Uncle Lucius Plays Your Fucking Heart Out
From the juiced-box: Uncle Lucius – Pocket Full of Misery (from their latest album, And You Are Me)
[Press ‘Play’ to fill your pockets…]
It was one of those moments when you’re sitting there, being yourself [note: not a masturbation reference], and all of a sudden a song comes on that pulls you up by your heartstrings and lifts you out of the rut. i first heard Uncle Lucius during an episode of the now defunked Castle, and when “A Million Ways” played i immediately knew my life had meaning again because the song that rose from the crappy TV speakers saved my soul music.
Who, you may well ask, is Uncle Lucius? Well, let me tell you. Uncle Lucius is that favorite uncle who never gets older and you want to be just like him when you don’t grow up. He wears borrowed clothes and his hair is just a tad too long and always tousled and he sneaks you black licorice and sips of the beer from the can hanging from the hand that holds the smoldering cigar. He’s got 3-days growth and speaks of things sweeter than hard lemonade in warm brandy tones with a whiskey rasp and a voice that comes out like the growl of a hungry bear’s stomach. Uncle Lucius is at home wherever he is and makes you feel welcome there whenever he rests his weary eyes on you.
i was wallowing in the gutter of my life and could not see the night through the darkness in my eyes when the ghost of a street preacher in a scarred leather coat and boots he’d bartered down at the crossroads swaggered over me. With a massive hand, he reached down into me, pulled the demons from me, and then beat them black and blues with a stolen Bible until they ran howling like wolves right at the moon. Shivering, my demons exercised, i pulled myself up and began to thank him when i smelled the resurrection on him and realized he wasn’t a ghost at all but my Uncle Lucius. So, after he caught my breath, i asked him if i could ask him a few questions. He led me to an abandoned cemetery where we sat on the tomb of the Unknown Poet and i collected his thoughts.
Al K Hall: Before we get underway, let me just check the roster… Kevin Galloway: lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Hal Vorpahl: bass, Mike Carpenter: lead guitar and vocals, and Josh Greco: drums and percussion. Did i miss anyone?
Uncle Lucius: You’re missing Jon “J-Gro the Midnight Buffalo” Grossman, our keys player/ guitar and vox.
Al K Hall: Sorry ’bout that, J-Gro, bro’. [i pull a bottle of absinthe from behind a tombstone and pour him a glass in contrition.] Now that we’re all here, can you tell us the story behind your name? Why ‘Uncle Lucius’?
Uncle Lucius: You’d have to ask our parents. They named us.
Al K Hall: And you were young at the time. So, y’all (can i call you “y’all”?)—[AlKHall-ism: i can]—are from Austin, Texas. How does a Southern Gospel Outlaw Rhythm and Blues Renegade Country Rock group form in Austin? Did you go to school together? Do you live on the same street?
Uncle Lucius: We are all from different parts of Texas, sans Jonny Keys, who is from Lexington, KY. We all met in Austin and have been making music together in one form or another for about seven years now.
Al K Hall: What do you do for fun in Austin in your down time? Is it just live shows and diners or do you hit miniature golf courses as well?
Uncle Lucius: There is a possibility we have been to been to a bar, but not much time for that out on the range. Lots of horses to wash and turkeys to jurk.
Al K Hall: Wow, you sure wouldn’t want to mix those two jobs up. When you’re not up to your usual mischief, where would i be most likely to find you?
Uncle Lucius: Jail.
Al K Hall: What’s something i wouldn’t know about you until i got drunk with you?
Uncle Lucius: Ever seen El Topo…?
Al K Hall: Yeah right, tell me something i don’t know.
Uncle Lucius: You were born in Alaska, and your blood pressure is a little high…and you are ¼ leprechaun.
Al K Hall: The leprechaun thing is on my Wiki page, but high blood pressure? Are you sure? Speaking of blood, your latest album, And You Are Me, sounds like it has a lot of contributions from everyone in the band. How do you guys write songs? Is it piecemeal or organic?
Uncle Lucius: We kinda used all approaches on this album. Some songs were brought in by individuals, some were written from scratch all together, some were bits and pieces, all were labored over intensely by the whole band. We spent a lot of time together for this one.
Al K Hall: How’d you come up with the title of the album?
Uncle Lucius: It is a continuation of the phrase “I am you…” which is the last song on the album. The cycle the circle.
Al K Hall: Oh yeah, i get that. What’s the story behind your very first album, Something They Ain’t?
Uncle Lucius: We recorded that one in chunks whenever we could afford it, probably 6-9 months over all. It was a fun process with no pressure, just trying to get some music out there. We did most of the basic tracks all together in a room, then you put the icing on top. It was good times. It’s out of print right now, but you can still pick it up on itunes.
Al K Hall: After that comes the classic Pick Your Head Up. i got turned onto Uncle Lucius because i heard “Million Ways” in the TV show Castle…how did that come about?
Uncle Lucius: The music director for that show had seen us in Chicago, I believe, gotten an album, and later came tracking us down when it was time to line up. Really a cool thing for us, and got us in front of some ears that we weren’t reaching.
Al K Hall: What exactly did you lace the song “Liquor Store” with to make it the best song ever of all time?
Uncle Lucius: PCP, chunks of Hemingway’s beard, Pernod, deer antler, secrets.
[From the juiced-box: Uncle Lucius – Liquor Store. Press ‘Play’ for the coolest thing you will hear today.]
Al K Hall: Looking at your Facebook page, it seems you guys are constantly touring. Is there a trick to making the same songs sound fresh every night?
Uncle Lucius: PLAY YOUR FUCKING HEART OUT!!!!!!!! – Bill Hicks
[AlKHall-ism: i’ve included the video this comment is in reference to at the bottom of this post.]
Al K Hall: How do you feel about touring? Necessary evil or do you record songs only so you can perform them live?
Uncle Lucius: Haha…it goes back and forth. Playing live, though, is something you cant get anywhere else.
Al K Hall: Like a cemetery. Or Yeaman! You criss-cross the US but haven’t toured Yeaman yet! When will you come to the Bar None so we can hang?
Uncle Lucius: We are trying to get over there as soon as possible, man, know anybody?
Al K Hall: There’s always me, but, yeah, i’m not on speaking terms at the moment. If you do come here, though, we’ll have to party it up. Like what’s your craziest, Hammer of the Gods, “we gotta put this in the movie” road story about Uncle Lucius?
Uncle Lucius: Ever seen El Topo…?
Al K Hall: Not yet, but i have seen you guys do “Warpigs”, if that counts. In fact, i’mma put the video of that at the bottom of this post. Anything you’d like to say to introduce it?
Uncle Lucius: A humble attempt at pleasing the gods.
Al K Hall: In all the minutes of exhausting research i did while watching Game of Thrones did i blow over anything too quickly? Anything you’d like us to know about?
Uncle Lucius: Would like to use this opportunity to say LISTEN TO BILL HICKS!!!!
Al K Hall: What message do you have for your many fans?
Uncle Lucius: Thank you!!! You are the only reason we are here.
Al K Hall: Well, that and cheap booze and free women—or is that the other way around… Which reminds me, it’s time for the dreaded Bar None Questionnaire. Think of it as a shit storm: you can’t avoid it so you might as well just power through. What’s your favorite alcoholic drink?
Al K Hall: When was the last time you had a hangover?
Uncle Lucius: Does now count?
Al K Hall: Only if you throw up on my shoes. Do you smoke?
Uncle Lucius: I’m up to three lighters a day.
Al K Hall: What’s your favorite swear word? Do you swear? A lot?
Uncle Lucius: Watch your fucking mouth, Frenchie.
Al K Hall: Frenchie? There’s something i didn’t know. That said, what’s your favorite thing about me, Al K Hall?
Uncle Lucius: I love the work you did with John Madden and the NFL… wait…. Al Who?? Al K Hall???? I thought this interview was with Al Michaels….! Man, fuck this, I’m outta here.
[Press play for Uncle Lucius – Keep the Wolves Away from And You Are Me]
There you go, that’s all he wrote. Sorry to state the obvious but of course i did not meet Uncle Lucius in a cemetery or Austin (yes, there is a difference) because i haven’t been to Texas since i was pulled screaming from my mother’s womb all those ages ago. The whole interview was done in a matter of days over e-mail (a special shout out to Bill Meis at Entertainment One Nashville for his liaising) and, while i changed shit around to make it more exciting, Uncle Lucius’s answers are reprinted exactly as they were sent.
A huge thanks to the band who took time out of their busy, post record launch madness to humor a recovering alcoholic like yours truly. i honestly am a huge fan of Uncle Lucius and one of the perks of tending bar here at the Bar None is to get the chance to shoot the shit with quality people like these guys.
If y’all are interested in the other The Booze Talkin’: Exclusive Interviews, just click on the link.
A humble attempt at pleasing the gods.