We can’t picture a better spot in the city of reformed dutchmen to bring our own brand of animal husbandry and hi-brow musical leanings.
For a number of Hootenany’s at Simeri’s in south Bend IN, over the last few years I’ve been slinging one of two guitars, both built by one of my favorite builder – Bill Nash.
The tele on the right is my baby girl. Mrs. Elvis has strict instruction to bury that sweet piece of twang&roll with me when I go. But a guy needs a back up in case my #1 gal isn’t ready willing and able to service the McCoy Nation. These girls are tempermental. You really got to attend to their needs and desires. If you don’t, BANGO, there goes a string and your dumping her like burrito bowel movement the morning after a trip to Naugles [remember that place in S. Bend.......... and they delivered. The rapture!!] But I digress.
You need to have a #2 tuned up and ready to rock. The LesPaul on the left was my #2. But as awesome a guitar as it was, nothing delivers the star twangled americana goodness of a telecaster hard wired through a EL84 tubed guitar amp.
I dare say, coupled with percussive pounding of Wm. Saul on the Ludwigs, that sound of Tele+EL84 is the essence of the Surreal McCoys. It is the joi d’vie. The je ne sais quoi. The shizzle. It what we do and it’s how we bring it. So the Les Paul had to go.
But where do I find another telecaster to back up and supplement my #1. Well, a boutique builder in Southern Illinois was the answer. He had in his possession a very special piece of pine. It was heart of pine. Taken from a 100 y/o+ barn out in Bum-fuck Illinois. For decades this piece of pine had been the center beam of a post and beam constructed barn and he was ready to take said beam and turn it into a telecaster for me. But there was a cost.
As many of you know, there is a certain type of amp that GoatBoy and I plug our guitars into. It is the only amp we’ll play. It’s a magical piece of vacuum tube wizardry made in Cleveland OH. Dr. Z amps are another critical component to our sound. You see, this guitar builder had heard of Dr. Z amps and he wanted one, but he didn’t have the cash. Elvis McCoy happened to have an extra and a deal was struck. I’d ship an amp to Illinois and this young builder was going to build Elvis McCoy a hick-a-billy assault weapon that a single note from this ancient wood could pop a zit on your ass at a 100 paces.
We coupled the ancient pine body with pickups from Don Mare, vintage cloth wiring, vintage frets and a custom neck…..
Kick Ass Cow Punk indeed. For those of you that have heard the early rough mixes of “Blondesided” – soon to be the first release on album #2, you have heard this Telecaster of Mass Destruction in action. She Howls. She Growls. She’s a nasty little cuss who is barely green-broke at this point. Much of this has to do with the ancient pine body.
The knots in the wood. The ancient nail holes. The mojo. The vibe. It’s all there. And it’s coming to Chicago and Grand Rapids to back up my number one. She may even get bumped into a starting position, but I don’t want to start any cat fights in my guitar rack. These girls are tempermental. They’re mean. They don’t mind throwing down and they play for keeps. But, they’ll also deliver the cowpunk goods when they’re called upon.
The amps will be the same – Dr. Z Z-Wreck and Dr Z Maz-38.
The pedal board has some new additions to tweak the tone. The old standbys will be there: Tele>Turbo Tuner ST-200>Klon>Xotic AC+>Analogman modded Boss tremelo>Freak Show Digilog>Boss CE-2>Keeley Phaser>Dr. Z.
A few new pedals may include:
BOSS Slow Gear – think solo to Big Country.
The Goat Boy amp disengage switch
The Cleetus auto tune pedal- he tends to go flat and sharp when overserved.
The “I need another Jamesons” switch which is hard wired to the bartender
That’s all I gots folks. Looking forward to seeing some of you kids there…..
We’re The Surreal McCoys, And We’re Sorry.
We owe you folks an apology.
Beginning in 1992, but especially during our triumphant run from 2005 to 2010, we’ve taken pride in our ability to market this band. To communicate our message. To speak with a collective band voice that seduces, overwhelms, chloroforms and then gently has its way with our audience.
It’s been a wild ride, from the Porn Belt to the Corn Belt and points east. L.A. to West Vireffinginia and beyond. We played great venues like the Hard Rock Café, the Viper Room and — you may have heard about this — a prison.
We’ve stumbled over monitors, we’ve punted microphones and harmonicas, we’ve played a show in an underground club one floor below a NYC sex-slave auction. That’s where Cletus broke his hand doing a fist-pump three notes into the first song. (Onstage, not at the auction. Although the broken hand did drive down his market value.)
We’ve watched topless lesbians make out. We Brian Jones-ed a guy in a pool.
That’s right, boyos – we saw topless lesbians make out.
But in our triumphs, we have also failed. We got big. Perhaps…too big.
We’re not going to lie to you. We were asked to play Chicago – one of the top twenty cities in the country…any country…and Grand Rapids, which is apparently in Michigan…and we questioned it.
“Will we be allowed to play at full volume?”
“What’s the deal with the bar tab?”
“For the love of God, can we nail down that extra dressing room (stall?) for Goatboy?”
You read that right – we worried about whether the fans were worth our time. Joe Strummer heard us and skele-shat his funeral pants. Remember him? We thought so. We sure do.
And as if it were contained in the third to last paragraph of an already-too-long-media-write-up, the answer hit us. We’re a cowpunk band. We play whiskey-soaked, high energy music. It’s what we do. We’re going to play the shows of our lives, and yours, in Chicago at the Elbo Room on 4/15/11, and at Juke’s in Grand Rapids on 4/16/11. We’ll leave the stage with empty glands and full hearts.
Here’s The Surreal McCoys’ Promise: We will probably rock you.
Whatever arrangements you make are between you and your God. But on April 15 and 16, we’re going to be on that glorious stage. Will you join us?
Billy Saul, Cletus, Clint, Goatboy and Elvis
The Surreal McCoys (1992-?)
Too tired to give a full report from the east coast. Monday am came way too early. Below is from the NDNation forum and was written by one of the attendees from the NYC show at Fontana’s.
We played in the basement. It held about 100 and seemed full from the stage. It was hot and sweaty and loud and The Baseball Furies, The Top Hats, The Rogues and The Warriors all made an appearance.
And yes, there was a Adult Video Bloggers convention going on upstairs during our load in and show. The topless Walter Cronkite look-alike was particularly disturbing…. -Elvis McCoy
This Show is Epic; it is elemental:
It is unlocking bestial passions. America, in its rawest form, is on display before me, shackled by fire and passion. A slave auction spontaneously broke out as the set began: women, with wild abandon, disrobed and sold themselves to the highest bidders (not Goatboy, usually).
Words are deceptive, and eloquence fades. Glory alone is eternal. This–this–is the hermetic secret on full display this sacred night. I have never been so proud to be a human, even during the opening ceremonies of the Olympics.