Friday, July 18, 2008
A BAND CALLED CHIGGER. (A.K.A. GRASSHOLES)
CHIGGER was a bluegrass band consisting of local Richmond Rock and Rollers that played shows and recorded in 1995-1996. The band was started when Tom Peloso (King Sour) came over to play some acoustic guitar while hanging out on our front porch. He had this great idea for a song that was different from the ones we usually played , and he explained the song by bellowing in a baritone like Johnny Cash...
"Lonesome Train, Lonesome Train... Take Me Far Away..."
We loved the new song, and eventually brought in some other folks like Ron Curry (Hotel X, Gwar, Mao Tse Helen) on banjo, and Matt Boyle (King Sour) who played the mandolin ass-backwards like Hendrix. We also met Charlottesville expatriate James Werner on second guitar, and Richard Harvie who was just picking up the fiddle after mastering the Mando. Tom moved to standup bass, we worked on our four-part harmonies, wrote some more originals, and learned a stack of covers via The Bluegrass Fakebook.
We came out of the gates like Gangbusters, probably due to the fact that it was a bunch of rock dudes playing hillbilly music and also we were raging partiers. The mass of folks who came to the shows would Clog and Hambone so violently that the floor would bow from exhaustion and the microphones would sway from side to side. We played store and restaurant openings, weddings, rock shows, festivals, Nags Head, Philly Parties, Virginia Tech, music conferences, street corners, Sine, The Knitting Factory and even opened up for a puppet show at a church revival.
There are a lot of tapes from the shows we played (featuring a blistering version of COLD GIN by KISS), and we even recorded an album called BEARCAT SCANNER which I dug up from the vaults to share with you now.
We eventually went back to our respective bands, and Tom later started THE HACKENSAW BOYS with some good ol' boyz from Charlottesville.
Suzan Royce gave me this live photo yesterday, the first picture of us I have seen in a long while. We were opening a restaurant here in town called 821 CAFE, which after 12 years still thrives as a hangout for the younger folks. This image sure brings back a flood of good memories...