Bobby Bare Jr.
The Stone Mug
Thursday, Feb. 16
"It's all just stuff I had sitting around." Bobby Bare Jr. is telling me about his new live album, Nick Nacks & Paddy Whacks. Compiled from performances in Chicago, Seattle and Amsterdam, Nick Nacks finally gives the monster that is Bobby Bare Jr. live a window upon the world. "I was just going to release it to the fans," Bare Jr. continues, "but everybody keeps telling me how good it is, so now I'm thinking I may just have to find a label to release it."
Speaking from his Nashville home, Bobby Bare Jr. sounds rested, a little restless and ready to rock. 2005 saw Bare Jr. contributing to Frank Black's eminent follow-up to Honeycomb, and also on The Silver Jews newest offering, Tanglewood Numbers, alongside Pavement's Stephen Malkmus and Bob Nastovich. If that wasn't enough, he also co-produced His Dad's latest record, The Moon was Blue.
"This year," Bare Jr. chuckles, "I'm going to work on me."
After ditching his major label rock star vehicle, Bare Jr. has been shuffling a revolving door of musicians through his Young Criminals' Starvation League project. Moving from the rockier fare of his earlier stuff, YCSL has allowed Bare Jr. to stretch out and explore different pastures, particularly on stellar tracks like "Flat Chested Girl from Maynardville," "The Terrible Sunrise" and "Monk in the Disco." Bare Jr. once told me, "I like to keep the background changing so the focus stays on me." And indeed, it does bring a singular presence to the band.
In the number of times I've seen the band, there's been a different lineup at just about every performance, but happily, Bobby Bare Jr. brings along Grimey, his guitarist in the band Bare Jr., and Duane Dennison, the guitarist on his second album, From the End of Your Lease. The presence of Grimey insures a loose and energetic set and, given the history between the two, promises a few surprises, which has included run-throughs of Bare Jr. nuggets and a blasting of "C'mon Feel the Noize."
Bare Jr. will take another version of the Young Criminals' Starvation League into the studio to record its third album. Among those coming through the revolving door this time will be Carl Broemel from My Morning Jacket. "He lives about a mile away, we toured together a lot when he was in Old Pike," Bare Jr. says. When I ask him if he feels like he's a part of a new Southern rock renaissance that includes Kings of Leon and My Morning Jacket, Bare Jr. exclaims, "Well, we've always had the best music in the South. I don't think that's anything new."
It's going to be an experience to see Bobby Bare Jr. do his live staple, "Motherfucker," within the confines of The Stone Mug (6525 N. College Ave., 317-251-6985). Which, along with the Alley Cat, may just be the last, best hope for rock and roll in Broad Ripple proper. A Thursday night gig with one of the South's emerging stars in the only biker bar in Broad Ripple. Add in lots of liquor. How can you go wrong with that?