Hailing from the Sunshine state The Bloody Jug Band have been described as Florida Swamp Noir. Sounding like an insane collision between alt-country, Clear Spot era Beefheart and classic Creedence with a good dose of acid fried Roky Erikson their particular blend of Gothic picking would be just the thing for one of those sticky, fly-specked deep south horror movies.
I tracked down vocalist Cragmire Peace and asked him how the Bloody Jug Band came into being.
‘The Bloody Jug Band was founded in 2009 as a attempt to bring something different to the Global Music Scene. The idea of bringing the sensibilities of a traditional JUG Band to the modern world, coupled with some of my personal attractions to the darker side of life, seemed like something ‘fresh’ to invest our creative energies into. And luckily for us, even after seven years, we all still feel that way.
We started out as a five piece band, but quickly grew to an eight piece touring act once we realized that when you play a more traditional instrument, with limited range, you needed more people to truly create that larger sound we were going for. Also, the more bodies on stage all helping row the boat, creates a increased level of energy and stage presence that plays into our dynamic stage shows perfectly.
Our current lineup consists of the following eight members: myself Cragmire (Vocals/Washboard), Stormy Jean (Vocals/Tambourine), Big Daddy Jerm (JUG/Percussion), DeathRay (Acoustic Guitar/Mandolin), Steevil (Electric Guitar/Banjo), Seth Funky (Washtub Bass), Bloody Rick (Harmonica) & Baby Dingo (Cajon).’
As a Brit I was naturally delighted to see that the Bloody Jug Band rate many British and Irish bands, like Motorhead and thin Lizzy amongst their influences but I really wanted to to find out whose music has most informed the Bloody Jug Band’s musical direction
Cragmire explained: ‘When you have eight members who range so drastically in age, background and talents, We are never short of influences and directions to explore. But, to start…I’d say any of those Outlaw Country staples like Johnny Cash, Waylon or Merle Haggard have to be recognized. As well as artists who understood how to make darker subject-matter their primary vehicle for entertainment, such as The Misfits, Alice Cooper, Warren Zevon & Nick Cave. And of course, those timeless story tellers who knew how create cautionary tales, dynamic word play, and outside the box stories to compel their audiences to lend an ear, like Bob Dylan, Tom Petty & Tom Waits, rank very high on the list of influences as well. We are always looking for new nuggets of inspiration to spark ideas or simply inspire us to keep moving forward in this tough business We call the ‘Music Industry’.
There’s obviously a deep southern Gothic influence in the bands song writing and image too, especially apparent in the band’s most recent promo video Beautiful Corpse, so I wanted to discover what Cragmire’s favourite horror movies and TV were.
Cragmire was only too happy to tell me: ‘I personally have always leaned more towards monster movies, than traditional gore or horror flicks. I felt the plight of the misunderstood was interesting, much more so then psychotic killers hell bent on revenge. So, stuff like the old George Romero ‘Day of the Dead’ movies, ‘Dracula‘ & ‘Frankenstein‘, were always impactful to me. But also, so many of the B-Cult movies of the 70’s and 80’s had a sense of humour mixed in, which we use heavily in our music. Add on top of that old Spaghetti Westerns, Tarantino Films & Black Comedies from people like the Coen Brothers, and you can see why our music is said to have such a visual/film-like element to it. Film has been as much of an influencer in what we do as music is.
But as a simple rule of thumb, We also try to stay away from anyone who takes themselves or their art Tooo seriously. So while we’re trying to motivate or inspire people with our music, we also like to have fun with them, because in the end, music or ‘Entertainment’ should not be one dimensional. And most of what we gravitate towards is in line with that. We take the business of the BJB, the creation of our music, and our overall focus and professionalism ALL very seriously. But, also being able to throw in a sense of humour, or some off the wall ideas is simply more fun. And if we’re not having fun, then neither is the audience.
So what can we expect next from The Bloody Jug Band?
We’ve been releasing a lot of ‘Practice Sessions’ on our Youtube channel to give people a taste of how We like to cover songs by popular artists while also injecting some of our unique sensibilities to them. And it also gives people a chance to see a more personal and relaxed side of the band than what they may be used to seeing on stage.
But in regards to ‘formal’ recordings, We’re headed back into the studio in the next few months to start laying down our third full length album, which should be released in early 2017. And We have some interesting collaborations on the way with other artists, as well as a few more music videos to still be released for songs off our Latest, ‘Rope Burn’ album. So…stay tuned!!!’
Big thanks to Cragmire for taking the time to talk to us.