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Bloodshot Briefing: Beer-B-Q Dreams

Matt Harness

There's probably not a better choice than Rick Sherry to kick off Saturday's Bloodshot Records' party at the Hideout.

After all, Sherry and his former band Devil in a Woodpile played every Tuesday at the bar since as far back as 2003 when I moved to Chicago. The band recently broke up, but Sherry dug into his past and formed Sanctified Grumblers with renowned roots-rocker and finger-picker Eric Noden, a longtime friend and playing partner.

Beachwood Music: What's your connection to Chicago?

Rick Sherry: I moved here in the late 1980s. The chick I was with, and now married to, was from here, and she pulled me to this beautiful cosmopolitan life. I am from Upstate New York. I then went to college in Iowa at Grinnell. That's what first got me to the Midwest.

Beachwood Music: Which neighborhood did you first settle in here?

Rick Sherry: My first place was on Clybourn just north of Fullerton. I guess that's Lincoln Park now, but it was a much different scene then. It was industrial and there were a lot of rats. Now, I'm in Logan Square.

Beachwood Music: Logan Square seems to be a Bloodshot haven. Dean Schlabowske among others calls that neighborhood home.

Rick Sherry: The kids are taking it over. I was walking to a new bar the other day and noticed three new tattoo shops opened up. It's kind of a younger crowd, the bike messengers. The people I am calling the cops on are these idiot kids shooting bottle rockets off each other.

Beachwood Music: What are some of your go-to places in Chicago?

Rick Sherry: Jazz Record Mart is the best record shop for the stuff I like. Laurie's Planet of Sound is a good place for cheap rock-and-roll. El Cid for Mexican. I also like Feed a lot. Bars? Hideout just because I played there forever. Quenchers is also good. It's always nice to find a neighborhood bar where you don't know anybody. I'm always on the search for that.

Beachwood Music: So what happened with Devil in a Woodpile? When I heard the band was no longer playing Tuesdays at the Hideout, it was probably like telling a Chicagoan the Bears aren't playing at Soldier Field.

Rick Sherry: Joel Paterson didn't want to play the Hideout anymore. He was never really happy with what he had to deal with (in terms of sound). He demanded they throw some lights in front of us. That worked out well enough, but it's a tough place to play acoustically. It finally boiled over the top. It was kind of a shocker to me. I guess I was hiding his frustrations and wasn't too concerned about them.

Beachwood Music: Tell me about your history with Eric.

Rick Sherry: We go way back to when he was first here in like the early 1990s. When you play this style of music, you learn who else is into the scene. We played with each other before. I on one of his earlier records.

But we never did have a band before. We've made a point to bring in material that we haven't recorded with our other bands. That's keeping it fun and exciting and keeping us motivated.

Beachwood Music: Any plans to make an album?

Rick Sherry: I'm sure there is. We have quite a few originals, and we will record at some point. It's not a top priority right now. We're just trying to get our name out there.

We will be putting some pretty rough stuff up on MySpace. It's just us into a single microphone.

Beachwood Music: You ever going to get back playing regularly at the Hideout?

Rick Sherry: Yes. Eric's going on a tour with Joe Filisko in Europe for October, but when he gets back, we're are set to play the Hideout, starting Nov. 10.

Beachwood Music: You told me that the Hideout gig might have been somewhere else. Explain.

Rick Sherry: Me and Tom Ray were looking for a bar to play acoustically at the same time, and we wanted a place that didn't do music. So we would go into all these neighborhood bars and check out the vibe. We weren't hustling places, and we really just ended up drinking there all night. But we really liked the Beachwood Inn. We were trying to scope out a place where we could play there. We always had a good time there. The Beachwood was always at the top of our list.

Beachwood Music: What can fans expect Saturday from Sanctified Grumblers?

Rick Sherry: Same old Americana, same old blues stuff. But we are a little more hillbilly. Eric and I have this nice harmonizing thing going on. We probably are not as a driving boogie as Devil, maybe a little more mellow, a little more jug bandish. We will try to get it rocking once in a while.


After Saturday, the Sanctified Grumblers play four more times in Chicago this month:

- Sept. 13: Quenchers
- Sept. 18: Charleston Tavern
- Sept. 22: Hideout
- Sept. 27: Quenchers

Beer and Music, Man
Rob Miller co-founded Bloodshot Records with Nan Warshaw back in 1994. Beachwood Music asked Miller to recall some memories of selected bands that will play Saturday at the Hideout.

Moonshine Willy: "When I was their drummer (summer of 94) we were on a national tour taking our hopped-up hillbilly punk to some grimy biker bar in Albany, CA. There was Kim, with her neo-Betty Page get up, Mike with his rockabilly greaser look, me looking not unlike I do now, but dirtier and our sweet little guitar player Nancy loading in gear in front of some seriously mean looking characters.

"As one graciously helped Nancy with her amp, he asked 'where ya from?' Chicago, I replied. 'Great, that's fucking awesome. We're in the mood for some kickass Chicago Blues around here.'

"Uh-oh, thought I.

"The evening did not go well and they were not pleased. But at least we had to do three sets."

Waco Brothers: "Seriously, one night? C'mon. I have seen them prolly 200 times and have seen maybe 5 shows that weren't good. But here we go. We were on a tour with the Sadies in the UK in 2003 or 2004, I was acting as tour manager/merch monkey/beer sponge. At the Edinburgh show, the meat-headed, methed-up bouncers decided to take great offense at something and cut the PA as the Wacos were in the middle of their encore. The crowd continued singing and Wacos continued playing through the amps.

"It was thrilling.

"As soon as the song ended, a local told me 'you'd all better get out of here fast' as the bouncers were mustering their buddies. After the fastest load out in recorded history, we hopped in the van and the sides were being pounded on by the fists of this horrid mob. It's still my favorite city, though."

Scott H. Biram: "One day this scary guy came in the office with Joe Buck (another scary guy, but who I know well enough to be reasonably certain he won't shank me), and handed me a CD and said 'you're gonna put this out. It's metal, man.' It was what turned out to be Scott's first Bloodshot CD "Dirty Old One Man Band."

"I pestered Nan endlessly until she saw that I was right and we needed to put it out. The first time I actually saw him play was in Austin at the Red Eyed Fly. I was just him and his harmonica and he had the room in total rapt attention. It was like a revival meeting. When he is locked in, no one channels the muddy river back to the heart of all american music better than Scott."

Jon Langford & Sally Timms: "Among my ample regrets over the years is not making board recordings of all their shows. By now, I would have a three record set of the best comedy team disguising themselves as a musical act. Howlingly funny. I hope they keep it PG-13 at the Hideout. There will be delicate ears afoot."

Alejandro Escovedo and Bobby Bare Jr: "I am lumping these two together for their ability to endlessly re-imagine their material. When Alejandro
recorded for us, as Bobby does now, we never knew what band he was coming
with, what configuration, or what songs they'd play. And it never mattered.

"Both artists tear apart and re-build their songs in dazzling ways. Emblematic abilities of two of the most original and daring and beautiful songwriters we've ever gotten to work with."


Bloodshot Briefing appears in this space every Friday. Matt welcomes your comments.


Posted on September 11, 2009

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