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Artist of the day: Dank

18

December

Dank

Once a year, the St. Pete punk veterans in Dank gather for a a free holiday show for their friends and longtime fans. This weekend’s will be the fifth. The event, organized by Pretty Voices’ Roger Peterson, offers up irreverent, loud, rock ’n’ roll camaraderie.

This year's gig, with Pretty Voices and Car Bomb Driver (it's their last show for a while), is Saturday night at Shackleton’s Folly, 4300 Sixth St. S., St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 329-8847.

Dank sounds like toothless men in the Mississippi Delta banging out some Thin Lizzy. Not to say that these fine St. Pete fellas are feeble or at the denture-atric stage, but Dank has that muddy, gut-thumping feel of old bluesmen mixed with punk and power pop. They cover Screaming Jay Hawkins, Charlie Feathers and Howling Wolf.

After the jump, check out Julie Garisto's profile of the mysterious Dank ...

Reunited (and it feels so good): Travis Parker, vocals and guitar; Martin Rice, bass; John McNicholas, guitar (not pictured); and Hugh T. Williams, drums. The friends have played in each other’s bands for the past 20 years. Listing all the bands credited to these ’Burg buddies can become unwieldy, so here’s the short version: Parker has played with Grassy Knoll Gunmen and the Weapons of Ass Destruction (TWOAD); Rice and Williams likewise played in TWOAD and Sparky’s Nightmare; and McNicholas relocated to Atlanta, but before playing solo gigs, in Spiller and Misfortune 500.

CD: They sell the 6-song EP Dank vs. Miami for a whopping 99 cents at their shows.

Their sound: Imagine toothless men in the Mississippi Delta banging out some Thin Lizzy. Not to say that these fine St. Pete fellas are feeble or at the denture-atric stage, but Dank has that muddy, gut-thumping feel of old bluesmen mixed with punk and power pop. They cover Screaming Jay Hawkins, Charlie Feathers and Howling Wolf.

Seasons bleatings: It’s become an annual tradition for Dank to play a free holiday show for their friends and longtime fans. This weekend’s will be the fifth. The event, organized by Pretty Voices’ Roger Peterson, offers up irreverent, loud, rock ’n’ roll camaraderie. Parker says to expect “topless biker babes, pirates, smugglers, people of ill repute, deaf people and Dave Reeder (of Car Bomb Driver).”

It all began at Mastry’s: Not much springs to life in the old Downtown St. Pete dive bar that doesn’t require Alka-Seltzer, rehydration and a long nap, but one night in the late ’90s, Parker and Williams were on a break between bands and decided to form their super-friends group, so they could do something for fun when they felt like it, without peer pressure or expectations. Parker kept busy with his day job and family. They both missed rocking out for fun and decided to form Dank.

So, why the name? Parker dismisses the notion that the guys were thinking about the dictionary definition — “dark, damp and mysterious” — when they named the band but a few seconds later admits their music reflects all three qualities. “We heard that was the name of weed soaked in formaldehyde and thought it was funny,” says Williams with a laugh.

Overcoming challenges: When forming the band, Williams had been rehabilitating from a serious car accident in 1997, which caused permanent injury to his hip and requires him to walk with a cane. “Hugh has a bionic hip,” Parker whispers sneakily. 

What they get out of it: “There’s something to be said for not overplaying and doing something too many times,” Rice says. “There are no apologies, expectations or lame attempts at being cool. Playing in Dank is the easiest possible scenario for being in a band. We never rehearse; we just randomly get up and rock our asses off.”

McNicholas: “Playing in Dank is like driving the Blues Brothers car through the mall while being chased by 100 cop cars.”

Hear them: 9 p.m. Saturday with Pretty Voices and Car Bomb Driver (their last show for a while) at Shackleton’s Folly, 4300 Sixth St. S., St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 329-8847.

-- Julie Garisto, tbt*. Photo by Carrie Waite, tbt*.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 28, 2010 3:15pm]

    

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