Girded by the raw sounds of '50s-era country, but imbued with the spirit of The Pixies and other post-punk pioneers, The Famous forge powerful tunes that combine the intense desperation of X, the sincere melancholy of Hank Williams Sr. and the interstellar psychobilly of the Reverend Horton Heat.
Part carnival barker, part honky-tonk crooner, vocalist Laurence Scott demands your attention with an unmistakable smoky growl straight from the heart of his native Texas. With notebooks full of abstract expressionism and wordplay, given life through an inspired and unbridled stage presence, Laurence thinks in lyrics and lives for performance.
While Van Halen and Led Zeppelin boiled in his teenage blood, guitarist Victor Barclay spit and swore an eternal hatred for country music - that is until a good buddy turned him onto Johnny Cash's Live at Folsom Prison. Soon after, Vic spent years in the woodshed soaking up the roots of country and rockabilly giants such as Scotty Moore, Jimmy Bryant and Roy Buchanan. On stage, Vic's deadpan one-liners provide the perfect foil for Laurence's manic No Depression.
Backed by longtime collaborator Chris Fruhauf on the drums and native Texan G.D. Hensley (ex- Diesel Boy) on the bass, the Famous are spreading the gospel with their incendiary live show to music lovers across the Bay Area and beyond. Their debut album Light, Sweet Crude, is an unapologetically diverse collection of 13 songs recorded at their own studio and mixed by Aaron Prellwitz (Death Cab For Cutie, Red House Painters) at Tiny Telephone.
"The Famous plays no-frills country music of the Bakersfield Sound variety (that is, the old-fashioned Buck Owens style, a genre now known as "classic country") mixed up with some good old indie rock... practically everyone who's listened to the band's cheese-free, slightly punkified hillbilly jangle thinks it's the greatest."
-- SF Weekly, December 13, 2004
***** pure love for "The Famous"...
...whom I just heard for the first time last week. AMAZING alt.country/psychobilly/old-time-twang that just knocked my socks off. thefamous.net
Their lead singer, Laurence Scott, is unbelievable. Funny as hell, super-energized, and with a deep smoky drawl that weakened my knees as it stopped me in my tracks. That voice made me completely rethink my fear of all things Texas (if not of Texan politicans, who still scare me to death). It made me rethink my ethical issues with cloning, because if I could, I would steal his DNA in a hertbeat to create a cyborg alarm clock just so his voice could be the first thing that I hear, every morning, for the remainder of my days.
Their lead guitarist makes me think that maybe God ain't such a bad guy if he had the good sense to create Victor Barclay. I mean, the man co-founded legendary surf-punks The Aquamen AND studied under Jim Campilongo. His playing can either light a bonfire under your boots or slip the dress strap off your shoulder without trying. His mellower deadpan is well-partnered with Scott's revivalist energy, and the salty-sweet duo makes even a hardcore monogamist like myself think twice.
Their songs are inspired not just by the usual love, betrayal, & revenge, but also the existentialist reveries of white collar automatons and the childhood memories of second-rate carnivals. They ended their set with a blues-cum-psychobilly version of "Purple Rain" that made me, for a split second, see that there is no difference between a growly bass note hitting your root chakra, the menace behind the twinkle in the laughing buddha's eye, and the slow-burn of that first sip of bourbon as it slides its way down your long-awaiting gullet.
Check out the artist's website:
1. Son Of The Snake
2. It's Done
4. True Believer
7. Better Things
10. Get You Back
11. Deconstruction Worker
13. I Wonder