Recently winning “High Times Best New Underground Artist of the Year” Award for 2009, along with a featured song in the first “Guitar Hero” game (“Cheat on the Church”), Graveyard BBQ is on a blazing roll that will destroy before being stopped. Formed in 2003 in Waltham, MA the BBQ consists of Howlin’ Jack Boone on vocals, Brown Bag Johnson on guitar, Bud Black on bass guitar, and Whitey Trasher on drums. The band is self categorized as being “dirtcore” which means good old sleazy rock riffs, monstrous rhythm sections, scantily clad girls dancing on stage, and testosterone driven topics. Graveyard BBQ is everything commercial radio hates. It just so happens that’s the way fans like it.
Graveyard’s latest compilation, the self titled “Greatest Hits: Volume Two,” is not only their best work to date but their most promising. Ever wonder what modern metal would sound like if infused with 1960’s southern blues rock? Look no further. Curious as to the energy-baby a down town strip club and an AC/DC show would create? You’ve found your answer! Every track on the album delivers a heaping dose of delicious groove rock and sinful pleasure…so sinful Ron Jeremy wears a Graveyard BBQ t-shirt to his photo shoots.
“The Clothes that Make the Man” rightfully begins the auditory assault. A repeating thunderous guitar and raw, yet tastefully produced vocals create a high voltage, head banging atmosphere. Midway through the track a vintage modified solo that doesn’t try to be what it’s not adds a melodic component displaying the band’s versatility as musicians. Our next stop is at the track “BBQ Nation.” The heavy shuffle rhythm and the repeating vocal line “If you’re not with us, yer’ against us!” is an underground anthem. Additionally, it provides the listener with statement about the band’s purpose in life. “Ride the Stache” features a catchy verse-chorus unison and authoritative vocals about that x-rated action. It cost five cents, by the way. Listening to these three tracks is enough to get the Graveyard experience but other gems like “BBQ Girl” and “The Road that Lies Ahead” make the story complete.
Of course it has what could be seen as short comings. Every track uses a similar formula that can dull the senses. This, along with straight-forward identical musical arrangements, has been the main criticism of Graveyard BBQ. However, there is something to be said about not ruining a good thing. Graveyard does a good job at infusing different styles but lacks transitional material that makes the track sound erratic. The choppy stop and go approach could be a little smoother but that, of course, would not be true. Whatever they are perceived as doing bad they do damn good.
Musically, Graveyard is not complex or even original. What makes them special, however, is they don’t claim to be. Band members have no problem admitting that they are carrying on the prestigious tradition of heavy rock and roll. In fact, they thrive on it. In an era where Nickleback and Theory of a Deadman sound the same (along with every other new rock-radio act), it’s refreshing to hear a band standing in a rooted position. Instead of trying to sound like the next big thing they put their energy towards feel good music that resonates with the soul of fun. Graveyard has an entertainment factor about them that could be too hot to touch. Their loyal following, the “BBQ Nation,” sees it the same way. When music becomes too serious it is painfully boring. However, when music can invoke emotion it’s a movement.
Graveyard BBQ is injecting rejuvenation into the underground rock scene. Their string of success, at the very least, shows rock is not dead; it’s just been to quiet. Overall, “Greatest Hits: Volume Two” gets three and a half out of four pitchforks and a side of chopped road kill for a final grade.
BONUS MATERIAL: AN INTERVIEW WITH GUITARIST BROWNBAG JOHNSON
CWG: What is your weapon of choice?
BB: My Minarik Inferno Flying V which Satan hand crafted himself for me!
CWG: Why put so much into the music and production that is Graveyard BBQ?
BB: Because it’s our life. What else is their to live for? Music is the universal language. It doesn’t matter where you live, how old you are, what color you are, or your gender.
To be born with a gift and strive to be considered the best, and loved and respected at something is rare in this world. We eat, sleep, sh*t, and breath BBQ bra!
CWG: How long have you been doing this for? Is their an end date in sight?
BB: I personally have been playing music my whole life, since I was six years old. I started Graveyard BBQ in the summer of 2003 and we’ve been around for six years now kicking ass and taking names.
The BBQ will always live on forever no matter what. I know speaking for myself and I’m sure it’s the same with all the other bro’s; we’ll be playing or at least be involved with music for the rest of our lives. It’s hardwired into us!
CWG: What’s the biggest roadblock you’ve hit so far and how did you blast through it?
BB: I consider everyday to be a challenge, you got to blast through it every f*cking day-consistency is key to success. It builds character. We’ve always been a band that has always had the “goods” but never really caught a huge break or had anything or anyone behind except for us that was really driving it hard.
Everything we’ve accomplished, from GUITAR HERO to recently winning the High Times Magazine “Best New Artist” Doobie Award, we’ve f*cking pounded the pavement harder than any other unsigned band out there, and have earned everything we’ve worked for.
There’s definitely satisfaction in that, and when I look around at other bands that get it soooo easy and suck soooo bad… haha we’re there already though, we always have been. 2009 is the Year of the BBQ.
CWG: What makes you take a breath and say “It’s all good?”
BB: The fans… the BBQ NATION! And of course family and friends are extremely supportive of what we do; they’re all a part of it. When you got peeps all the way from f*cking sticks in Arkansas to Sunset Strip in L.A, to England to Sweden to Indonesia to Spain, praising what you do, its all gravy man!
Cause’ once we get the deal we’ve been working for the world is ours! A BBQ NATION awaits us all, only 1 God, 1 grill, Indivisible.
Interested in reading more about Graveyard BBQ as well as merchandise, tour dates, videos, and pictures of the band? Check them out at on Myspace.