Roast Pigs & Skookum Burgers

Dave Hartman of Southern Culture on the Skids

Interview by Darren Kerr

45-second excerpt from "Banana Puddin'" (various formats)

In these trying times of electronic overdose and techno trials, where all you need for world domination is a sampler, a wigged-out light show and one good keyboard finger, it's good to know that a band like Southern Culture on the Skids exists. A band that plays foot-stompin', ass-shakin', greasy fried rock and roll. A band that condones hard drinkin', fast drivin' and gettin' nekkid.

From the release of 1992's For Lovers Only to the unveiling of Plastic Seat Sweat, their brand-new Geffen long-player, Rick Miller (guitar, vocals and bourbon), Mary Huff (bass, vocals, and Jagermeister), and David Hartman (drums, rotgut bourbon and rotgut wine) have been Chapel Hill, Mary! North Carolina's ambassadors of swampy-surf rockabilly. I had the good fortune to jaw a bit with Hartman on the phone from Richmond, Virgina.

Since Mary's Mom has e-mailed the magazine a few times, letting us know that her "red-headed chile" is coming to town soon, the first question has to be about this surfing parent. "'Proud' would be an understatement," Dave laughs. "I don't know where she finds the time. I mean, it's getting to the point where she must spend hours a day on the Internet doing stuff that pertains to us. I think all our parents are really proud. I remember about three or four years ago my Dad was like, 'Well, I'd give this music thing another year or two and then I'd think about getting into something else.' I'm thinking that he's glad I stuck with it."

SCOTS are making their way to Vancouver this month, the latest of many visits. So what do SCOTS dig about Vancouver? The mild climate? Our wondrous beer? Well, spaced cadets, give yourself a round of applause: "We always like the Starfish Room because, for whatever reason, well, we thought maybe it was just Vancouver, but we think maybe it's the Starfish Room. For whatever reason, there were always at least ten people near the front who were more fucked up on whatever they were getting fucked up on than anybody I've ever seen in public ever before. So that was always fun, like people trippin' or doing some heavy duty downers or something."

cover of 'Plastic Seat Sweat' That's right, Dave, Vancouver stoners are the best in the world. I can picture these same freaks (and I ain't putting no negative connotations on the word "freak") belly dancing to "Dance for Me" (from Plastic Seat Sweat). This reminds me: belly dancing, Dave? "I think that every one of us has at least one or two belly dancing records from like the 50's or 60's, when all the exotica stuff was first coming out. Bored housewives were doing all they could to make their marriages exciting again. There were all these belly dancing instructional records which usually came with pamphlets with the dance steps, and this voice, that's down a little lower than the music, saying 'now move your arms like a snake, now move your hips seductively.' We just wanted to do a song like that. It's already become a big audience-participation song... Something about that song just makes people want to take their clothes off."

Now that their chrome-plated dreams are coming true, I ask him about their rock and roll fantasies. Like the ones that Blue Oyster Cult and P-Funk indulged when they built their spaceships. "What I want to do is have this big cage which would only rise during the drum solo," Dave says. "The cage would raise just like a garbage truck dumping a dumpster, and the drums would not be secured, so this cage would roll and the drums would roll like lottery balls. The drum solo would actually be the sound of the drums banging around inside this cage and me going around inside going 'Waaah!!!'"

Rick "Mary would probably like taller and taller wigs," he continues. "We'd also like to have a chicken cannon, you know, like something that we could stuff a ten-piece box of chicken in, then shoot it over the crowd. Also, we'd like to maybe roast a pig on stage."

Which reminds Dave of a little Vancouver anecdote about (ominous music, please) the 'Skookum' burger: "The last time we were in Vancouver, Nardwuar was trying to get us to go have a skookum burger, but something very important came up, I mean, serious, like our van broke down or something, and we weren't able to go."

"I'm kinda glad we didn't, after hearing what it is. If you don't know, a skookum burger is, like, hamburger, and egg, and bacon, and ham, and fish, and cheese, and chicken, all on one burger. Nardwuar says you can't eat just one, you gotta eat two."

SCOTS will be bringing their chicken cannon fantasies to Vancouver on Tuesday, October 14. Stoners pay attention! This time 'round the show is at Richard's on Richards...

First published in Drop-D Magazine on September 27, 1997

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