by Franke Black/ Plante Hard
When I first became aware of Carry Nation I was assigned to do a story and interview for their new album Control, in the late 90s for the French magazine Plante Hard. After talking with their singer Chris Humphreys for a while, I got into their back story as well as doing promo for their new album. It was at this time that I became interested in the history of the band. I never got the opportunity to write about the band as much as I wanted to. So, when they approached me recently to do a little history on the band as well as review their brand spanking new record, I jumped at the chance.
Carry Nation is a story of attrition, blind faith, stubbornness and brilliance in one extremely self contained army. The band started out recording in basement studios like I suppose we all do. But the difference with these guys is that instead of working on a three song demo the first time out, they would take thirty songs in and record a full length album. Like all bands at this level, money was non existent. So, they begged, borrowed and bartered their way into these sessions. In one instance, after almost completing their second full length recording, the owner of one studio arrived at his studio fresh from his release from jail only to find Carry Nation in the middle of final mixes at 6am. That’s called sneaking in the back door.
As a result of these misadventures, the first two albums they recorded were lost, gone, and confiscated. Of course Carry Nation would not be deterred; they just wrote new songs and started over. The first full length recording I ever heard was the album Atomic Love, which I’m sure is out of print. Nice start. The band picked up steam and material, recording Driven, which sold extremely well in Europe and the States containing staples like Wishing Well, Pavlov’s Dog, Other Side etc.
At this point, the indie label Brunette came calling and signed the band. The subsequent recording Control was released with the songs Sieve, Railroad Song, and Welcome To The Family, among others.
That’s when I became intrigued with the band, their sound, and why they sound like they do. At the time of the release of Control, I asked the band why they didn’t sound like other bands being released at the time. Big mistake. Carry Nation invented the zig when everyone else was zagging. Pop hair metal is hot; they write 5 minute songs of amazing complexity. Grunge is in; they come up with county tinged straight rock. Boy bands are descending on us like locusts from the apocalypse; they sledge hammer us. Detuned fake angst is in fashion; they say that been done before, by us. That’s where the attrition, blind faith, stubbornness, stupidity and brilliance come from.
Two years ago they recorded the Stand album. I recently received this package and was amazed how Carry Nation had evolved once again. This record is was loaded with stripped down, three minute songs like Girl in the song, 2 days ago, Mr. Saturday night.
This brings us to the point of this new CD, Lucky 13. This album is under my skin. Listen to it long enough and it almost becomes a sound track to daily emotion. Carry Nation’s strength has always been to put logical, meaningful story teller type of lyrics to big rock riffs. If they have had a weakness it’s that we never found out enough about the story teller himself. But here we are finally catching a glimpse of insight. Lucky 13 runs the gamut, from the declaration Ain’t Your Dog to the revealing Stuck In My Tree. Throw in the song Your Band Sucks right after Garden Of Stone and it’s like a solar eclipse of musicality. If you ever dug what this band has done in the past you will love this land mark record. Sonically this record is as big as I want intelligent music to get. Enjoy!
Chris Humphreys - vocals, guitar
Todd Richardson - vocals, bass
Jim Newman - vocals, drums
Dave Penney - vocals, guitar
Our shows consist of either two 90 minutes sets or three 60 minute sets containing a mixture of both cover songs and original material.
Depending on the night, we may include additional or few original compositions as the crowd and venue dictate. We can also play a complete 2 hour show of all original material as well. A typical mixed set of original and cover songs might include:
SET I Satch Boogie, Beatles medley, Vertigo(U2), Beverly Hills(Wheezer), Your Band Sucks(original), In The Middle(Jimmy Eat World) Better Get Used To It(original), New Girl Now(Honeymoon Suite), 80s Dance Medley(various artists)
SET II Rock INstrumental Medley(various artists), Funk Medley (various artists), Ain't Your Dog(original), 2 Days Ago(original), Cult of Personality(Living Color), This Time(INXS), Rebel Yell(Billy Idol), 80's Rock Medley(various artists)
SET III Van Halen Medley, Sieve(original), Mr Saturday Night(original), Jet Airliner(Steve Miller), Stray Cats Medley, Its Good(Better Than Ezra), Blitzkrieg Bop(Ramones),American Idiot(Green Day), I Wanna Be Sedated(Ramones), Fight For Your Right(Beastie Boys)