The infamous, explosive Southern wrecking crew Legendary Shack Shakers are set to release their brand new album, titled The Southern Surreal, on September 11, 2015 via Alternative Tentacles Recordings. Their first release in five years, the album lands on the band’s 20th anniversary, and is their Alternative Tentacles debut. In conjunction with the album release the Legendary Shack Shakers will tour across much of the US and Europe later this year.
The band’s incendiary interpretations of the blues, punk, rock and country are all-at-once irreverent, revisionist, dangerous, and fun. Built upon a haunting, Southern Gothic theme, The Southern Surreal is a 15-track set featuring regular band members Colonel JD Wilkes (vocals, harmonica, banjo), Rod Hamdallah (electric guitar), Mark Robertson (electricand upright bass) and Brett Whitacre (drums), with guest appearances by actor/musician and long-time Shack Shakers fan, Billy Bob Thornton, and Jesus Lizard guitarist, Duane Denison.
The record comes on the heels of the band’s remobilization in the Fall of 2014, after taking more than a year off to work on other projects. “We’re pleased our new album, The Southern Surreal, has found a home on Alternative Tentacles,” JD explains. “Jello Biafra has been a friend for some time now and we’ve always been big fans of his. The Legendary Shack Shakers also feel right at home with his other insurgent rockabilly pals, Mojo Nixon and Slim Cessna. The genre has always found an unlikely home in Biafra’s San Fran punk rock stable.”
Despite the group’s time off, their reputation for intensity has stuck with them. On stage, JD has been compared to the likes of Iggy Pop, David Byrne, and Jerry Lee Lewis. The Nashville Scene named Wilkes “the best frontman in Nashville” in 2002, while Alternative Tentacles owner Jello Biafra has called JD “the last great Rock and Roll frontman.”
Although not legendary upon being named, the band has grown into its reputation due to their six critically acclaimed studio albums, often heavy touring schedule and songs that have been featured on television shows such as HBO’s True Blood. Past tour mates and fans include Reverend Horton Heat, Rancid, The Black Keys, Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, and Hank Williams III. Robert Plant is also a noted Legendary Shack Shakers fan, and picked the band to open for him on his 2005 tour of Europe. Plant named the band’s third album Believe as one of his favourite records of 2005. The list of esteemed admirers goes on to include horror novelist Stephen King, who listed “CB Song” as among his iPod’s Top Five in a 2008 Entertainment Weekly article.
Such a wealth of devoted fans over the years has only added to the mystique that the Legendary Shack Shakers possess, carrying them down the road toward new creative pursuits and barn-shaking tunes.