Lightnin' Woodcock
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Lightnin' Woodcock

Band Blues Punk


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The best kept secret in music


"Lightnin' Woodcock: Blues, the original punk rock"

Monica Topping For the Times-Standard
Article Launched: 09/04/2008 10:35:45 AM PDT

”I think back in the day when blues was new and fresh, it was the original punk rock,” declares Lightnin' Bill Woodcock from his home in Los Angeles.

Woodcock's band mixes equal parts blues, punk rock and psychobilly to create a sound that can just as easily pay homage to an old Muddy Waters tune as they can get away with opening for Bad Religion on a couple of Northern California dates, this week.

”What I try to do is make (my band's music) aggressive and try to make it as vulgar in a modern day context as it was back then when they were doing everything with the double entendres,” says Woodcock. “You knew what they were singing about but they did it in a way to where their records could actually be released.”

Woodcock was born in Eureka. He has lived in Los Angeles for the last 20 years, but he made stops in Germany, the Bay area, Georgia, Texas and beyond, before finally settling down in Southern California. He still has family in Eureka.

”I haven't even been up there to visit my family in nearly three years,” says Woodcock. “I have yet to play there with any band...I haven't even seen a band play up in Eureka, I visit there so infrequently. But I'm familiar with Eureka and I'm excited to go there for personal reasons and especially excited to go there to play music for the first time”

Woodcock is a busy guy. He plays in three touring bands and when he's not on the road, he's working
up to three different part-time jobs and helping to raise a son.
Along with the Lightnin' Woodcock Trio, he also plays with a group called Miss Derringer, led by lowbrow artist Liz McGrath and her husband Morgan Slade, and Sun Trash, started by “Captain” Sean Wheeler of punk band Throw Rag. When original members of the band, some of whom Wheeler borrowed from Queens of the Stone Age and the Eagles of Death Metal, couldn't go on tour, Wheeler called Woodcock.

”What he did last year was booked a tour before having a band...and said 'hey, I've got a tour, I need a band' and I said 'no problem, let's just take my trio out,' so we did that for two tours and we're still doing it occasionally,” says Woodcock. “It's a really fun band, really great music to play.”

Working six days a week, while he's a home, as well as holding down gigs with multiple bands is about the only way Woodcock can do what he loves, while still paying the rent.

”Playing music around here in L.A. is not generally a profitable thing to do, unless you're in an established cover band,” says Woodcock. “But for the most part, playing original music in L.A., it's a little bit here and there, but not enough to live off of. That's part of the reason that I play in as many bands as I do.”

Woodcock's band does covers, but they're not exactly a cover band.

”I definitely try to pay homage to the things that have influenced and inspired me over the years,” says Woodcock. “Pretty much all of the people that inspired me did covers as well. I do a certain number of blues numbers occasionally but usually a little more aggressive, you know that's kind of the nature of what we do.

”What we do is, I try to kind of capture the essence and the spirit of the old, old blues but put it in a modern context because to me, there's a real fine line between blues and punk rock.”

”I've got one (Muddy Waters cover) on my MySpace page that's an acoustic style, but I'm particularly drawn to the really old stuff that he did on the plantation that Alan Lomax recorded... But yeah, by all means, he's one of the guys that I try and pay my respects to by doing the best I can, not mangling his incredible work,” says Woodcock.

Asked if Woodcock's Trio has a record available for sale, he responds “No, I don't. It's something I'm going to be working on in the near future. I have recordings that haven't been released but I'm more inclined to do an album from start to finish, rather than use these recordings as a release.”

”What I'm doing is on this tour,” he continues, “I'm giving the music away. If you buy a T-shirt, I give you a homemade CD, so I'm just doing that in the meantime until I get back...I'm just giving away my recordings to get my music out there and I figure what the hell, people are going to steal it anyway.”

”It is (unfortunate), but it gives us all a fresh start to do something different with the industry,” says Woodcock. “I think the future of music is in performance -- something that you can't steal or download. You actually have to go and physically see something in person and experience it, and it enriches your life.”

The Lightnin' Woodcock Trio will be enriching lives on Monday night at the Pearl Lounge in Eureka. A local opening band is still To Be Announced.
- Times-Standard

"The Stone Electric, Smash Fashion, Lightnin Woodcock Trio"

Last but not least was the always over the top Lightnin Woodcock Trio. With his flying V in hand and his Wolverine style chops Lightnin Bill charges the stage and immediately takes control of it as well as the crowd that is there. Playing a mix of Blues/Punk/Psychobilly this band has what it takes to entertain. With members from Miss Deringer and The Bourbon Saints how can this band not kick ass? Lightnin Bill is one of the most charismatic front men in LA right now. The songwriting is strong and the performance these 3 give is stronger. A tight rhythm section from Cody Cox on drums and Elvis Kennedy on bass allows Lightnin Bill to cut loose and channel the spirits of Howlin Wolf, Jimi Hendrix and a slew of other great guitarist. - All Access Magazine

"Three To See"

Three To See
By In The Streets JD

This month is special because I am introducing two new columns. This being the second entitled “Three To See”. It is about three bands that you must check out. Bands that are making a difference right in your own backyard. You want the best well here it is. I will be bringing you these two new columns periodically

Lightnin Bill Woodcock
I saw Lightnin Bill Woodcock play at the Scene in Glendale recently and right away I notice a power trio with veteran members from other LA bands. Lightnin Bill himself is one of the most recognized figures in the scene today with his giant chops he's like a rock‘n wolverine, playing guitar for Miss Derringer, The Bourbon Saints, this band, and who knows how many other solo gigs he is doing on any given night. Mr. Elvis Kennedy on bass, also in The Bourbon Saints, The Shocker, etc..etc.. And Cody James on Drums, he is also a busy guy being in Miss Derringer, and I believe a few more projects. Their style is a heavy electric blues explosion with a dirty country swampabilly swagger. Do you remember when Pop Rocks and Coca Cola would blow your head off? Well Lightnin Bill does just that. They played a great homage to Jimmy Hendrix’s Voodoo Child except theirs is called Hoodoo Child that was amazing. With all these vets from notable bands you would think that these guys would be good… well your wrong... their between good and great. Solid playing and ass kick’n songs make Lightnin Bill Woodcock a good pick on any night of the week. This band is a serious contender for best new artist. They bring something different to the table. Thanks guys for mixing it up and making going to see bands fun!
- All Access Magazine

"Interview With The Bluest Psycho On Earth, Lightnin Woodcock"

Interview With The Bluest Psycho On Earth, Lightnin Woodcock
By Cass (23/07/2008)

One day I was browsing through Myspace looking for hot new bands to listen to and at about 3:30 in the morning I came across “Lightnin’ Woodcock”.

From the first track I was hooked.

I managed to get a hold of him in the middle of his busy schedule to get a quick interview and here is the carnage that ensued.

Cass: Hi Lightnin. Thanks for getting time to do this interview. Firstly, where did you grow up and what music did listen to when you were growing up?

LW: I'm American, from Northern California, but I mostly grew up in Germany, and also spent a couple of years down in Atlanta, Georgia. I saw my first two concerts in Atlanta, which were DEVO and AC/DC. Both bands had a major impact on me and inspired me to start playing music altogether. In Germany I fell in love with metal during the early 80's and went to every show I could, Motorhead, Priest, Dio, Maiden, Ozzy, all of them. I considered myself an aspiring metal shredder until I heard Stevie Ray Vaughan doing "Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)" on British Armed Forces Radio and spent the rest of my teenage years obsessed with Hendrix and SRV and trying to get a psycho-delic blues vibe of my own.

Cass: Where did the name come from?

LW: It's an abbreviated form of my name Lightnin' Bill Woodcock, which I was born with the last name Woodcock. Lightnin' is a fairly common blues nickname (Lightnin' Hopkins, Lightnin' Slim, etc.), which I adopted because I identify with Shango, the African orisha of lightning and fire. Plus they say my licks are lightnin' quick... and ladies, Lightnin' likes to lick it like I like it!

Cass: How and when did the band form?

LW: I did the initial recordings Aug/Sep 2006. My friends Brian and Cameron from a garage band called Two Mores were moving and had to disassemble an analog studio they had built in their garage. They wanted to record one last project before tearing it down, and I had the songs, but no band and no money to record (I really do have the motherfuckin' blues). I taught them the tunes in a few hours so they could back me up on bass and drums and Cameron also engineered it. We didn't have much time to rehearse or complete the recording, so we rushed it a bit and then they moved 300 miles away. Since Jan 2007 I have been playing the songs live with Cody James (ex-Final Conflict) and Ronnie "Elvis" James. I met them when I joined their respective bands, Miss Derringer and The Bourbon Saints, right around the same time I was doing the recordings. 5 months later when I started booking shows they both volunteered their services.

Cass: How did you get the fuckin’ awesome sound?

LW: It's the best I could do on short notice! We did the songs in a garage on an analog 8 track reel-to-reel, live as fuck and then I did a few guitar overdubs. Two Mores are a true garage band in every sense of the term, and they have that anti-production sound down to a science. I used a Gretsch Anniversary for all the rhythm tracks and a Fender Strat for a lot of the overdubs through a Full Tone Fat Boost pedal on the solos. Some of the vocals were sung through a bullet mic. I think the secret weapon was Cameron's sound, he had just got a Gibson SG bass that gave a testicular boost to the overall dirt factor. ...also we barely rehearsed at all...that helps, right?

Cass: It’s obvious that your music is heavily influenced by the blues but what psychobilly bands are you influenced by?

LW: Reverend Horton Heat has definitely been an inspiration, and I've always liked the Cramps, X, Misfits and Dead Kennedys, all the forefathers of the genre. Aren't they the same bands that influence all psychobilly bands, at least indirectly? Yeah, I'm definitely more influenced by old, old blues and early punk rock, I could go on forever about that stuff. I don't mean to sound weird, but most psychobilly doesn't have much influence on my writing... not as much as Howlin' Wolf or Muddy Waters does.

Cass: From the tracks on your Myspace it seems that you are a real Jekyll and Hyde band. You go from the deep soul churning blues tracks like "Can’t Be Satisfied" and "Smoochie Coochie Man" to the hard hittin’, fast paced psycho anthems like "Dark Fantasy" and "Cheatin’ Pig."
How does that go down at your live shows?

LW: Most of the stuff that comes off quieter in the recordings are generally more aggressive live. Like "Smoochie Coochie" was originally a rocker, and still is when we play it at shows. Anything quiet that I might do in the middle of a set should have an intensity and eerie quality about it, so that I usually don't lose people's attention. Plus Americans have extremely short attention spans... so a bit of variety seems to be generally well received. It's all the same shit, anyway, I'm either playing blues influenced punk or punk influenced blues, and some of it sounds suspiciously like psychobilly.

Cass: Have you released any albums? If not are you planning on releasing one soon?

LW: None yet, but soon, yes. I am currently working on the third Miss Derringer album called "Winter Hill" (see which is coming out early 2009. Sometime after that's in the can, I'm planning to record the debut Lightnin' Woodcock CD with Adam Fuller who recently worked on the newest Metallica recording. Adam recorded those acoustic songs for me at no charge because he knows I got the motherfucking blues. I also just did a harmonica track with him on the Bourbon Saints debut LP that he's recording. His band Bloodhook are a kickass rock band, check 'em out on myspace.

Cass: Where are you playing next and do you plan on playing Europe in the future?

LW: I have a few local LA/Hollywood spots I'll be playing before I do a quick tour up the west coast at the beginning of September. Miss Derringer has a European tour in the works for November '08 supporting a band called IAMX. I do want to bring this band Lightnin' Woodcock Trio to the UK and Europe as soon as I can. I've toyed with the idea of following in Hendrix's footsteps and flying over alone and getting a couple of English fuckers on board to tour the continent with. That would probably make it happen more quickly 'cause it's so damn expensive to fly these days. It would be much easier to get one guy plus gear over the ocean than three guys with band equipment.

Cass: Who, in your opinion, are the best bands on the scene?

LW: Like psychobilly-ish bands?
Throw Rag, Hank III, Hadacol Brothers (new band with Joe Buck and Sean Wheeler), Kill Kill Club, Lords of Altamont, Belle Bloodcreek, Th' Legendary Shack Shakers, Nekromantix, Chop Tops, Demented Are Go, Three Bad Jacks, Horror Pops, Zombats.

Cass: I have to ask…because I fuckin’ admire them…what’s with the mutton chops?

LW: I just read in a Canadian review that they are "disturbing" which made me happy. I thought, "Alright, it's working on the Canadians..." I dunno Cass, it's just something I did and it's kind of stuck, for now at least. I've been thinking about shaving off everything but the moustache, getting a real tight perm so I got a nice 'fro and devoting a year to composing my Disco Metal Opera. What do you think?

Cass: Finally, do you have anything to say to out psycho readers?

LW: Don't even THINK about doing a Disco Metal Opera, that's my idea you copycats! Also, if you play in a band, be sure to spend at least as much time practicing your instrument everyday as you spend blowdrying your hair and jerking off.

Cass: I have only been listening to your tracks for a few days but already you are my favourite band of the moment. It has been a pleasure interviewing you.

LW: Thanks Cass, that makes me feel good. It's been a pleasure for me as well.

My personal opinion is that this guy is something special.

If you like old skool blues and psychobilly you will fuckin' love Lightnin' Woodcock.

Here's hopin' that the album will be out sooner rather than later and that he will tour Europe in the near future.

Cheers for readin psychos!

Cass - Psychobilly Planet dot com


Still working on that hot first release.



Currently at a loss for words...