The Beards Brews & Blues Festival is coming up fast, featuring a s&*#load of amazing blues talent, including Melbourne’s Chris Russell’s Chicken Walk. Having recently released the album ‘Drive’, and touring like men possessed, Chris and Diamond Dave Folley (drums) have kicked into second gear and announced more dates (including the BBB Festival). CRCW will be bringing their epic, dirty, blues fuelled by tales of all-night diners, venomous snakes, armed hold-ups, mermaids and demons… it’s all too much… and oh so good.
G’day, Chris. Wow. Have listened to the new album, ‘Drive’and I feel dirty. In a good way. It’s such a ballsy-sounding album from a two-piece. Where was this beast recorded, and who with?
It was recorded in an actual recording studio which for me is a first. We did it at Hothouse in St.Kilda with Craig Harrnath and Jez Giddings. Lovely blokes who do fantastic work.
I think what I’m digging about your sound is that it differs quite a bit from a the current crop of blues musicians, and I have noticed references such as RL Burnside, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf in your bio, but there’s a few tracks where there’s some Jon Spencer sneaking in as well. It’s a darker style of blues. What drives you to write this way?
I was into JSBX around the time of Orange (*Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’s album from 1994) but I think the bigger influence on this album was Melbourne. I haven’t been to Mississippi in 3 years so my hometown has become an influence. Basically, I’m trying to create my own style from myriad influences in music, film, art etc. ideas can come from anywhere.
One thing I’ve noticed, is your choice of weapon. A Danelectro is a pretty unconventional guitar for blues – generally – so why that particular guitar, as opposed to say, a Gretsch, Les Paul or a Strat? It has such a meaty tone!
Actually, Dano’s or Silvertone’s as they were called back in the day were very popular blues guitars. Mail order el cheapo’s were the bluesman’s choice. It’s only the BB Kings and Muddy Waters that could afford Gibsons and Teles. Robert Johnson played a Stella and they were very much bottom of the range. When I was first in the Delta I played every guitar in the store and the Dano’s sounded the best to me.
You’re on the home stretch of a pretty decent-sized tour now…but has there been a stand out show so far? (I see Frankie’s Pizza on the dates! I’ve always wanted to catch a performance at that joint).
Frankie’s was a boss show! It was sweaty and movin’ for sure. The Barwon Club in Geelong is always a drunken free for all but my favourite gig was at Narana Aboriginal Community Centre. The guy who came on after us, he was somewhere between 15 and 30 years old. I didn’t catch his name but someone said he’s related to Gurrumal. He sang an indigenous language in a sweet, high tone and got a standing ovation for his sound check. He should be filling the Opera House. Sent shivers down my spine.
Up our way, you’ve got the Beards Brews and Blues Festival to play on the 27th, with Lachy Doley, Transvaal Diamond Syndicate and more. Have you played or seen these bands before, and which ones are you looking forward to checking out, apart from yourselves tearing the stage a new one, that is?
I’m looking forward to seeing everyone. We’ve definitely played with TDS, they’re a smokin’ hot band!
Lastly… is Cottonmouth (the first track from ‘Drive’) about what I think it’s about? (Nudge nudge wink wink)… or am I completely off track?
Um, I actually don’t know what you mean. I’ve heard since that Cottonmouth is slang for post-bong-dry-mouth.
The Cottonmouth that I’m singing about is a deadly water viper that lives along the Mississippi. Most of the songs on Drive comes from the subconscious dream state and much much like Bad Motherfucker is about predatory male sexuality.
Thanks Chris! Enjoy the rest of the tour, and we’ll be seeing you at The Helm on Friday November 27th for the Beards Brews and Blues Festival
Head to Beards Brews and Blues Festival at The Helm (Mooloolaba) on Friday, November 27 to see Chris Russell’s Chicken Walk in action, along with a stellar blues line-up.