An Interview with the Bloody Jug Band: The darker side of Blues and Rock n’ Roll from swamps of Florida

"Blues and Rock and Roll are the Peanut Butter that holds our musical sandwich together..."

The Bloody Jug Band:

Blood, Sweat and Tears

Drawing inspiration from historic JUG bands of the 1920’s and 30’s as well as the darker side of Blues and Rock n’ Roll, the BLOODY JUG Band carves out its own niche in a genre of music that has never seen such a bloody incarnation...

The Bloody Jug Band is a horror/country/bluegrass jug band whose music may best be described as “swamp-noir.” Orlando’s Bloody Jug Band have recorded a dead ringer with Coffin Up Blood, the exceptional follow up to their 2010 debut, First Drops. 

 

 

The band at new 13 track album, putted a ton of blood, sweat and tears into the creation of the album and collaborated with Justin Beckler, who produced the album, Tim Lee who created the album art and George Harris of Panda Productions who did the final Mastering.

The Bloody Jug Band are: Cragmire Peace (Vocals & Scratch), Stormy Jean (Vocals & Anarchy Cowbell), Brian Shredder (Bloody Axe), Seth Funky (Washtub Bass), Big Daddy Jerm aka Dracula Mohammad (Bloody Jug & Kazoo), Adam Blackwater (Resonator & Lap Steel), Bloody Rick (Mouth Harp), Randall Scandal (Mandolin), and Franklin Glory (Good Times...)

 

Interview by Michael Limnios

 

When was your first desire to become involved in music & who were your first idols?

(Stormy Jean) Since I was a child, music has always been a large part of everyday life; my parents were music lovers and I think that instilled a natural gravitation to not only be a listener but to actually sing and create music as well.  Country and Motown were probably the most preferred genres around the house so I had a plethora of voices to aspire to. That being said, I’m not certain I’ve ever had musical “idols”. Most early influences were male influences; and being a female I can’t really aspire to be a Waylon Jennings or Sam Cooke vocally but I always did my best to try and adapt their rawness or soulfulness into my own voice.

(Bloody Rick) I first wanted to be in music as a young teenager, though nothing ever came of that desire. I again became interested at a much later date, about 4 years ago to be exact, when I was heavily enmeshed in the photography of local bands and concerts. I have no Idols, but was most inspired to become a harmonica player by my friends and local heroes, Big Jef Special, A self described Cow Punk Band.

(Randall Scandal) My first idols made me want to get involved in music when I was very young listening to vintage bluegrass and country-western artists such as Hank Williams, Bill Monroe, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Hank Snow, Ray Price, Patsy Cline, and the Carter Family.

(Brian Shredder) My family really exposed me to live music from a young age, both in going to concerts and music at family gatherings. So the want to play and sing really came from that. My first idols were pretty varied... I was into old school Rock n Roll - Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis…etc. Then my friends turned me onto punk rock and metal - Metallica, NoFx, Rancid…etc, and I think what came out was a combination of both styles.

 

 

Tell me about the beginning of Bloody Jug Band. How did you choose the name and where did it start?

(Cragmire Peace) The band started as a simple desire to do something ‘different’ and unique in music. I found myself inspired by old Jug Bands and the Americana Movement as a whole, while also being an old fan of Monster Movies, Cult Flix and B-cinema. The combo of those influences along with my teenage love of Punk and Folk music melded together with the diverse influences of the other original members (Old Country, Bluegrass, Metal, and Classic Rock) to become the Bloody Jug band.

Choosing the actual band name was simply a ‘less than subtle’ attempt to try and tell our audiences exactly they were getting. We have always been a hard band to define or describe to strangers, so we tried to let our name speak for itself…a Modern Day JUG Band with a Dark Side. 

 

What characterizes the sound and progress of The Bloody Jug Band?

(Seth Funky) Our sound is as strong as the members in the band. I think we are improving in the way we work together as a band in a live setting. The real key to music is being able to listen to each member of the band while you are also playing your own part.

(Big Daddy Jerm) The Raw and Rudimentary instrumentation is what makes us and our sound Unique. I believe this will carry us far as we continue to grow and develop our sound.

 (Randall Scandal) The Bloody Jug Band is something different for sure and when people ask me to describe it, I always have a difficult time but here's an attempt to do so succinctly:  Acoustic Hard Rock 

 

What does the “jug band” scene mean to you and what has the music offered you?

(Stormy Jean) To me, being a “Jug Band” has opened the door to create something organic and fresh musically. Our sound is unexpected to most who hear it, and either loved or hated within the first few songs of a set. Playing instruments that are modern twists of old folk instruments also spark a curiosity in people to stop and look, which gives us a higher chance to be heard as well. It’s also offered me a chance to grow vocally. Much of the time our shows are so stripped down and raw, it leaves little room for bad vocal performances.

 (Big Daddy Jerm) It's a great opportunity to explore some of the roots of music while infusing it with today’s modern sound. This has been a pure blessing to be able to show my creativity while sharing good music with the world.

(Seth Funky) With so few actual Jug Bands around, I’d say the Bloody Jug Band is a part of the bigger Americana scene in Florida in which bands use instruments not often found in today's pop music. The feel of our band can be more closely associated, as far as line up, with player placement in bluegrass. Using a washboard for time and tempo, we don't have a drummer and the leads are taken by more country instruments such as slide guitar, mouth harp, and mandolin. This trait sets us apart from more slick sounds often heard on contemporary pop stations.

 

 

What do you learn about yourself from the music?

(Randall Scandal) I learned I had a propensity for rhythm. Always thought I should have been a drummer. However, the mandolin often serves as the percussive instrument in bluegrass and other types of acoustic music when there are no actual drums. 

(Seth Funky) Particularly with playing the wash tub bass, I have learned to maximize the sound I can get out of an instrument which is set up to be limiting. Only having one string presented a mental challenge in the beginning. People ask 'How long did it take to learn how to play it?' and I always reply that I still am learning. By playing the wash tub bass, aka ‘one-stringed wonder’, I found out that I can make much music with minimal gear.

(Stormy Jean) It takes a lot of guts to get up in front of a room full of people and perform. I’ve learned that I personally have to [momentarily] become infallible or super-human in my own mind to not let it get the best of me or spook me in anyway. 

 

What experiences in life make a GOOD musician, songwriter and performer?

(Bloody Rick) That is a tough question to even approach, but I guess I'd say that any and all  kinds of experiences can be drawn upon for the making of music, art, or poetry among others…IF you have paid attention along the way.

(Cragmire Peace) Maybe the simplest answer is to actually HAVE experiences. Too many people in this modern era live in a vacuum or are influenced too heavily by what their TV or Video Games tell them. So, simply getting off your ass and living life is a good start…

 

What are some of the most memorable gigs and jams you've had?

(Brian Shredder) Every gig has its memories... Mostly what I take with me are the connections made, both in music and with people.

(Adam Blackwater) Probably our Florida Music Festival shows as well has opening for Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band.

(Bloody Rick) My answers will be different from those that have been doing this since they were kids, which is true in most cases. I however, being relativity new to the music scene by comparison (having first gotten involved at age 54) and having always been surrounded by and playing with friends, can actually say that ALL MY shows are memorable on the same level whether they be playing to our home town crowd or doing one of the MANY benefits that we play. I'm early into this and feel as though I am the same as the fabled "KID IN A CANDY STORE "! They are ALL special to me.

(Big Daddy Jerm) The Orlando Calling Music Festival was a great show. We Drew in a huge crowd. And also our show at the Caliente Nudist resort. That was interesting for obvious Reasons…LOL.

 

From whom have you have learned the most secrets about the music?

(Seth Funky) If it is a member of this band, I'd say Big Daddy Jerm, our jug player, has shared the most about music with me. He played tuba in a marching band and was also a band director. As far as musical influence over my life I'd say Stevie Wonder or the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I like funky music and it makes me happy.

(Adam Blackwater) Honestly, the Bloody Jug Band.  I've played with many people/groups in my life and never have seen a band that works as hard as this one.  They play their asses off and promote harder for themselves than any band I've ever seen and if your gonna make it in the live music scene these days that’s the only way you'll make it.

(Brian Shredder) That's really hard to say. Knowledge comes from everywhere. Really it's all about taking what you learn from everything you encounter and figuring out what works best for you.

 

Some music styles can be fads but the Blues and Rock n Roll is always with us. Why do think that is?

(Stormy Jean) Lyrically speaking, blues and Rock typically touch on situations that are socially reoccurring or cyclical. Times may change, but the things that keep us up at night generally stay the same; this sameness allows words to transcend time, spanning from one generation to the next. Musically most [if not all] great blues and rock songs have a distinct riff that ultimately becomes the songs identity marking a certain time or place from our past that is easily revisited when we hear them.

(Bloody Rick) SHORT ANSWER IS~ THEY ARE JUST PLAIN BETTER! Longer answer is maybe they speak to the soul more and seem to be more a connector for our daily lives and strife's, THE Blues is ALL ABOUT THAT and R n' R IS HERE TO STAY! It even says so in a rock and roll song. LOL. Other types of music seem to be the fads that are fads, just as there are other types of snack foods that come, become popular and are replaced by the next, so does PEANUT BUTTER EVER REMAIN ON TOP  of the ‘what do you kids want to snack on today’ list. Blues and ROCK AND ROLL are the Peanut Butter that holds our musical sandwich together…

 

Are there any memories from the road with the music, which you’d like to share with us?

(Stormy Jean) We have a lot of fun on the road together. Recently while appearing at ZombiCon in Ft. Meyers, FL, we were running late for a show and needed to get from the hotel to the venue quickly. Little did we anticipate there would be a crowd of people waiting to take the same shuttle bus over to the convention…After waiting as long as we possibly could and having realized not ALL of us would fit on the shuttle, we grabbed a cab that had just dropped off some in-bound hotel patrons. All 6 members of the band crammed in to the front and back seats of the cab disregarding the cab driver’s objection that “it was illegal to have so many bodies in the car”. Once he realized his objections were futile, he gave in to the moment and sped out of the parking lot and down the street with the goal of getting us to our destination as quickly as possible. I think he cared less about getting us to our destination and more about getting us out of his cab; so much so that he took to traveling in opposite oncoming lanes of traffic and back-roads when he needed to; getting us as close to the venue as traffic congestion allowed. He earned a nice tip for that trip and hopefully a good laugh at the end of the night.

(Cragmire Peace) On a long enough timeline of playing gigs, touring, and making music together, we ALL make asses of ourselves and do silly things we have to try and live down over time. I guess you could say the same about almost ANY family. In my case, it would be accidentally getting sick on the way home one evening…Although that is not very ‘unique’ to a Band lifestyle. But, I did think I was being extra smart by leaning out the window of the passenger seat so noone had to deal with my situation, only to realize moments after that the back windows of the van were still open, and what the other members were feeling wasn’t the refreshing rain on their faces. LOL. What can I say; I was in a Bad Way. So, as much as I do for the band, I am still living that one down and probably will be for awhile. In this kind of family, whatever doesn’t kills us, gives us something to laugh about later…

 

 

How would you describe your contact to people when you are on stage?

(Cragmire Peace) When on stage I try to be part dynamic frontman, part story teller and part carnival barker. I want the audience to ‘feel’ the passion we have for the music, and embrace it. If I’m having a bad night, or I’m tired, it can effect the vibe and energy of the performance, so I do my best to keep the energy high and try to remember how blessed we are to be doing this, because if we’re on stage having fun (or ‘acting like it’) then the audience will too. Lucky for us…we DO have fun and we are super passionate about what we do, so in many cases we just hope it’s contagious. 

(Brian Shredder) I'd say my main goal is to make contact. Whether it’s a huge crowd or just a few people, I try to give my whole soul on stage in hopes to connect with everyone's frequency.

(Stormy Jean) A luke-warm or disinterested crowd can steal the band’s energy quickly, so as one of the leading front-persons of the band I feel it’s my job to prevent that, or “bring them back” if/when it does happen. The best way I can do that is to vocally draw people’s attention and connect with them that way.

(Bloody Rick) When I'm on stage, I'm many times lost in the song, as I feel the music very deeply and let it course through my existence to become one with me. This is how I am able to play. Having no training or previous musical background, I play by hearing myself playing with the band in my head, and then I play what I HEAR ME PLAYING! So, I'm copying MYSELF!  I more feel the energy of the crowd than interact directly with them, although I do find plenty of ways to interact as well…such as taunt my band-mates mid song, for my own EVIL purpose or just a shout out to a friend or accompanying band or the Venue itself. 

 

What advice would you give to aspiring musicians thinking of pursuing a career in the craft?

(Big Daddy Jerm) Stay true to your art. Fight the urge to make things too modern and digital. When you do that, you just become any other band with a prop jug. Own what you do and continue to make it better.

(Randall Scandal) I would tell them to remember that the musical choices you make in each song helps tell a story. Are you serving the story or are you serving yourself while telling the story? Serving the story is art. Serving yourself is just self-glorification. But remember, making art for a living is like taking a vow of poverty and those who make a successful career of it have to risk a great deal. Be prepared to fail. 

(Adam Blackwater) Never stop playing and find your niche.  There are a million ways to keep music as part of your life so find it and make it work.  Never stop learning and if you’re offered a gig, play it.

(Seth Funky) My advice to aspiring musicians is to think really hard about what contribution you would like to make as a player to the overall sound of a band. You have to match that desire with an instrument of choice. The next thing you should do is practice! Unless you believe in miracles, people don't often wake up a musical genius. It takes time to learn how to train your mind, hands, and ears how to work together to create music. When jamming with other musicians, always jam with people whom you feel are better players than you. This way you will surely learn something each time...if you are paying attention to them and not just yourself.

 

 

What is your “secret” music DREAM? What turns you on? Happiness is……

(Big Daddy Jerm) Getting paid to perform music that people enjoy. I love to perform and to make even a modest living doing it would be a dream comes true. Having people dig what we do and enjoy us, that makes me truly happy. Conquer the Positive!

(Seth Funky) Every serious musician wants to support themselves with their craft. I wish for that. I dream that the music from The Bloody Jug Band will reach an international audience. Happiness is Stevie Wonder and salt water fishing.

(Brian Shredder) My dream is just to connect with as many people as possible and to promote individuality and soul. Because really that's what good music is... in any form. Happiness would be the ability to do that and travel as much as possible.

(Cragmire Peace) If I told you…it wouldn’t be a secret anymore. LOL. For me, Happiness is waking up the morning. Without that one simple thing, does the rest even matter???

 

How you would spend a day with Robert Johnson?

(Brian Shredder) I would probably take him to a concert and show him how much impact he's really had on music as a whole.

(Adam Blackwater) I’d probably be like a fly on the wall and hope to see him play, and probably buy some whisky shots with him afterwards.  From what I know about Robert Johnson, I don’t think he would much enjoy spending all day with another dude. I did have the honor and privilege to meet and speak with his step-son Robert Lockwood Jr before he passed; who I believe is the only person Johnson ever taught.  That was one of the cooler music experiences of my life also.

 

What would you ask Tom Waits?

(Cragmire Peace) I’d ask Tom about what inspires him and how he has been able stay in the Music Business for so long while doing exactly what he wanted to do. And of course, I’d ask him if he wanted to grab a drink…he is one of my musical idols after all. 

 

The Bloody Jug Band - Official home

 

 

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