Friday, December 15, 2006

The Life and Death of Drunk and Furious: Unauthorized and Unleashed

Wick "Biscuit" Cauthorn 1977-2006 R.I.P.

I must for this post turn my attention state side, because Today in the little Town of Athens, Georgia. A band died. A new maturity level has been reached in the Classic City, and the members hammered the final nails in the coffin today. But as with all tales we must start at the beginning.

Drunk and Furious all started in a bottle of Whiskey. Many critics have argued over exactly what type of whiskey. The is a large number that claim that it was most definitely a bottle of Wild Turkey as it was apt to be around at that time in the careers of the five young gentlemen who were to form the band. I however ascribe to the theory that its was something of lesser quality, something with more grit, more raw emotion due to its tendency to burn the lining out of the esophagus. I personally think it was the Evan Williams in the green bottle.

The original members of the band were (the names have been changed to protect the innocent): Wick (vocals), Will (guitar and vocals), Rupp (Banjo and vocals), PJ (guitar, kazoo, vocals), and Drew (maracas and vocals). All of these members drank for the same putrid bottle of whiskey. All were drunk all were furious and it was good.

After many impromptu sessions the band was booked for their first show by John "The Greaseball" Nijawin at JRs Bait Shack. The band arrived early for a show that was in the upstairs bar which was empty while they set up. The first of their rock star tendencies was to go behind the bar and to begin to pour themselves drinks. All were drunk all were furious and it was good. They then played the set barely able to stand or hear themselves. The crowd seemed to like it, even the girls sang along with "Two Black Eyes," a postmodern piece about the fragmentated existence of man and wife. They also unleashed their hit single "Tijuana Rose" for the first time. The maracas whipped the crowd into and Orphic frenzy.

Soon, after this the band became associated with D.T.'s Downunder. They became more or less the house band (more in their eyes, and less in DT's eyes). They played a series of shows there that has been likened to the Grateful Dead's 1980 Summer Run. One critic was noted as saying. "It was a completely existential experience. One could not deny the raw energy that was felt on the stage. The more furious the crowd got the drunker the band got. It was a pure experience of two groups challenging each other to make the nest move. Drunk and Furious always made the next move." The band during this era debuted the vocally complex "She Wet the Bed," a song which addressed a fear that lurks within all of our hearts.

The band's direction at this time was steered by three main factors. First, Drew left the band. To this day it is unclear why, he just didn't go to the stage one evening. Second, to fill the new gap, the band associated with Downtown Calvin. A likeminded songwriter, who brought such musical triumphs as "Swamp Kitty" and "The Creepy Crabby Crawlies." The influence of this musician should not be underrated and Calvin became an intinerate singer with the band, much like DJ Logic's role with Medeski Martin and Wood. Finally, the band decided to get back to their roots and began to spend time at a trailer in the country where they sought out bucolic Georgia as inspiration for their everwidening tastes in music. For example this led to the melding of country life with traditional Chinese music in their song "Asian Persuasion."

The next momentous thing was when they won to Flagpole Music Awards. They were awarded as best roots rock band and also as best up and coming band. All were drunk all were furious and it was good. There has been some debate as to whether these awards were rightfully earned. It should be cleared up for the sake of historical fact, that every voted that was counted for them was cast for them. These winning moments were followed up by a string of shows at Athens' Tasty World.

The good times were not to last as a member would soon be pushed from the fold. PJ would soon leave the band. There are competing claims as to why. He has always maintained that the band took the Syd Barrett approach and failed to notify him of upcoming shows. The bands official stance was that a Yoko Ono type influence forced him to leave. This commentator shall not enter into speculation.

The band then released their first and only album, the critically acclaimed Acoholyspe Now. In the words of the Rolling Stone Critic: "This is Rawk. To think that the South gave us both moonshine and this underground phenomena befuddles the mind. Drunk and Furious is the next revolution in music: mature immaturity. Not since Copeland walked onto the scene have we heard music like this. Its like that mythical David Allen Coe album that no one owns, but we seem to all know someone that does, mixed with the angst of the Sex Pistols, and the art rock influences of Emerson, Lake and Palmer." [editor's note: This review was never printed in Rolling Stone due to the reviewer's tardiness in turning in the copy, but he went to a show to see the band and found himself in a weeklong bender.]

Soon after this release the band's personnel would get shaken up again. This time it was Rupp would left the band. He left to pursue a career in jailing people like himself. Also, Calvin by this time had broken his ties with the band and floated back off into that mysterious haze of women that he floated out of. Luckily the band had been throughout all of this been the developing the Drunk and Furious Orchestra, which was a full on rhythm section. They at this point, developed a heavier more complex sound and were playing regular shows at Last Call. There was new anger in the music during this period, this has been attributed to the skunky and mislabeled beer at Last Call (much like fermented bread has been blamed on the witch scare in Salem). This commentator's facts are somewhat incomplete during this phase of the band as he was studying the blues in Mississippi.

One strange sidenote is that a cover band played a one night stint in Cambridge, England under the name Drunken Furious. It ended with the lead singer telling the crowd that in they didn't know the song "Suck my !&@*%" then they were probably all a bunch of Communists.

But, back to today, and the real subject of this little walk through history lane. Drunk and Furious touring schedule has waned significantly and sources close to the band have stated that the band is all but done. Still though many of their most ardent fans held on to the idea that they would have a resurgence. Today, December 15, 2006, I can assure you Drunk and Furious is no more to the death of Singer Wick "Biscuit" Cauthorn. Today, he finishes a decade long career in search of the most complete English BA ever, and as he moves that tassel across he will die and Wickliffe J. Cauthorn will be born.

What does this have to do with Drunk and Furious? Its quite simple really. The new found maturity level Mr. Cauthorn would give the whole band a hollow sound. He would know in his heart that a man of his stature should be playing special candlelit shows and singing such classic hits as John Secada's "Do You Believe In Us" or The Eagles "Love Will Keep Us Alive." Elvis never went back, and neither can Wickliffe. Like a fine wine he has matured into a new sort of singer. The other musicians in the band won't be left in the cold though, they are all involved in side projects, and the no that they can't stop this butterfly like metamorphosis from happening. As Will said when questioned about the experience: "Our little Tyke is all grown up now."