Hooh, doggy, we got us a good 'un today. Yep, it's Deep Blues Friday. And we have an World-Premier Exclusive a the bottom! Hold on to your wigs.
But first, in keeping with our inspiration, The Deep Blues Festival, we'd like to draw your attention to the upcoming Deep Blues Film Festival. It's going to run from January 23rd-January 30th, and it's got a killer list of films already in the can: - "Can't Take It With You", "The Hand Of Fatima", "The Folksinger", "It Came From Detroit", and "Wayne County Rambling". More info on the films and the Fest can be found at the Myspace Page. If you're planning to be in the Minneapolis area, or have the time, it's well worth checking out.
We can't even pretend to be objective when it comes to Pure Country Gold. They're one of our favorite bands, a two-man (drums, guitar, vocals) force of raw nature, all desperation and booze-fueled rock'n'fuckin'roll.
We finally got to see 'em play live at last summer's Deep Blues Fest, and they exceeded every expectation, a sweaty barrel-house blast of amped-up sound and wail.
We wrote about 'em way back when. Here's part of what we said:
"Pure Country Gold is pure trash. Tasty, nasty and loud. And sleazy. Sleazy like the barroom floor at last call, you don't have to go home, but you can't stay here, and who're you gonna pick up to take home for a quick rut just to say your weekend wasn't a total waste, burning sensation be damned...Yeah, it's that good. ...It's complete (glorious, sonic) junk masquerading with a name designed to confuse. But, they've got that sensibility, if you know what we mean...Imagine some urban cowboy wandering into a local jukejoint only to be faced with this glorious racket, shit-amped guitars through busted speakers, some guy hollerin' wounded goat over the bluescowpunk mess. Feller would probably crap his Lee's...Hyper-amped, garage-fuelled, amphetamine muckity muck."
'Course, that barely covers the band and their sound. But, we figger, why listen to us blather on, when you can hear direct from the band?
Singer and guitar fucker Patrick Foss (aka Petey, aka Pure Cunt) was kind enough to answer a few questions for us.
A Big Rock Candy Mountain Interview With Pure Country Gold
(In which we learn the value of bubbles)
Big Rock Candy Mountain: Who is Pure Country Gold and how did you come to be?
Patrick Foss: Patrick & Jake or Petey & Beefjake or Pure Cunt & Tree Gold. We'll answer to any of those names. One night we were both drinking in a bar called Club 21 and decided to start playing together.
BRCM: Where did the name Pure Country Gold come from, and how pure are you?
PF: The name came out of my desire to pick something happy and hippie sounding. I like to think we play feel-good music and thought the band-name should put warm and happy images into people's heads. Sunflowers & sunshine are the images that popped in my head and I felt that that aesthetic was the antithesis to the Jack Daniel's t-shirt and devil-doll rawk stuff which I find kinda dumb. We never considered that having the word 'country' in our name would confuse people, but sometimes we don't think things through too good. Pure? Uh...probably not so much.
BRCM: Are you a Blues band with Punk roots, a Punk band with Blues roots, none of the above, all of the above, or something else entirely?
PF: I've never thought of us as a "blues" band, but there's definitely a strong blues and R&B influence. Punk and blues music is how we learned to play our instruments so those influences inform how we perform the songs I write. I think we play rock & roll, but that doesn't mean anything anymore so I'll just let the journalist-types like you decide what we play.
BRCM: Who are your influences, if any? What infernal sounds inform the Pure Country Gold aesthetic?
PF: 50's and 60's rock and pop are heavy influences on my songwriting, as is later power-pop and punk rock. I'm a huge nerdy Beatles fan. Discovering Crypt Records sometime in the mid-90's was pretty big for me. I also love early hardcore and Greg Ginn is probably my favorite guitar player. Jake and I are also the world's only 2-piece Bad Brains tribute band if that says anything about us.
BRCM: Whiskey or beer?
PF: Beer. Mostly Vodka for me, but I don't discriminate too much.
BRCM: Yellow Bubbles. Discuss.
PF: We were in a bar on tour and I ordered a Pabst and the bartender said they didn't have Pabst, so I tried Hamm's, Olympia, Rainier, etc and they didn't have none of those either. Finally I asked for anything yellow with bubbles in it. Some drunk at the bar was amused by that and said he was gonna write a song called 'Yellow Bubbles'. I think I yelled back at him, "Not if I write it first! I'll see you on the pop-charts motherfucker!"
I don't remember what beer I ended up being served, but it had yellow bubbles in it. Anyway, I ended up writing a silly pop song about domestic beer and the apocalypse. I'm proudest of the line "have a magic moment sometimes" which is a backronym for Hamm's that I made up. Anyway, Big Legal Mess still has some of the 7 inchers lying around so people need to buy them puppies up! They’re on yellow-gold vinyl!
BRCM: Has there ever been a situation where one of you had to play a solo gig due to, ahem, unforeseen circumstances? If so, how did that work out, and what important lessons about life did you learn?
PF: Just about everybody who was at the Deep Blues Fest 08 knows this story, but we've never told our side. We were at the Holiday Inn lounge with many other DBF performers and I wanted some tequila. When I asked how much the Patron cost the bartender told me $4. That's really fucking cheap and probably a mistake, so I ordered 15 shots! I drank 2 or 3 of em, gave away several and left Jake with the rest when I headed up to my room to go to bed.
At some point Jake went outside and sat down to make a phone call and fell asleep. The hotel security couldn't roust him so they called the cops. The next morning I get a call from our buddy Jay to inform me that Jake's in the drunk-tank. We were slotted to play at noon and I got the call around 10:30. Jay and I drove into St Paul, tracked down the detox center and found out there was no way Jake was making the gig.
There was nothing else we could do so we headed towards Lake Elmo to the festival and I jotted down a list of songs I thought I could pull off solo. All I was thinking was that I needed to pull something off because we needed to get paid! We arrived at the festival at a quarter to noon and I set up on stage. I played 8 or so songs and it went great - I wrote those songs alone on my acoustic so there was no reason they wouldn't work this time. Thankfully Chris was kind enough to make room for us the next day so we were able to get a set in with the whole band.
Life lesson? For me: don't leave your already-drunk drummer in the bar with 4 or 5 shots of tequila in front of him when you have a gig at noon the next day. For Jake: don't drunk-dial your friends outside of hotels in Ramsey County, MN.
BRCM: Louder, Faster or Out of Control?
PF: Out of control.
BRCM: As a duo, how does your dynamic work? Do you find yourselves limited or freed by the drum 'n' guitar format? And how do you get so damned loud? Is there a volume above 11?
PF: I write song ideas on my acoustic at home and then bring Jake and some amplification in to flesh things out. We're definitely limited, but I think the limitation is a good thing - it's a fun challenge to make things work with just the two of us. Maybe someday we'll run out of ideas and we'll add instruments or members to open things up, but I think we'll be ok for a while with the setup we have now. I've always been a pretty "busy" guitar player and combined with Jake's bombastic drumming I think it works out well. Yes, we're loud too, but because Jake's a loud fucking drummer and I turn up to be heard!
BRCM:You're based out of Portland, Oregon, a city known for a great music scene. How does the band fit into the city? Where are the best clubs to play? Is beer at Club 21 still just a buck on Wednesday night?
PF: Everyone says how Portland has this great scene but I don't really see it. There’s no unified Portland scene at all - it's all fractured and cliquey like everywhere else. There are too many venues and bands here and everyone just goes to see their friends' bands play and ignore everything else. That being said, we have many great friends in many great bands and we play lots of great shows with our friends. I love that, but I don't feel that we're part of any greater Portland music scene and I don't think any of our friends do either. I don't mean to sound like I'm complaining - we really love playing in this town and have played with many bands of many genres at many venues - but all this talk of a Portland scene doesn't really make sense to me.
There are some great venues here - the Kenton Club, the East End and Slabtown treat us well and we love playing those places. Club 21 is not really a club - meaning there are no bands or strippers there - but we spend lots of time there drinking even though beer is no longer a buck on Wednesday nights. As much as we love the place, it's a pretty shitty bar and I love to imagine that people may someday go in there just because of that song we wrote about it, but think it sucks and leave and never come back.
BRCM: Your favorite t-shirt?
PF: Probably my shirt that says "I'd rather be over the hill than under it", but I don't wear the shirt for the statement so much as because it's comfy and blue. I like blue.
BRCM: Obligatory Deep Blues Festival question: How did you come to play at the Fest, and what are your best memories of the Fest
PF: Jay Martin (aka DJ Hwy 7) is a close friend of ours and is friends with Chris Johnson and Rick Saunders and many other folks involved with the Deep Blues community. He recommended us and Chris contacted us to play the 2nd fest in 2008. We had a great time, met some great folks and Chris invited us to play again at the DBF09. Chris has a great thing going with this fest and I hope he can continue to build it to what it deserves to be. We’re certainly proud to have been a part of it!
There were many great bands at the fest last year, but I think Chooglin’ was my fave (ed note: Chooglin' did indeed kick much ass). My best memory of DBF09 though is hanging out with Jay on Thursday afternoon before the fest. He was so drunk by 3pm that he passed out and missed the whole Thursday night show. Maybe that's a silly thing to choose as a highlight, but I'd never seen him so drunk before and he made me laugh a lot.
BRCM: God or Satan?
BRCM: In a perfect world, Pure Country Gold has the number one single in the world. How do you celebrate?
PF: With drugs and girls I'm guessin.
BRCM: What's next for the band? Rumor has it you've completed a new record and are shopping it. Anything you can tell us about the album? Tour in the works?
PF: New record is done and yes, we're talking to labels now. We're real proud of this record - I think it sounds great, has a good variety of tunes and represents our live sound well. We have plans to tour the US and Europe in 2010. We'd love that record out before we hit the road so we're concentrating on that first, but we'll hit the road regardless. We promise.
Now, for that promised World Premiere Exclusive. The following track, "I'm The End" is a song from the aforementioned, upcoming new record from Pure Country Gold, "Tough Tuesday". The band were kind enough to share the record with us, and we can testify, hallelujah, that the album is a prime slab of pounding rawk, full of piss'n'vinegar, primal shout'n'howl. Tell your local record label to release this record now.
The other two tunes are from their 7"'s "Yellow Bubbles" and "Setting Sun".
Rock over America, rock over Portland!
Pure Country Gold: I'm The End (mp3)
Pure Country Gold: Yellow Bubbles (mp3)
Pure Country Gold: Setting Sun (mp3)
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