What’s in the Blood and Guts of The Bloody Jug Band?

Blood Jug Band

“If people aren’t dancing, hooting or hollering we aren’t doing our jobs.”

Bloody Jug BandThe Bloody Jug Band’s website describes them as “Drawing inspiration from historic JUG bands of the 1920s and ’30s as well as the darker side of Blues and Rock n’ Roll, the BLOODY JUG Band carves out its own niche in a genre of music that has never seen such a bloody incarnation…
However, like all truly unique musical groups, written words can’t really do the justice a good listening session or a live show can produce. And sometimes it’s best to hear from the musicians themselves. So when we here at Florida Geek Scene had the chance to chat a bit with John Theisen aka Craigmire Peace from BJB, we jumped at the chance. Read away as we talk about  artistic influences, music history, what lies ahead for them, and the power of Disney’s Country Bear Jamboree. 
Florida Geek Scene: First off give, us a brief roll call! Who plays what?
Cragmire Peace (Vocals & Washboard), Stormy Jean (Vocals & Tambourine), DeathRay (Acoustic Guitar & Mandolin), Seth Funky (Bass, Uke Bass & Washtub Bass), Big Daddy Jerm (JUG, Percussion & Kazoo) Bloody Rick (Mouth Harp), Ste-evil (Electric Guitar & Banjo), and Baby Dingo (Cajon & Spoons).
How about a brief history, how did you guys get together in the first place?
I spent many years in the indie film scene, and because I was running a film festival that used to be part of the Florida Music Fest, I found myself surrounded by more musicians than filmmakers on an average day. Eventually, the love of music & performing overcame my passion for film, and the journey began.
When it came to the ‘idea’ of the band, it was simply an effort to be different. To not just create another throwaway band in another over-saturated genre just to give ourselves the excuse to get up on stage and perform. If we were gonna do it, we wanted to carve out a unique voice and identity, and since we were so heavily inspired by music history…as well as all things spooky and fun, the Bloody Jug Band was born.
The idea or vision came first, so the recruitment of the band’s members became a focused effort to find the right people who wanted to be a part of this journey, and also shared the same love and vision for what we were about to do….and the rest is History.

How did you guys start loving music? Was there a gateway band or genre?
When you have 8 members who range in age from Mid-20s to Early 60s, each has their own catalyst. We all come from different parts of the country and different backgrounds. And that plays a large part of who we are both on stage and off. We influence and inspire each other, and we ALL have a unique perspective to help keep things fresh. We are NOT one of those bands that all grew up in the same small town and all went to high school together. I feel that makes us different, and also helps keep us together.
From a personal standpoint, if I had to pick one band that was a catalyst for starting this particular project, I’d say it was Reverend Peyton’s BIG Damn Band. I saw them in the Mid-2000s when touring with Flogging Molly…and between their energy, song themes, and instrumentation, I was hooked. And looking back, that’s where a lot of the seeds of what would become the BJB had originated. I probably would have never picked up the washboard if I wasn’t in the audience that night watching Breezy Peyton do her thing. Obviously, we all come with a lifetime of influences, but that was a big one for me at the time.
How did you first discover such unique type of musical genre?
When I was three years old my parents drove down from Wisconsin on Vacation to Florida. That’s when I went to Disney for the first time, and also the first time I ever saw the Country Bear Jamboree. It may sound silly, but something about that throwback Americana vibe influenced me then…and continues to this day. It was fun, yet also dark, and I loved it. And from then on, all that old jug band, folk, roots, bluegrass, mountain music seemed to always find its way back into my life and influences as I matured.
And over 30 years later I recently took my own child (Bodhi – 4 years old) to see the Country Bears for the first time and he had some of the same reactions I did as a kid. So, I guess everything in life comes full circle…
Bloody Jug BandWhat do you think is so appealing about this ‘Americana’ sound which has found such a resurgence in both the indie and mainstream scenes?
That’s hard to say. But, just like all trends or fads, the old ends up becoming hip again. If you wait long enough they will end up remaking every ’80s movie that ever existed. And eventually, kids will be wearing togas or loin clothes and thinking they are on the cutting edge of fashion. Hell, I bet in another 30 years people will start discovering the old hair bands and thinking that was cool, like some undiscovered treasure.
Hopefully, I’ll be long dead by then…but you never know.
From your website, I can tell you guys tour a lot. What kind of bands do you like to play/tour with?
ANY & ALL!!! We love being diverse enough to go into different genres and play with an array of different acts. So, although we have a real love for our Americana scene and the artists within it, we like any act that has an open-minded audience and can put on a super dynamic performance, because when we are not on stage, we love being entertained and inspired by those we share a bill with.
If you could have a dream tour lineup, with bands.musicians from any era and genre, what would it be?
Hmm…that’s a tough one. Ok, how about The BJB opening for the original line-up of The Misfits, with Alice Cooper headlining, and Nick Cave making a surprise appearance every 3rd show.
OR…Meatloaf, Warren Zevon, Tom Waits , and Johnny Cash all performing on stage together like a fucked up version of the Highwaymen. [laughs]
Bloody Jug Band

Photo by Steven Shea

What influences you outside of music?

 Life. Family. Humor. Movies. Comics. Spirituality. Listening to books on tape (Audible)…and MUSIC!!!

How many releases have you guys had?
We’ve released a Demo CD (First Drops 2010), two full-length albums (Coffin Up Blood 2012 & Rope Burn 2015), as well as an EP (Murder of Crows 2014). We are also just about to hit the studio with our new tracks any day now to start work on our next full-length release.
Do you have a particular favorite song or release?
I think any bands first release always holds a dear place in their hearts, but in truth, for ME it would be our last Album, Rope Burn‘. It felt like we were firing on all cylinders and the quality of the tracks and overall vibe of the band was at an all-time high. It took many years to be able to listen to myself on a track, or the band as a whole with an objective eye, but it’s that album is something we are all very proud of, and that is due in no small part to our Amazing Producer, Justin Beckler, who helped realize the vision…and then some.
What are you working on now?
We just released a new music video for our song, ‘Late Shift’, and are about to start recording our 3rd full-length album. We’ve also got some new merch items and collaborations in the works. If we aren’t working on something new, or some crazy idea of the venture, we’re stagnating…so we’re always moving forward.
Do you have a favorite show or tour story?
Performing with our old friends, Reverend Peyton’s BIG Damn Band always seem to rank on the top of our list because they were such an early inspiration for us, and the energy we create on a bill together is a ton of fun.
Aside from that, probably the most UNIQUE show would be performing at a nudist resort in the middle of a sunny summer day at their poolside stage. Our eyes cannot un-see those visions for good or ill…

What can people expect at your live shows?
We try to bring that true Jamboree sensibility to our shows, where the audience has as much to do with the energy as we do. If people aren’t dancing, hooting or hollering we aren’t doing our jobs. We try to give the audience something they haven’t seen before or haven’t seen in this modern era, while also being able to show our diversity of talent and influences throughout the performance.
Since this is Florida Geek Scene do any of you guys have anything you are geeks or fanboys for?
I would say that the majority of us fall into the “geek” category in some form of another. Personally, I am a lover of everything from vintage video games (NES & SNES), toy collecting, campy ’80s movies, comic books, LEGO, and the list continues… We play a lot of horror conventions, and it’s a prime opportunity to reach a unique segment of our fanbase while also getting to enjoy the environment and make many geek-fueled purchases.

For more information on The Bloody Jug Band check out their website and follow them on Twitter.

All images and photos courtesy of the band.


Author: Manny Gomez View all posts by
Manny Gomez is a freelance writer based out of Florida's west coast. He obsessively reads interviews, binge watches TV shows, loves comics, movies, punk rock, hip-hop, stand-up comedy, detective novels and the mythology of baseball. His best friend is a dog. Follow him on Twitter @Manny1138

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