Southern Culture On The Skids has been spreading the rock and roll gospel since since they formed in Chapel Hill, NC in1983. Guitarist/singer Rick Miller, drummer Dave Hartman and bassist/singer/heartbreaker Mary Huff, play a greasy mix of surf, rockabilly, R&B and country-fried garage with a side of psych, all the while driving fans into ecstatic, sweat-drenched paroxysms of joy. It’s a musical gumbo Miller calls, “Americana from the wrong side of the tracks.” The band has been prolific and ubiquitous for over thirty years, touring everywhere from the North Carolina Prison System to Mt. Fuji, Japan and delivering what Rolling Stone calls “a hell raising rock and roll party.”
In 2014 the band was honored by the Southern Folk Life Collection at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill with an exhibition featuring their music and cultural contributions. The flame-adorned La-Z-Boy from the cover of their Plastic Seat Sweat LP now resides at UNC-CH!
THE ELECTRIC PINECONES
Southern Culture On The Skids' newest album, The Electric Pinecones, will be released on September 16, 2016. It's the band’s fifth album on their own label, Kudzu Records. The album features 12 original SCOTS tunes — 11 brand new songs and a whole-lotta NOLA remake of the SCOTS classic, “Swamp Fox - The Original.” All the tunes were produced and recorded at Rick’s studio in NC, The Kudzu Ranch.
The Electric Pinecones is a bit of a departure for the band conceptually and sonically. The inspiration for the record was born in an alter-ego side project from the early years of the band. “The Pinecones was folk-a-hill-a-billy garage band we used to put together just for kicks,” Miller relates. “We loved the sound of '60s west coast folk rock and psych bands. The Pinecones was our outlet for material that was not in the SCOTS vein. We even opened for ourselves occasionally. The Pinecones set list was the jumping off point for this latest collection of songs.”
The first single off the album, “Grey Skies,” is a minor key mood piece with that folk-a-billy, psychedelic sound. Listen to how the acoustic 12-string riff slides into the band’s hypnotic rhythms that propel Mary Huff’s reflective vocal into the mind’s eye of times past and love lost. “Check out the Mellotron on the chorus – that is a first for us,” Miller says.
The lead off track, “Freak Flag,” is more upbeat, but no less tweaked, with modulating guitars riding on pounding drums after the first verse. The song’s message is a good one – it is okay to be different and always respect yourself. The band debuted the song to an auditorium full of rowdy students at Carrboro Elementary School. “I was nervous,” Miller says “if the kids don’t like something they let you know, but when they started singing along with the second chorus and waving their imaginary freak flags in the air, I knew it was a hit!”
“Dirt Road” is Mary’s three-minute ode to séances, thunderstorms and good lovin’ long gone. The song is a backwoods southern gothic ghost story that opens with a big tom fill then twists and turns around a folky strum and a fuzz guitar. Mary’s spooky-good vocal takes it down that dirt road way back into the piney woods.
The album also has some country rock songs that highlight the melodic side of SCOTS, with “Baby I Like You,” “I Ain’t Gonna Hang Around” and “Given To Me” featuring some of the best harmonies Rick and Mary have ever recorded.
“Waiting On You” is the longest song on the album, coming in at 4:22; it’s a folk-garage-rocker with a sing-a-long chorus that segues into a surf raga breakdown before heading back to the big riff and out.
The album has traditional Southern Culture flavor too. Check out the remake of “Swamp Fox – The Original”. This take goes back to the beginnings of the song and is much closer to capturing the essence of the many all-nighters the band pulled in NOLA with friends and colleagues. The country funk of “Rice and Beans,” is a good humored tale of a cash strapped southern courtship, and “Midnight Caller” is Mary’s slinky R’n’B flavored woman-to-woman warning about bad men looking for good times.
Song for song, on The Electric Pinecones, Southern Culture On The Skids continues to blow minds and blur the lines between genres delivering a stellar album. From their 1985 debut Voodoo Beach Party, to their 1988 international smash, Dirt Track Date (featuring the hit single "Camel Walk"), and now to the SCOTS-ified tunes of The Electric Pinecones, 30+ years, 200+ songs and 1,000,000+ road miles in, Southern Culture On The Skids just continues to get better with time.
1985 - Voodoo Beach Party (EP) - Lloyd Street Records
1985 - First Album (album) - Lloyd Street Records
1990 - "Clyde’s Lament”/"CW James, 00 Spy" (single) - Moist Music
1991 - Too Much Pork For Just One Fork (album) - Moist Music
1991 - "Come and Get It" (single) - Giant Claw
1992 - Santo! Sings (7” EP) - Zontar Records
1992 - For Lovers Only (album) - Safe House/Plan 9
1993 - Peckin’ Party (EP) - Safe House/ Feedbag Records
1993 - Girlfight (EP) - Sympathy For The Record Industry
1993 - "Tantrum" ( With Don Howland, 7", Single) - Sympathy For The Record Industry
1993 - "Gossip And Rumours" (with The A-Bones, 7", Ltd) - Baylor Records
1993 - "Nakema" (With Don Howland, 7", Single) - Sympathy For The Record Industry
1994 - "White Trash" (7”) - Demolition Derby
1994 - "Cockroach Blues "(With Don Howland, 7", Single) - Sympathy For The Record Industry
1994 - "The Wedding Bell Twist" (7” single) - Telstar
1994 - "Moonshine Martinis" on The Estrus Cocktail Companion (6 7” box set, various artists) - Estrus Records
1994 - Ditch Diggin’ (album) - Safe House
1995 - "Hell Blues" (With Don Howland 7", Single) - Sympathy For The Record Industry
1995 - “Venus” on Star Power (various artists compilation) - Pravda
1995 - Dirt Track Date (album) - DGC/Geffen
1995 - "Camel Walk" (CD single) - DGC/Geffen
1996 - "White Trash”/“BSA441”/"Two Pigs In A Blanket" (7” single) - One Louder
1996 - Santo Swings (EP) - Estrus
1997 - "Tidewater Jack" (7” single w/ The Untamed Youth) - Gearhead Records
1997 - "Soul City" (CD single) - Geffen
1997 - "House of Bamboo" (CD single) - DGC
1997 - Plastic Seat Sweat (album) - Geffen
1998 - Zombified (CD EP) - import
1998 - Halloween Hootenanny (various artists compilation) - Zombie-a-Go-Go Records
1999 - Exposed Roots - The Best of Alt. Country (various artists compilation) K-Tel
2000 - Liquored Up and Laquered Down (album) TVT
2002 - Live At El Sol - Kudzu Records
2004 - Kudzu Records Presents Southern Culture On The Skids (3 7” single box set) - Kudzu Records
2004 - Mojo Box (album) - Yep Roc
2006 - Doublewide and Live (album, and deluxe edition) - Yep Roc
2007 - Countrypolitan Favorites (album) - Yep Roc
2009 - "Come As You Are”/"Lucifer Sam" (7” single w/ Los Straitjackets) - Spinout Records
2010 - The Kudzu Ranch (album) - Kudzu Records
2011 - Zombified (album, re-release w/ additional tracks) - Kudzu Records
2013 - Dig This (album) - Kudzu Records
2013 - Mondo Zombie Boogaloo (various artists compilation) - Yep Roc
2014 - Party At My Trouse (w/ Fred Schneider) (limited edition single) - Yep Roc
2015 - Party At My Trouse (w/ Fred Schneider) (12” dance remix EP) - Yep Roc
2016 - The Electric Pinecones (album) - Kudzu Records