Pure Country Gold
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Pure Country Gold

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Nitro-burnin’ cowpunk from out PDX way, slammin’ it in with two high-speed rock & roll burners that stay on the tolerable, noisy side of rockabilly to be enjoyable, and two good-time grungefied gutbombs. “You Got to Bro Up to Bro Down” and “The Boss” are going to be getting a lot of spins over here. Goofy, limber dashes to the finish line. Great little record here from a new band that’s got a lot of potential. Gold vinyl for the first hundred or so copies. - Dusted Magazine - Doug Mosurock


Toeing the line between last-call drunken rabblerousing and a fiery power-pop band nursed on bare-bones punk and garage rock, Pure Country Gold are a debaucherous duo who pride themselves on making a whole lot of glorious noise. Made up of thumping drummer Jake Welliver and howling frontman Petey Foss, the local twosome are celebrating the release of their latest slab of vinyl (titled P.C.G.E.P.) on Dirtnap spinoff label Green Noise Records. Foss took a moment to talk about their new EP, the band's upcoming trip to Minnesota for the Deep Blues Festival, and how a chocolate 7-inch just won't cut it.

MERCURY: The music of Pure Country Gold always seems to sound better on vinyl. As an artist do you have a preference of how your music is released?

FOSS: I don't understand why anybody would ever release something and not at least shoot for a vinyl release. In 10, 20, 50 years, somebody is going to find one of our records for a dollar at a yard sale, take it home, and hear our music with all them scratches and pops on it. That's an awesome thought. There ain't no yard sales on the interweb.

Tell me a little about the new 7-inch, P.C.G.E.P.

We had plans to do a pretty big tour this summer around that Deep Blues Fest and wanted to have something new to sell on the road. Ken [Cheppaikode] approached us about doing a single for his Green Noise label so we rushed to get it out before the tour. We're ready to do a full-length, but since our label, Empty, called it quits, we don't have anyone prodding us to get it done. We'll be going into the studio later in the summer and [will] hopefully find a label to put it out.

How do you think Pure Country Gold will go over at the Deep Blues Festival?

When we first got the invite I was a little hesitant because I don't consider us that "bluesy" and I'm a guy who kinda hates most of the two-piece Black Keys/Fat Possum wannabe bands out there, which we are sometimes unreasonably likened to. But there are lots of great acts playing the fest and the organizers are real passionate about what they're doing and I think our particular brand of bluesy awesomeness will make us stand out—if anybody actually shows up at noon to see us.

Recently a band pressed a (working) 7-inch on a slab of chocolate and I've heard of records made out of cardboard as well. If Pure Country Gold could press a record on any substance, what would it be?

A human skull. - Portland Mercury - Ezra Ace Caraeff



Patrick Foss makes a good point: "The local media likes to paint us as beer-swilling, dive-bar loitering plebeians," he writes in a recent email. He's right. (Granted, he later discussed this point with me as we swilled beer in a dive bar, but that is beside the point.) In the past I have personally used this paper to saddle his raucous musical outfit, Pure Country Gold, with such incendiary descriptors as "debaucherous," "last-call drunken rabblerousing," and "badassery." I stand by the latter (even if "badassery" is not really a word, per se), but Foss is right—Pure Country Gold has been musically typecast as troublemakers, a drink-you-under-the-table duo with little moral fortitude. For that, I offer my most sincere apologies.

In fact, Pure Country Gold—Foss on guitar and vocals, Jake Welliver on drums—are smarter than all that. While some bands approach music making as performers first, their own fandom a distant second, Foss is a music obsessive more than anything else. "I definitely think of myself as a fan first, because that's just the way it works." He continues, "I'm influenced by everything and I listen to everything."

Originally intended to be a larger vintage-sounding rhythm and blues act, complete with blaring horn section, Pure Country Gold could never get past the hurdle of finding a bass player, and killed that plan before ever recruiting their brass backing. "I really wanted this to be like an R&B revue," Foss says, before owning up to the reality that he's happy the way things are: "We never rule out bringing somebody in, but I think we're too lazy to make it happen."

With their R&B wings thus clipped, the band tumbled to earth with the more reckless sounds of no-frills punk, and the simplistic pleasures of squealing garage rock. With a ferocious backbeat established by Welliver, Foss assumes the role of the red-faced maniacal pitchman, delivering his raspy-voiced punk rock sermons in short blasts of deafening volume.

The Pure Country Gold noise traveled all the way to Oxford, Mississippi, where it caught the ear of Fat Possum Records' Bruce Watson, who drafted the band to record for his Big Legal Mess subsidiary label. The result of this is the band's forthcoming 7-inch slab—the artwork of which includes the presumably tongue-in-cheek tagline "arguably Portland's greatest bluesmen"—featuring their ode to Armageddon and domestic beer, "Yellow Bubbles," plus B-side track "Millionaire."

And while the band hasn't completely avoided the convenient call of compact discs, Foss acknowledges that when it comes to Pure Country Gold, and truly appreciating music, nothing topples king vinyl. "There's just more of a ritual about it. It makes listening to music not a secondary event." He adds, "It's more of a you-and-the-music thing. Instead of just throwing everything on random and just doing your thing, this requires your interaction." - Portland Mercury - Ezra Ace Caraeff


Every guy who has ever been to a show is well aware of the mysterious and beguiling charms of that girlthe one in the footlights, moving alone to the beat of the band. So when singer-guitarist Patrick Foss got together with longtime drummer pal Jake Welliver for their first-ever jam session, his appeal to inspiration was clear. "I told [Jake], 'Picture that girl dancing at the front of the stage,'" Foss recalls, "'and if you start playing something that's going to impress a guy, get it out of your headwe just want to keep that girl dancing.'" One year later and that girl dances at her own risk. Foss and Welliver's Pure Country Gold rolls with enough good-time, hard-shuffle exuberance to flatten a house party. And, as such, the band is currently the toast of the local garagey punk-rock community. Girls and guys are bobbing heads and tapping feet, trying to keep time while holding on to the floorlest they be blown away by PCG's wall of raw melody and rousing backbeat that create a momentum that threatens to topple itself. "I have to keep it in mind all the time to pull back," explains Welliver, a self-taught drummer well known for his continuing rhythmic work in aggro post-punkers Quarry to the War. "It's a bizarre challenge.... [Patrick's] half guitar player, half bass player, and I'm half drummer, half bass player.... There's nobody else there." Despite their Mutt-and-Jeff appearancesFoss the reserved yet affably worn cherub, Welliver the rabidly F-bomb-dropping beanpolethe men of PCG are remarkably in sync. Yet they dare to dream of someday expanding their lineup. Foss, who has been enjoying a renewed sense of songwriting freedom after the 2004 breakup of his former band, the High and the Mighty, sees horns, strings, and lots and lots of studio time in PCG's future. "This vision in my head is so mind-blowing," says Foss. However, both men are in agreement that Pure Country Gold "Phase One" is working, and to tinker with their obvious chemistry would require extreme caution. "It's really going good the way it is now," says Welliver. Foss agrees. "For someone to step in, it would have to be 150 percent perfect." Yes, it would. Because as far as that girl goes, Pure Country Gold has got her dancing. What else do they need? SAM SOULE - Willamette Week - Sam Soule


Who: Jake Welliver and Patrick "Petey" Foss

What: Filthy, loud garage rock

Sounds like: Chuck Berry guesting on a Dead Moon reunion tour.

Year formed: 2006

Most likely to be found: At the B Side or Billy Ray's, Hamm's tallboy in hand, or playing Slabtown and house parties.

Favorite Portland bands: Foss: Dead Moon. Welliver: "I think having a favorite band is stupid."

Who they would have voted for: The Eegos, SLiP iTS, Farmer's Almanac, Drunken Prayer, The Ones

Voter quote: "Pure Country Gold is so perfectly raw, electric and unpretentious that I actually witnessed a hipster take off his thrift-store sweater and flog himself with his white belt in shame at one of their live shows." —Matt Slessler, Pabst Blue Ribbon

At a Pure Country Gold show, you're hearing two men play songs that were originally conceived for a full R&B revue with a horn section: "We had no intention of being a two-piece," says guitarist Patrick "Petey" Foss over beers at Billy Ray's, where he met drummer Jake Welliver about five years ago. The original idea was a big band, but since they hadn't had any luck filling out the lineup after a year in the garage, Foss and Welliver went ahead and played their first show last year as a duo. It turned out there wasn't all that much to fill in. A mechanic by day, 30-year-old Welliver has big hands, big arms and a huge drum sound (downright deafening at a house show), and Foss' muddy guitar can emulate a train engine or pass out sweet, hip-swayin' leads, sometimes simultaneously.

"That's what we're all about," says Welliver, "creating dynamic musical landscapes." Then he and Foss crack up. See, PCG is on the juke at Slabtown and the B Side for a reason. "I don't much like stayin' at home," explains Welliver. Foss adds, "I like to go to a place where I can spit on the floor and be comfortable about it." And the loud, upbeat rock 'n' roll Pure Country Gold plays epitomizes just that. JASON SIMMS. - Willamette Week - Jason Simms


Like a tire iron to the temple, Portland's Pure Country Gold cranks up the crud and assaults the senses with sick, guttural garage rock the makes The White Stripes sound like The Moody Blues. The drums-and-guitar duo of Jake Welliver and Patrick "Petey" Foss have more up their sleeves than Gories-style scuzz, though: Live, the twosome has been known to do a blistering yet faithfully tuneful cover of Elvis Costello's "No Action." The operative word here is "fun." (Okay, and "drunk.") - The Onion


Portland's awesome Pure Country Gold add a little Modern Lovers-like croon to the garage mold. - San Diego CityBeat


This Saturday in Vancouver at Pub 340, Pure Country Gold will be making a stop before they embark on their West Coast tour in early September, which starts in their hometown of Portland at the MusicfestNW including an appearance with Roky Erickson. Playing the sort of loose cannon R&B that's impossible not to shake your pooper to, this drum and guitar duo have stripped it down to the essentials, leaving an exoskeleton of pure down-and-dirty party music. Proving further that it's easier to party without a bass player just as we learned from The Gories and Oblivians in the 90s, Pure County Gold rely on the soulful staple of bottom-line rock'n'roll. The singer/guitarist, Pat Foss (who also played guitar in The Silverkings), throws down a billowing vocal style that comes off as wise as whiskey. Their debut album that appeared earlier this year on Empty Records created a ripple in this new world of glue-wave, weirdo-synth, and lilting power pop, establishing that it's still okay to let loose and get sloppy. You can still pick up their debut LP, and their newest single on Shake Appeal. - Victim of Time


Most of the promos I get are horseshit, but the good shit rises to the top, starting with the CD by Pure Country Gold (on eMpTy Records). I wasn't sure what to expect with this one, thinking I got some country in the mail. It ain't country, but rather stripped-down, lo-fi rock and roll that's got elements of psychobilly but without the cheesy comic-book posturing. It's also heavily rooted in stuff like Dave Allen and the Arrows. The songs are up-tempo, the vocals have that old-style microphone sound, and the shit just plain rocks. It's like a whole album of New Bomb Turks' "Last Lost Fight," and that's a good thing.
-Wez Lundry. - Thrasher Magazine


Pure Country Gold has a backbeat; you can't lose it. Fueled by mostly drums 'n' guitar, this duo plays high-speed, crunchy, foot-stompin' garage rock that pays as much homage to Chuck Berry as it does to Dead Moon. The thing these dirty roots rockers need to watch out for, though, is trying to overcompensate for their lack of band members with volume. Sure, we all like loud, distorted power chords, but we wanna hear what Petey & Beefjake have to say, too, because something tells me - maybe it's the photos on the band's MySpace - that these guys have a sense of humor. - Amy McCullough


Discography

- Yellow Bubbles b/w Millionaire 7" released on Fat Possum/Big Legal Mess Records January 2009

- P.C.G.E.P. 7" released on Dirtnap/Green Noise Records July 2008

- Setting Sun b/w Everybody's Wrong 7" single released on Shake Appeal Records May 2007.

- Pure Country Gold CD/LP released on Empty Records January 2007.

Photos

Bio

Patrick Foss and Jake Welliver started drinking and playing music together sometime in 2005. They set out to find others for a larger ensemble and began writing songs that would make people dance and impress women. After a few months and no luck finding suitable partners, they were getting bored and decided to get out of the basement and go at it as a duo. The two of them created a big sound on their own and crowds of Northwest funsters soon came out to party along with PCG's wall of raw melody and rousing backbeat. They talked Empty Records into putting out an album and their self-titled debut was released in January '07 to rave reviews. Their "Setting Sun" single on Shake Appeal Records was released in May '07 and shortly after the band was named in a poll conducted by the Willamette Week newspaper as one of the top ten best new bands in Portland. The duo made an appearance at the Deep Blues Festival in Minneapolis in 2008 where they impressed Fat Possum's Bruce Watson enough that he released their 'Yellow Bubbles' single on his Big Legal Mess Imprint. A full length album is in the works and the band is currently scheduling more tour dates for 2009.