VITAL STATISTICS: Based in Austin, Texas, the Livers were formed in 1990. Trio members hail originally from Stillwater, Oklahoma (Mark), Belton, Texas (Danny), and Austin (Ralph). “We don't want our birthdays printed, and that's all the explaining you get.”
MUSICAL INFLUENCES: Mexican accordion music, Stringbean, and the Raging Lamos.
Give the Stanley Brothers tattoos and thrash metal attitudes, and you just might end up with the Bad Livers. Bad Livers is a punk bluegrass trio consisting of Danny Barnes - formerly of the Barnburners and Killbilly - on banjo and vocals, Ralph White on fiddle and button accordion, and Mark Rubin - another Killbilly alumnus – on string bass and tuba. They play an acoustic bluegrass/old-timey mix with the energy and contrariety of a garage band. In addition to their own songs – written in the old speed metal/bluegrass tradition – they cover material from the Carter Family to Motorhead, from Flatt and Scruggs to Iggy Pop and the Stooges. “Fast speed metal, after all, is only a medium-tempo hoedown,” says Barnes. What sets these guys apart from many others who have forayed into the realm of style-melding is their clear respect and love for the traditional music which they incorporate into their sound.
Witness their CD art homages to the classic Folkways Records jacket design, and you'll get an idea of what we mean. The band has toured, on separate occasions, with Michelle Shocked and the Butthole Surfers.
Delusions of Banjer (1992, Quarterstick #14). Horses in the Mines (1994, Quarterstick #20) Dust on the Bible (reissued by Quarterstick on cassette, #22)