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Southern Culture on the Skids

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True to their name, North Carolina's Southern Culture on the Skids offers an affectionate parody of local white-trash trailer-park culture, matching their skewed outlook with a wild, careening brand of rock & roll. SCOTS' music is a quintessentially Southern-fried amalgam of rockabilly, boogie, country, blues, swamp pop, and chitlin circuit R&B, plus a liberal dose of California surf guitar, a hint of punk attitude, and the occasional mariachi horns. Following an early incarnation as a relatively straightforward roots rock outfit, they morphed into a raucous, sleazy, tongue-in-cheek party band obsessed with sex and food; in fact, fried chicken became a crucial part of their live performances, whether it was used in eating contests or tossed into the audience. Southern Culture may play chiefly to an underground rock audience, but their gonzo tributes to the South aren't as smug as some of their peers working similar territory, since the band has genuine roots in the area. Southern Culture on the Skids was founded by guitarist/singer Rick Miller in the college town of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in 1985. Growing up, Miller had split time between Henderson, North Carolina, where his father ran a mobile-home factory, and Southern California, where his mother lived, and where he first discovered surf and rockabilly. After earning a degree in art from the University of North Carolina, Miller started the first incarnation of Southern Culture on the Skids with original lead vocalist Stan Lewis, bassist Leslie Land, and drummer Chip Shelby. Lewis brought a distinct Cramps influence to the band, although their style was still much more subdued than it would later become. This quartet lineup released an EP called Voodoo Beach Party on the local indie label Lloyd Street, followed later in 1985 by an eponymous full-length debut. As the band drifted more and more into country territory, co-founder Lewis split; two more members were added on accordion and pedal steel, but the band's new direction alienated much of its local following, and the first version of Southern Culture split not long after. In 1987, Miller regrouped with a new, smaller lineup featuring bassist and sometime vocalist Mary Huff and drummer Dave Hartman, both of whom had grown up together in Roanoke, Virginia. (Lewis, Land, and Shelby would later reunite as Stan Lewis & the Rockin' Revellers, and performed on a mostly local basis.) The new Southern Culture spent a few years honing their sound and releasing the very occasional single. Finally, in 1991, they returned to the LP format with Too Much Pork for Just One Fork, which was issued on the ill-fated Moist label. Too Much Pork established the group's lyrical obsessions, and featured the first recording of their fried-chicken anthem "Eight Piece Box," a concert favorite. Southern Culture's next album, the rawer-sounding 1992's For Lovers Only, began to win them a wider following thanks to better distribution from the band's new label, Safe House. Among other fan favorites, it featured Huff's first major vocal showcase, a cover of the Jo Anna Neel country obscurity "Daddy Was a Preacher But Mama Was a Go-Go Girl." The half-live, half-studio EP Peckin' Party followed on Feedbag in 1993, as did the 10" Girlfight EP on Sympathy for the Record Industry. The more laid-back, country-flavored full-length Ditch Diggin' appeared on Safe House in 1994, featuring covers of the Louvin Brothers and Link Wray. In 1995, Geffen subsidiary DGC signed Southern Culture on the Skids to a major-label contract, which was consummated the following year with Dirt Track Date. Although Dirt Track Date included re-recordings of several of the band's most popular past songs, it received generally enthusiastic reviews and sold over a quarter of a million copies. After releasing the Lucha Libre-themed EP Santo Swings! for Estrus Records (which included Spanish-language covers of "Scratch My Back" and "Double Shot of My Baby's Love"), SCOTS cut their second album for DGC, 1997's Plastic Seat Sweat, which featured the band's new keyboard player, Chris "Cousin Crispy" Bess. While Plastic Seat Sweat was a solid effort, its commercial reception disappointed both the band and their label, and it was to be the group's final major-label release. After a few years of steady touring, 2000's Liquored Up and Lacquered Down was released by TVT Records; the deal proved to be a one-off, and it would be four years before the band found a new recording home, with the North Carolina-based indie Yep Roc Records. SCOTS' Yep Roc debut, 2004's Mojo Box, was completed after the departure of Chris Bess, with the band back to the trio of Miller, Huff, and Hartman. Mojo Box was produced by Rick Miller in his new studio, Kudzu Ranch, where he also produced albums by the Fleshtones, Dexter Romweber, and the Woggles. Southern Culture on the Skids released two more albums for Yep Roc, 2006's live set Doublewide and Live and the 2007 covers collection Countrypolitan Favorites, but split with the company to go fully independent and start their own label, Kudzu Records. SCOTS launched their new venture with the 2010 album The Kudzu Ranch, named for Miller's studio, and followed with reissues of the Too Much Pork album and the 1998 EP Zombified. In 2013, SCOTS released Dig This, a set offering new recordings of the songs from Ditch Diggin', minus the Link Wray and Louvin Brothers covers from the original release. The band also briefly reunited with Yep Roc for the multi-artist concept LP Mondo Zombie Boogaloo, which also featured new material from the Fleshtones and Los Straitjackets; the three bands set out on a joint tour in the fall of 2013 to promote the set. In 2016, SCOTS delivered a creative change of pace with The Electric Pinecones, an album steeped in '60s pop and psychedelic influences, as well as their trademark Dixie-fried rock. ~ Steve Huey
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Albums by
Southern Culture on the Skids

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    1 song

    On Air

    Grey Skies

    13 songs

    On Air

    Zombified

    12 songs

    On Air

    The Kudzu Ranch

    13 songs

    On Air

    Mojo Box

    16 songs

    On Air

    Live at El Sol

    13 songs

    On Air

    Plastic Seat Sweat

    14 songs

    On Air

    Dirt Track Date

    15 songs

    On Air

    Ditch Diggin'

    1 song

    On Air

    Silver Bells

    6 songs

    On Air

    Santo Swings!

    6 songs

    On Air

    Girlfight

    6 songs

    On Air

    Peckin' Party

    15 songs

    On Air

    Countrypolitan Favorites

    13 songs

    On Air

    Liquored Up and Laquered Down

    5 songs

    On Air

    Party At My Trouse

    1 song

    On Air

    Undertaker - Single

    16 songs

    On Air

    Doublewide and Live

    12 songs

    On Air

    The Electric Pinecones

    13 songs

    On Air

    Dig This

    14 songs

    On Air

    For Lovers Only

    16 songs

    On Air

    Too Much Pork for Just One Fork

    9 songs

    On Air

    Zombified


Top Songs by
Southern Culture on the Skids

  1.   Song
    Popularity
  2.   Voodoo Cadillac
  3.   Fried Chicken and Gasoline
  4.   Soul City
  5.   Liquored Up and Lacquered Down
  6.   Eight Piece Box
  7.   Country Funk
  8.   Whole Lotta Things
  9.   Cheap Motels
  10.   Skullbucket
  11.   40 Miles to Vegas
  12.   White Trash
  13.   Camel Walk
  14.   Drunk and Lonesome (Again)
  15.   Greenback Fly
  16.   King of the Mountain
  17.   Banana Puddin'
  18.   Engine Engine #9
  19.   Corn Liquor
  20.   Pass the Hatchet
  21.   Theme From "The Cheaters"
  22.   Shotgun
  23.   Muswell Hillbilly
  24.   Funnel of Love
  25.   Wolverton Mountain
  26. See All Songs

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    The Current


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