Eldorado and the Ruckus
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Eldorado and the Ruckus

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"Eldorado and the Ruckus"

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Eldorado and the Ruckus:
Planet of the Vampires II

Label: Bigfoot Records

Release Date: 2005

Review Date: 6/19/06

Eldorado and the Ruckus features Eldorado Del Rey formerly of the Porch Ghouls. While the Porch Ghouls had Cramps comparisons, The Ruckus can inevitably be compared to Jon Spencer and the Blues Explosion. Reading some of the song titles and the press for this record I was hoping for more of an early Gun Club vibe but didn’t get it. The press also mentioned a conscious desire to get away from the Blues Explosion sound but I would say they were not entirely successful. Eldorado and the Ruckus sound like a looser less cacophonic version of the Blues Explosion with a more humble delivery and more straight forward guitar driven sound. The good news is that Planet of the Vampires will not get on your nerves after repeated listening. Eldorado’ vocals are not always prominent in the mix and he doesn’t always have the strongest delivery, but the end result is a lot of fun. You could easily imagine these guys as friends of yours who happen to put on one heck of good show. Not a work of blues virtuosos by any means, but a solid unassuming delivery of a jumping good time, and an independent one at that. Give the Planet of the Vampires II a spin a couple of times and you’ll find yourself humming the tunes in your sleep, troubled sleep that is. Good bluesy rock with a fun vibe, and I don’t mean the type that frat boys like. These guys are based in Memphis and Eldorado is definitely channeling a little Elvis - the skinny one. The record was recorded at Sun Studios. They’ve got some cool promo photos too. Check ‘em out.

Online Action: www.eldoradoandtheruckus.com
Online Action: myspace.com/eldorado

Reviewer: Kilwag

Hey Corporate Types: Why not send in your skateboard gear for review. We promise to review it promptly (unless it is raining or we are busy or lazy). If we think it sucks, we'll get a second opinion. We even pass stuff on to a lucky reader. We love product.
- Skate and Annoy


"Ruckus Returns"

Back in 2003, bandleader Eldorado Del Rey authored one of the more unexpected passages in recent Memphis music. The frontman for a loose, energetic garage punk-blues band, the Porch Ghouls (which also featured ex-Grifters guitarist Scott Taylor), Del Rey met Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry during the Memphis musician's day job as a Sun Studio tour guide. Intrigued, Perry listened to the Porch Ghouls demo, became smitten, and signed the band to his then-new Roman Records label. Soon, the Ghouls' debut, Bluff City Ruckus, was getting major-label distribution, and the band was opening for Aerosmith and KISS on tour.

It was too much too soon: The record didn't take, and the band didn't last. But Del Rey regrouped to form a new band, El Dorado & the Ruckus, which released two albums, 2005's Planet of the Vampires II and 2006's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. By 2007, Del Rey had drifted back to his native Florida.

But Del Rey couldn't stay away. Since returning to Memphis — and Sun — Del Rey has re-formed the Ruckus, which now includes Matt Ross-Spang and Jason Freeman on guitar and Daniel Farris on drums. Del Rey is simultaneously releasing two new albums, The Hidden Fortress and Duck, You Sucker!, the former recorded before his exit from Memphis, the latter since his return, both at Sun. Both albums also feature a film theme of sorts.

The Hidden Fortress is named after the Akira Kurosawa film that helped inspire Star Wars. The opening song, "Yojimbo" (fun chorus: "Yojimbo! Yojimbo! Yo!"), is also named for a Kurosawa film and features the electronic sounds (in this case, an agreeable blend of hip-hop and Atari 2600) that Del Rey dabbled in immediately after the Porch Ghouls. The more recent Duck, You Sucker! is a westerns-themed album named after a Sergio Leone spaghetti western (better known by the alternate title, A Fistful of Dollars). The album is somewhat of a return to the more rootsy, guitar-driven sound of the Porch Ghouls.

El Dorado & the Ruckus will celebrate the release of both albums at the Hi-Tone Café Friday, October 1st, with opening bands the Dirty Streets and the Gunslingers. Showtime is 10 p.m. Admission is $5. - Memphis Flyer


"Ruckus Restart"

Ruckus Restart
by Chris Davis
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Eldorado Del Ray (right) & the Ruckus

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* Eldorado Del Ray (right) & the Ruckus

Eldorado Del Rey, aka Mic Walker, the mutton-chopped leader of The Ruckus, likes living downtown. He likes the pedestrian life. He likes buying his groceries at funky markets along the Main Street mall. But mostly, the longtime Sun Studio employee likes the fact that he's still living in the city that rock built.

"I'd just gotten to this point when I really thought it might be time for me to find another city," Del Rey says, his resigned voice heavy with the unmistakable tone of hard luck, Memphis-style.

"And then I moved downtown," he says, "and it was like I was living in a completely different city."

The singer, songwriter, and guitar player takes off his black, gold-trimmed sunglasses and replaces them with a pair of black gold-trimmed prescription glasses. "I have some rules," he says. "I don't go out [downtown] on the weekends ... too many people mess with me."

There can be no doubt, Eldorado Del Rey stands out in a crowd. Gangly, hairy, dressed in the immaculately considered wardrobe of a garage-rock hero, and riding a pimped-out single-speed bike with ape hangers and flames, he looks like a cross between Viva L'American Death Ray's Nick Diablo and a Mojo Nixon impersonator: charming, self-effacing, and self-consciously absurd.

"I know why you're here," says an old codger entering The Green Beetle, a sports bar on South Main, and making a beeline for our table. "You're here for Elvis week, ain'tcha?"

"No, I live here," Del Rey answers politely, grinning and shaking his head as if to say, "See what I mean?"

In 2003, it was Del Rey's fusion of Delta blues and indie rock that caught the ear of Joe Perry. The Aerosmith guitar player was attracted to Del Rey's bluesy grit and signed The Porch Ghouls, Del Rey's pre-Ruckus group, to be the first band on his new Roman Records label. Unfortunately, the Ghouls' album, Bluff City Ruckus, didn't perform particularly well, and while on tour with Kiss and Aerosmith, the Porch Ghouls fell to pieces. Shortly thereafter, much of Del Rey's life followed suit. His marriage dissolved and old friends wouldn't give him the time of day. Since then, he's been tinkering with his sound, trying to keep a band together, and moving further and further from the blues.

"I've always just wanted to play rock-and-roll," he says in defense of the Ruckus' latest, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, which reaches back to the Delta for a few numbers but is built around electronic beats and futuristic lyrics.

After the Porch Ghouls broke up, Del Rey recorded the first Ruckus album, Planet of the Vampires, backed by The Immortal Lee County Killers. It was Del Rey's trashiest, raunchiest effort to date, more in the spirit of The Oblivians than the Porch Ghouls. But the Killers had other gigs to play and couldn't get too tied up in a side project.

Del Rey started jamming with natural-born bluesman Jason Freeman, who cut his teeth fronting The Bluff City Backsliders.

"We were working together at Sun, so we started talking, and we were both into the exact same music," Del Rey says. But after playing for a while with the Ruckus, Freeman joined up with Amy LaVere in Amy & the Tramps.

Today, the Ruckus is a three-piece featuring the inventive guitar leads of a youngster who calls himself Matt Danger and beats dropped by DJ Natty Batty.

"I was always having trouble finding a drummer, and I always thought it would be cool to have a pretty girl up there with us cueing samples," Del Rey says.

As one might expect, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? sounds like a record made by an artist in transition. It lacks the aggression of Del Rey's previous roots efforts, but it never quite embraces its gothic potential either. However, the band has never been tighter or more original, Del Rey's voice has never sounded more confident, and fans of Phillip K. Dick and J.G. Ballard will certainly appreciate this homage to the masters of smart sci-fi.

"I like transitions," Del Rey says. "A lot of times, it's the transitions that really stand out, like with the Beatles' Rubber Soul and Revolver. I'm not comparing myself to the Beatles. I'm just saying that sometimes transitions can be a good thing."

El Dorado & the Ruckus play a CD-release party for Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Friday, August 25th, at the Hi-Tone Café. Doors open at 9 p.m.; admission is $5.

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Saw Eldorado at Sun Studios in November - what an awesome personality this guy has. Bought the 'Androids' cd and am pretty impressed. Good luck to him. *Nell*
Posted by LittleNell on December 11, 2009 at 5:11 AM | Report this comment
- Memphis Flyer


"Listen Up: Eldorado and the Ruckus still rowdy"


Listen Up: Eldorado and the Ruckus still rowdy

By Michael Donahue (Contact), GoMemphis.com
Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Eldorado and the Ruckus are back on the Memphis scene with a bang. Make it two bangs.

Several of their songs are featured in the new movie, "Savage County," which will premier at 7, 7:30 and 9:30 tonight at Malco's Studio on the Square. In addition to songs with lyrics by the band's lead singer/guitarist Eldorado del Rey, the movie features a score written by Ruckus guitarist Jason Freeman.
Eldorado del Rey

Eldorado del Rey

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The Ruckus will celebrate the release of their self-titled two-disc album Friday night at the Hi-Tone. It will be the band's first big show in two years.

In 1998, Rey formed the Porch Ghouls. They were signed to Columbia Records, toured overseas and released an album, Bluff City Ruckus.

After that group disbanded Rey formed Eldorado and the Ruckus, whose name was taken from the slang term for jug bands and string bands playing on Beale.

In 2008, Rey moved back to his home state of Florida, leaving the Ruckus behind. Rey, who had worked at Sun Studios for 10 years, said he wanted to "start new."

While in Florida, Rey continued to write and he formed another band, Doomsday Collider. "It was essentially the Ruckus." But, he added, "I love that band, but they just didn't have the oomph of the Ruckus."

Florida didn't work out. "Florida can be an amazingly cruel state if you don't have any money. I love it down there. It's just I got really bad in the hole. I was doing construction, making nothing. One day I was like, 'I can come back to Memphis, make twice as much money, not have to work construction.'

"I'm 40. I don't need to be framing houses. I need to be working indoors telling people about the history of rock and roll."

He shook the sand off his feet, moved home and immediately got his job back and his old band together. In addition to Freeman, the group includes Matt Ross-Spang on guitar and Daniel Farris on drums.

Rey completed an unpublished Ruckus album, Hidden Fortress, before he moved to Florida. That album featured Rey, Ross-Spang and Lynn "DJ Flesheater" Dials. "It was very drum machine, sample driven."

All the song titles are from Samurai films. "I've been obsessed with Japan ever since the Porch Ghouls began. Actually, before the Porch Ghouls began."

He wanted to put that album out on a big indie label, but while in Florida he wrote enough material for another album. So, in October, he and the Ruckus members along with Dennie Carter, his drummer from Doomsday Collider, began working on the new CD. "The other (album) was exclusively blues rifts in making rock songs whereas this one is more punk rock. It's got kind of a pop punk emo ... kind of thing going on or sometimes even a classic '70s punk thing going on, but with bluesy solos."

The titles of the songs on the new album, Duck You Sucker, are from spaghetti westerns. "Samurai films were influenced by early Westerns like John Ford westerns. The spaghetti westerns were influenced by the samurai films. Like 'Fistful of Dollars' is actually an Akira Kurosawa movie called 'Yojimbo.'"

The song lyrics don't correspond to the movie plots. Describing the song, "For a Few Dollars More," Rey, who writes the lyrics, said, "I start listing off the reasons I like rock and roll -- the drugs, the booze, the chicks. And for the money. By the end of it you realize the person singing the song is not really proud of himself for being into those things (he's) celebrating so much."

Describing his "Savage County" movie score, Freeman said, "It's a horror score. Very atmospheric and horror provoking."

The Ruckus songs in the movie are from their first two CDs, Rey said. "The director picked some songs that were more folky. We always do three or four songs that are kind of acoustic-y, kind of odd."

Rey isn't planning on returning to Florida. "I bought a house in Cooper-Young and I just had a baby girl. Three months old; Bernadette.

"Yeah. I'm sticking around."

Listen Up spotlights area performers. Michael Donahue can be reached at 529-2797.

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Eldorado and the Ruckus

Also, The Dirty Streets, The Gunslingers and TAB The Band. 9:30 Friday at the Hi-Tone at 1913 Poplar. Cover: $5. - The Commercial Appeal


Discography

Planet of the Vampires II (LP) - Bigfoot Records, 2005
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (LP) - Bigfoot Records, 2006
Mr. Oblivion (Single) - Black Snake Moan soundtrack, Paramount Pictures, 2007
Eldorado and the Ruckus (Double LP) - Miku Records, 2010

Photos

Bio

If you’ve been to Memphis, Tennessee then you’ve probably been to the legendary Sun Studio and been greeted by a guy with mutton-chop sideburns and dark rimmed glasses. That character is Memphis import, Eldorado Del Rey. Take his tour and you are transported to a time of sock hops and juke joints where gospel, boogie woogie, country, and blues fused to create something called “rock n’ roll.” A fateful tour given to Joe Perry of Aerosmith would catapult Eldorado’s music career and land his then band, the Porch Ghouls, a slot on their tour with KISS. Captivated by his over the top personality and rockabilly-esque appearance Perry released Bluff City Ruckus on Roman Records and described Eldorado as “a mix between Muddy Waters and the Clash…part rockabilly, part skateboard guy.”

Innately, Sun Studio is a magnet for unique artists. Its irresistible force brought Eldorado together with Sun engineer Matt Ross-Spang and fellow tour guide Jason Freeman to create the album version of Eldorado and the Ruckus. Joining the Sun family at the age of 17 by shadowing engineer James Lott, Ross-Spang has evolved into a picking connoisseur and can be heard playing guitar, banjo, and mandolin on Ruckus albums. Freeman, is not only a guitarist and backup vocalist, but his accolades include music advisor for films like Craig Brewer’s “Black Snake Moan” and score composer for the upcoming MTV horror flick “Savage County.”

Historically, Eldorado and the Ruckus pull themes from Italian horror movies and new wave Sci-Fi. In this recent double disk including “Duck, You Sucker!” and “The Hidden Fortress,” the band combines Spaghetti Western influence with 1950’s Samurai film elements to form Memphis' newest masterpiece of rock. The band’s signature sound can be found on the upcoming “Savage County” soundtrack.

For videos please go to http://youtube.com/user/eldorado