Call it a throwback to a time when Johnny Cash ruled the airwaves and Ennio Morricone made soundtracks for movies, but Brent Amaker and the Rodeo's "it's beer-swillin', foot tappin', shit kickin' country and western" music--straight from Seattle--is the antithesis of every wanna be hipster band turning up the reverb. It's not just for show, either--read what Amaker has to say about their, uh, aesthetic.
OC Weekly (Lilledeshan Bose): You're usually called country punk. How did you end up playing this genre?
Brent Amaker: I hear that term thrown around a lot, but I like to think we play Western music. Punk Rock is about attitude. Hank Williams had that and so did Iggy Pop. The common theme with those guys is that they did whatever the fuck they wanted. We travel 24/7 dressed as cowboys, we play Western music, and we do whatever the fuck we want.
Me and Sugar McGuinn (Bass) met up for a drink in a cowboy bar five years ago and decided to start this thing. In the beginning everyone in the band rode motorcycles. The Rodeo was a cowboy/motorcycle band. We intended to ride our bikes to every show. The logistics didn't really work out and In the end we ditched the bikes. It's tough getting the gear to shows on a motorcycle.
How does Johnny Cash figure in your lives?
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Johnny Cash is dead. Every time I walk into a shitty bar wearing my black cowboy outfits some douche throws "Ring of Fire" on the juke box. If I hear "Ring of Fire" one more time I'm gonna have to smack somebody.
It's interesting to see country music in a contemporary and new setting, presented the way you guys do it. Is this a conscious effort or do you just play the music you like?
We just play music we like. Country music has lost it's edge on modern radio. We'd like to add something back to the scene that got lost. Nashville sucks every dollar out of their country stars. There are a few people still doing what they like, but a lot of it is over produced and full of fluff. We keep it simple and leave out the gimmicks.
What are you listening to now?
Who are your heroes?
Quentin Tarantino, Iggy Pop, Pablo Picasso, CW McCall, Kraftwerk, and many more. Men who have had the balls to stick with a vision and create art without the bullshit. Those are my heroes.
Brent Amaker & the Rodeo perform at the Doll Hut, 107 S. Adams St., Anaheim, Friday, Nov. 12, 10 p.m.