Greg Davis formed Blood on the Saddle in 1982. The twang-and-thrash band spearheaded the L.A.-based cowpunk scene that included Tex and the Horseheads, Gun Club, and Rank and File. “It’s safe to say Blood on the Saddle and the Hickoids both invented cowpunk independently,” says the singer-guitarist. “We opened for the Circle Jerks, Dwight Yoakam, Social Distortion, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Minutemen....” Singer-guitarist Annette Zilinskas, who was also Davis’s girlfriend, left the Bangles to front BOTS from ’83 to ’87.
The first six BOTS albums were released on labels such as Chameleon, Stiff, SST, and Kill Rock Stars. “We were provisionally signed to MCA in ’85, which meant we couldn’t do anything for six months, then after that they said, ‘Never mind.’”
After years of self-destruction and band-member overdoses, Davis has reformed the band. He just recorded his first new album in nine years at Tom Yearsley’s Thunderbird Analog Studio in Oceanside.
“I met everyone in my current band in AA,” says Davis, who now lives in Encinitas. “I met Robby [Tavares, bassist] because he was wearing a Vandals T-shirt. I told him I was in that band and toured with them in Europe in ’89. I was just a hired guitar gunslinger playing dumb punk-rock songs.”
Davis just started playing locally with the new lineup, which also includes drummer Eddie Rojas.
“The big joke was that if Greg Davis asks you to be his bass player, don’t say yes,” says Davis. “I had two bass players who died from an overdose. Twice I had to cancel gigs because my bass player died. I told the promoters, ‘They’re dead, what can I do?’ When I started getting my bandmates from AA, their survival rate went up.”
With six months of practice under their belts, Blood on the Saddle will appear February 12 at the Shakedown Bar in Loma Portal.