below. I don’t care how much they sing about jesus and god, it just feels like they sing for the devil and it feels goooooood! The thick accent in their english songs give it that extra weird feeling. It’s like Dad Horse,  but without being “funny”. Pick up their new album or order it via their Facebook, you will not be disappointed. If you are, you can yell at me and call me names next time you see me.

For a first post this was it. We hope you liked it and come back for more. Wanna see more Scott H. Biram pics? Check them out here!