Banditos
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Banditos

Birmingham, Alabama, United States

Birmingham, Alabama, United States
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Banditos are a downright dirty band. That’s not an observation about their personal hygiene, but an analysis of their aural impact, although it’s open to interpretation when lead guitarist and lap steel player Jeffery Salter describes the construction of the country-rocking outfit’s sound by saying, “Each person brought their own stank to the collective nostril.” And they did, after all, once make a batch of home-recorded tunes called The Filthy Sessions.

Without taking a ride on the Banditos tour bus, we’ll have to assume the sextet’s “stank” quotient comes chiefly from the earthy, ragged-but-right feel they bring to their blend of hell-bound honky-tonk, roadhouse roots-rock, and field-holler folk — for easy ID purposes, let’s be lazy and call it Americana. The band came together in Alabama just a couple of years ago, but couldn’t stay in one place for too long. “We recently uprooted from Birmingham and moved to Nashville to get out of our comfort zone,” says Salter. “It’s been tough but it’s been one of the best experiences for all of us.”
According to Salter, the band’s beginnings were as organic as their output. “All of us have known each other for as long as we can remember,” he says. “It started as a two-piece and grew into a family with very eclectic tastes.” The family includes singer Mary Beth Richards, singer/guitarist Timothy Steven Corey, singer/banjo man Stephen Alan Pierce II, and a rhythm section of upright bassist Jeffery Daniel Vines and drummer Randy Taylor Wade (Yes, this is a band that bears its middle names with pride). Their musical melange is informed by everything from the old-school country of Hank Williams and Conway Twitty to classic roots-rockers like the Band and Creedence Clearwater Revival. In a relatively short time, they’ve made their presence felt among those with a passion for raw, rootsy music; Banditos fans even have an official name: Fanditos. Salter describes the vibe generated at the average Banditos show by the interaction between the band and its admirers as “rowdy, sweaty, regrettable.”

There’s currently a six-track Banditos EP available, but they’ve got a full-length album in the works for a spring release. “We were very excited to work with [Alabama Shakes producer] Andrija Tokic at Bombshelter in Nashville,” Salter says of the new recording. “Most of the album was recorded live and the energy definitely shows.” Salter says Banditos fans present and future can expect “a few shit-kickers, good ol’ straightforward rock & roll tunes, and a few that get a little more psychedelic.” Of course, it goes without saying that the band can be counted on to keep it dirty.
- MTV Hive


Birmingham, Albama band Banditos show off their backwoods grit with two new videos highlighting songs off their new, self-titled EP. Both videos were shot live by Joshua Shoemaker in the band’s backyard.

“We did these sessions the day that the hurricane was coming through,” says frontman Corey Parsons. “We recorded live, so we had the power run deep into the woods in the backyard. We were afraid the rain was gonna cut us short, but, we beat it.”

“Long Gone” is a quick ditty, emboldened with unabashed kazoo wailing, and guitar chops reminiscent of old-time country and swing rhythm, kicked to life by the band’s high energy and verve. “I was thinking about this old rhyme my aunt used to tell me when I was a kid that talks about death.” Says Parsons, “It starts with “Did you ever stop to think when a hearse pass by, that you might be the next to die?” It’s a carefree song about mortality.”

“No Good” is very much Mary Beth Richardson’s response to the undue criticism she has received during her formative years with the band. “It’s a song about what people portray us as and who we really are.” She says, ” It’s about people getting the wrong idea about me and my lifestyle. A girl who lives and plays with a bunch of dudes. I don’t have a set path like most people and that makes people feel uneasy.”

The band’s EP is available for download via their bandcamp page. - American Songwriter Magazine


In 1948, Hank Williams Sr. was asked how he decided to start making country music. He responded by saying, “I don’t know what you mean by country music. I just make music the way I know how.” What he created is what felt right and what came natural to him. 63 years later, his attitude towards music reflects that of certain musicians today. Banditos, a six piece band from Birmingham, Alabama, is a perfect example of this; following in Hank Sr.’s footsteps with their “I do what I want” honky tonk attitude, Banditos create raw and gritty southern music that will get anyone and everyone stompin’ their feet.
Coming together as a full band in September of last year, they recently released their first EP, The Filthy Sessions, along with a music video for their single, “Filthy, Havin’ Fun.” Currently, they are working on their full length album which will be released in late May of this year. Though still an incredibly new band, Banditos have been gaining popularity and recognition very quickly, booking shows all around the south and a rapidly growing Facebook fan page.
Timothy Steven Corey Parsons and Stephen Alan Pierce II first formed Banditos over nights of drinking beer and messing around on their guitars and banjos. Even in a bit of a drunken state, they were putting together songs they saw a lot of potential in, and eventually had a few friends including Randy Taylor Wade, Mary Beth Richardson, Jeffery David Salter, and Jeffery Daniel Vines making music with them in no time. Their first show in Birmingham turned out to be a big success and quickly started the rise of Bandito fans, known collectively as Fanditos. On May 26th, they will be playing their biggest show yet with The Zac Brown Band at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater directly outside of their hometown. Not even a full year as a band, and they’re already booking amphitheater shows…that’s gotta be saying something.
Banditos are reminiscent of Creedence Clearwater Revival and Johnny Cash if they got into a brawl with the Rolling Stones and Janis Joplin. Mary Beth Richardson, the only lady gracing Banditos on stage, can easily be seen as their secret weapon. As a whole, however, Banditos is a honky tonk, two steppin’ forcefield that the music industry needs. Staying away from anything electro, indie, or computerized, Banditos goes back to the roots of rock ‘n roll with their roughneck attitudes and raunchy instruments. - The Owl Mag


On Banditos’ first full length album “The Filthy Sessions”, I’m reminded of why I got into music in the first place. The feeling you get when you hear a REALLY good album for the first time. Everyone is familiar with it, even if his or her taste may be different. Or unless they are deaf. I should get out of the way that, after Pine Hill Haints, Banditos is my favorite band in Alabama. I’ve seen (and booked) them many times; so I know well how these songs typically sound live. And I’ll be goddamn if they don’t sound as good or better here. Got plenty more review for you, but first, watch this.

(Link to the Video would be here)

Yeah.
Banditos is a seven-piece alternative country band out of Birmingham, AL reminiscent of acts like Grayson Capps and Colonel Dixies. They are comprised of acoustic guitar, banjo, tuba, stand up bass, steel guitar, electric guitar, drums, and vocals. They have three singers, two male, and one female. The frontman, Corey Parsons, looks and sounds like Grayson Capps if he was much younger and wilder than he ever was. Stephen Pierce, the banjo player, also offers backing vocals and sometimes takes the lead for a hot minute. This brings us to Mary Richardson, the last front of the band. Mary has soul in her voice, reminiscent of a much older jazz singer, such as Billie Holiday. Her voice has the tendency to stop potential haters right in their tracks, as I’ve seen at Alabama Music Box, The Blind Mule, and even Government Street Grocery many a time.
The album opens off with “Blood is Thicker Than Water”, a bluegrass tune with brass courtesy of newish member Ben Griner on tuba. The tuba adds much more than you think it would, especially live. The guitar licks on “Blood is Thicker Than Water” are reminiscent of Johnny Cash’s electric guitarist Luther Perkins. Actually, a lot of what electric guitarist/lap guitarist Jeffrey Salter plays is very reminiscent of Johnny Cash, which is interesting when combined with the way the rest of the band plays.
Stand up bass player/professional “Hagrid” from Harry Potter impersonator, Jeffrey Vines takes the bass for a walk in tracks like “Messin’ Around” and “The Gambler”. Drummer Randy Wade rarely gets a chance to REALLY cut loose, but in songs like “Filthy Havin’ Fun”, you get a chance to clearly see that the man’s got chops.

Lyrically, this is one of the better-written albums about getting fucked up and having a good time I’ve heard in a hot minute. Quote-worthy lines include “Listen to me man, said take my advice/if you’re gonna leave your girl around me….. better think twice” and “I’m still filthy havin’ fun/ always on the run/ and that, aint ever gonna change”. Though in true country/americana fashion, there are a number of songs about having hard times.
The album’s high points (and there are quite a few) come in songs like the melancholy “Let Me Go”, the high energy usual show closer “Filthy Havin’ Fun”, the short but catchy “Womanizing Blues”, the very Folsom Prison Blues- esque “The Gambler”, and album closer “Preaching to the Choir”. Bottom line: this is about as good as alternative country gets esteemed readers. If you like alt country/honky tonk/americana, you wont be able to resist. I give Banditos’ “The Filthy Sessions” an 8.5/10, but with a condition; this band is truly capable of one day making that perfect ten.
Even though I did my best to review the album, you really have to listen to understand. Here’s a link where you may listen to the whole album and please, let us know what YOU think: - ModMobilian


Responder’s Note: This is Corey Parsons answering for the rest of the band after a sixer and four gin martinis. That’s right, martinis.

KS: So Banditos, in honor of Johnny Cash (who I’ve always thought of as an influence on the band), how would you describe your sound if it were the last ten words out of your mouth before you died and parked the tour van at the pearly gates?

CP: I believe the first ten words out of my mouth after dying and approaching some gates made of pearl would probably be an incoherent string of curse words and apologies, but for the sake of the interview, I’ll see if I can do this. Honest, Dirty, Southern, American, Honky-Tonk, Soul, Country, Blues, Folk, Rock-n-Roll… tide.

KS: This month (September 2011) marks your one-year anniversary of forming the band, right? I understand that you’ve accomplished a lot in that time. From recording albums to opening for Zach Brown Band in an amphitheater to creating a following in towns away from home like Mobile, how do you plan on following that up in the next two years?

CP: September 2011 is actually our one-year anniversary of having our current and final line-up. Although, Stephen and I have been playing together since around February 2010. How do we follow this past year up? I don’t know, man. It’s kind of day-to-day for us. I can promise you that we’re gonna continue to write music and play wherever there’s a person to listen. We’ve got some new tunes that I personally believe are the best we’ve ever written, and we’ll record them as soon as we feel they’re completely ready. We just got a new big-ass van that’s ready to take us wherever they’ll have us. Basically, we’re gonna keep on trying.

KS: If you could open for any band alive today, who would it be and why?

CP: These guys: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNEraxj559Y&feature=youtu.be (The Aristocats)

KS: What band (or bands) can you guys not stand to listen to?

CP: Too many to name. To each their own, though.

KS: Did Justin Timberlake really “bring sexy back”? If so, where was it?

CP: I never knew sexy went missing, but I don’t watch the news.

KS: Was there a certain album or song any of you heard that made you say, “yep, I’ve got to play music”?

CP: All of it for one reason or another, but play “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” at my funeral.

KS: Ever gotten into any trouble because of your name? (Note: there is a biker gang called “Bandidos”, but I feel like they might actually dig Banditos.)

CP: No trouble yet, luckily. We’ve even played at a Harley dealership. The only time we’ve had any problem being named similar to a biker gang was when we had an idea for stickers. We were going to have the classic image of Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbes) pissing on “Banditos”, but we figured if someone from “Bandidos” saw that sticker on someone’s car they probably wouldn’t take too kindly to it. I still think that’s a funny idea for a sticker, though.

KS: Lyrically, do you guys tend to write about things that have happened to you or do you come from a more fictional place?

CP: It’s mostly pretty personal stuff, although sometimes it’s put into different context.

KS: Your new album “The Filthy Sessions” (featuring usual show closer “Filthy Havin’ Fun”) is filthy brilliant. Will the next CD be called “CrazyFilthyCool? If not, what do you have against TLC? And lastly, what does it mean to be “Filthy Havin’ Fun”?

CP: Thank you, sir. Yes, our second album will be a TLC cover album. Filthy Havin’ Fun? I’ll let you know when I figure it out. I wanted to name it “Filthy Habit Fund”.

KS: One last question, and yes, it is the hard one. If you could be any character/dinosaur from Jurassic Park, which would it be and why?

CP: I’ll assign characters to each band member:
Stephen – Jeff Goldblum
Jeff – the grandson
Randy – the dude who gets chomped by the T. Rex while he’s taking a poop or the grandpa
Danny – Samuel L. Jackson
Mary – one of the girls or the sickly Triceratops
Me – Mr. DNA

No explanation necessary.

- Filshbowl Records


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

Banditos are famously eclectic, paying tribute to a little Aretha here, a little CCR there, with a tidbit of Squirrel Nut Zippers packed around the edges. While such a myriad of influences would bury a lesser band in tuneless muck, Banditos use their disparate influences to forge a more assured identity. Though they recall a dozen bands, they sound like none so much as themselves. The instrumentation is as ambitious as it is deftly executed, mingling upright bass with kazoo and banjo while the soul-spangled howl of frontwoman Mary plays counterpoint to a deceivingly sparse guitar, drenched in a quantity of reverb and delay not often associated with “danceable.” All this would mean crap if Banditos couldn’t play, but these mothers can choogle. It’s always the mark of a good band to be able to play the hell out of three chords and a breakdown, and Banditos shake it down like John Fogerty. Honestly, their shows are such burndowns of shimmying shins and stomping heels they should carry warnings for bone spurs.