AGRICULTURE CLUB with the BEGGARZ, the DC7 and MILLIONS OF CATS THAT TURN ON THEIR MASTERS at the 360 (326 Queen West) tonight (Thursday, April 17). $5. 416-593-0840. Rating: NNNNN
The Mullet is much maligned these days. A symbol of all that is bad taste in hairdos, the style has many a Web site dedicated to it. Check out www.mulletsgalore.com, www.mulletjunky.com and www.hotmullets.com. We hate 'em! But many of us used to have one, didn't we? I did. So, I'll bet, did Rubber Duck, guitarist and singer for western Canada cowpunk outfit Agriculture Club. I mean, c'mon, it's Alberta. I wanna know how much growing up in small-town Alberta resembles life as depicted in Fubar. Giver!
"It was a lot like that, yeah," says Duck on the horn from his travelling cowpunk van as the band sets out on tour. "I even had one of those hairdos. Who didn't have a mullet? But obviously, we weren't as stupid as those guys."
Well, yeah. That would be hard.
Growing up in western Canada, Duck and his pals were surrounded by country music. But when they passed puberty, they spat on the whole genre, as any good small-town teenager will do, and turned to Priest, Maiden and the like.
"All of us turned 16," says Duck, "and promptly rejected our parents' music."
Eventually, they turned back around to rediscover their country roots, but not before doing stints in regular indie bands.
"Me and Luther (Chickengravy, on drums, vocals), we used to be in a band, but they kicked me out. I was kind of an asshole. I wanted to do things like write songs and perform them. It was kind of a minor power struggle. This was originally a side project, but we decided to go with it because nobody else was doing what we were doing."
What they've done is mesh the country roots with the metal influence and added a nice dash of punk. I feel obliged to point out, though, that it's not exactly true that nobody else is doing it.
"But not in Alberta. There are a lot of rockabilly bands, but no real country punk where the guitars are loud and the drums are fast and there's a real country influence."
It works. The fuckin' funny, rawkin' debut album, Farmageddon, now with distribution by DOA Records, is pretty awesome. Dig the tunes about Cattle Ranch Girls and watching your ass in the prison shower (The Prison Song).
No, says Duck, he's never been to prison, but he still felt the album needed a prison song.
"I was arrested once and put behind bars while they got the fingerprint stuff ready. It was a marijuana charge, which I beat."
Dig also the Ballad Of Pilsner Beer -- "God loves the prairies and he always will. That's why God gave the prairies the Lethbridge Pil" -- a beverage probably only truly appreciated by Albertans. (See Fubar. Giver!) But suddenly I want one.
Then there's Take 'Em For A Walk Behind The Barn. That's what rednecks do with their beloved pets. They take 'em out "behind the barn" and shoot 'em. I have to ask if Duck has ever had to take anyone or anything out for such a walk. Yes, he says. His cat. I can't even imagine such a thing. That's what vets and needles are for.
"But it's not a song about shooting your pets," he clarifies. "If you listen to the lyrics you'll realize it's a shoot-your-woman song, placed in the context of a farming background."
Right, that's OK firstname.lastname@example.org