The Largemouth Bastards
Many have had the pleasure of watching them live for the past couple years and it definitely leaves you wanting more. The years of playing run down seedy bars filled with smoke and booze have finally brought the bastards to a climax. The shanty watering holes with sweaty rockers running around half drunk have finally paid off in a release that is poised to stroke your ear hole and leave you wanting more! The Largemouth Bastards have found their way through the punk rock days to lay down a mix of sound that stimulates all of your music tastes in one well put together EP (Tennessee 7). Fresh out of the Loaded Bomb Records studio this EP is the driving force behind this locomotive that is smashing through the doors of the Southern California music scene. Some might say to themselves it sounds like a mix of punk/bluegrass, or maybe celtic/punk, or even folk/punk. But in the eyes of the Bastards themselves they are simply punk rockers with punk rock roots and influences. They simply added a few unconventional instruments such as the banjo, upright bass, and mandolin. They mixed their own influences and playing styles, to come up with their own brand of country, folk, bluegrass, punk rock and rockabilly. The 3 and 4 part harmonies, the lyrics tasting of real life, and the high energy acoustic and slightly distorted electric sounds put the Largemouth Bastards in a genre of their own. Its best put this way, it’s bluegrass that meets punk rock on the streets for a fist fight! The new EP Tennessee 7 is a brand of music that crosses boundaries into multiple genres’s and as Clint Johnson (lead singer/guitar) puts it, “has a little something for everyone.”
The Largemouth Bastards definitely have a little something for everyone and the reason why is they are derived from two bands formed by the lead singer and guitarist Clint Johnson who started The Misguided in 1995 and they played for well over a decade. During that time you could go out in the Inland Empire, Orange County and Los Angeles on a Friday or Saturday night and walk into almost any bar or club and find some punk band rocking the stage. It was plentiful and the Misguided were in the thick of it. They played almost every weekend for a decade or longer and released their first album Hometown Zeros in June 2006. Clint and some of his high school buddies started The Misguided and they played locally for a few years with several different members. With the original lineup eventually leaving, Clint decided to keep it alive and recruited his cousin and current Bastards guitarist (Brian “boozehound” Johnson), and Brian’s childhood friend and Bastards drummer (Richie “gunshow” Conklin). They rounded the lineup off with longtime friend and current Bastards Banjo player (Josh “Macho” Camacho) who played bass for them. The misguided played for an additional 5 or 6 years and being that all four members are in the Largemouth Bastards there never really was a formal break up.
The punk scene in Southern California at the time was alive and well but there was a new genre known as Psychobilly that was making a splash. The sound is best described as a mix of rockabilly and punk rock. While The Misguided shows were becoming few and far between Clint decided to start a, “side project” called the Dead Enderz. The Dead Enderz began in 2007 and they were a three piece with an upright bass. Lead by Clint on guitar, current Bastards Bassist (George Vine) on Upright Bass and Darren Schokman on drums. While in the studio recording the Dead Enderz album, Clint had ideas to add some banjo and mandolin over some of the tracks. Clint called current mandolin player and long time friend (Matthew “Leroy” Morefield) to lend his talents. For banjo he called current Bastards banjo player Josh Camacho to sit in on a couple of the songs. As it turns out they gained a following really quickly pumping out a mix of down home rockabilly with a punk rock twist. They recorded their first and only album titled Badlandz in July 2009 and it was well received by their fans. Almost overnight The Dead Enderz started playing shows from San Diego up to the Bay area. It was at this time that Clint and his band mates started to write songs outside of the “punk only”, genre. Artistically they were tapping into what eventually would be the ground work for the Largemouth Bastards.
The members of the Largemouth Bastards are all longtime friends, past band mates and old skate buddies, all glued together by a love for music and specifically punk rock. “A band of brothers”. The Bastards are made up of two bands that both paid their dues to the Southern California music scene, through years of playing anywhere and everywhere, up and down the west coast and never forgetting to have a good time. Not for pay, but for the love of music. Truth be told the Bastards were brought together during the endless California summers at Sunday barbeques where whiskey and acoustics flowed like the Mississippi River. It was at these barbeques where friends and family sat around eating, drinking, swimming, and listening to these guys pump out sounds unlike they’ve ever heard them do before. The Bastards were born from love of music, friendship, family. Brothers.
With the release of their first EP Tennessee 7, The Largemouth Bastards have been feverishly playing live shows all over southern California. While the train is moving they are ready to rock more stages and are taking the show on tour in 2014. The Largemouth Bastards have played many places with the same crowds as their predecessor bands but due to their new sound and fresh energy the reception is not so surprising. If you like to have a good time and listen to good music you should most definitely pick up a copy of their EP Tennessee 7 and come out and see them!