Artist of the day: The Bloody Jug Band
The Bloody Jug Band has set out to do things a little differently.
“We said we want to do kind of a horror jug band, and most people that you talk to don’t even know what the hell a jug band is,” vocalist and washboard scratcher Cragmire says.
“Have you ever seen the Country Bear Jamboree? You ever see Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas?” Once people hear that, Cragmire says, “they start getting their minds around it.”
But it’s not quite that simple. Rather than starting a traditional jug band, this Orlando seven-piece throws several other genres into the mix. Bluegrass, rock ’n’ roll, blues and outlaw country are all equally represented, topped off with a wicked sense of humor and a little camp for show. One might call them Florida swamp-noir.
Along with Cragmire, the band, whose members all go by nicknames, consists of Stormy Jean on vocals and cowbell, Brian Shredder on the bloody axe (guitar), Funky on washtub bass, Big Daddy Jerm on the jug, Motorcycle Sean on mouth harp and Adam Blackwater on resonator and lap steel.
The subject matter of their foot-stomping songs is typically dark, creepy and tongue-in-cheek. While some types of music that celebrate the dark side takes itself too seriously (I’m looking at you, death metal), the Bloody Jug Band didn’t want to get caught up in that.
“We’re certainly not a gimmick,” Cragmire says. “We totally believe in what we’re doing, but at the same time, giving (crowds) that something else and kind of being in on the joke.”
For example, in one song, Boy Named Lucy (which is a bit of a spin on the Johnny Cash classic A Boy Named Sue), the bullies at a school pick on a young boy by calling him “little Lucy goosey.” But the joke is on them, as Lucy’s name is really Lucifer, and he sets out to get their souls. Another track, Her Blood, is about a vampire who gets herpes by sucking the blood of a working girl.
So yeah, it’s a little campy, but it’s all in good fun.
Cragmire emphasized that he wants this band to be a family, first and foremost. In doing something so musically different, he wanted to make sure everyone operated as a cohesive unit.
“None of us are 18 anymore, getting our GEDs and trying to become a rock band,” he says. “The members range in age from 25 to 43. We’re all serious about what we’re doing.
“We all have day jobs and things, but are really trying to make a splash, trying to give the world something different.”
The Bloody Jug Band performs with Sarah Purser at 10 p.m. Saturday at Ella’s Americana Folk Art Cafe, 5119 N Nebraska Ave., Tampa. $5. (813) 234-1000.
-- Gabriel Loewenberg, tbt*