Bass Drum of Death is a Mississippi garage rock band, a duo. In fact, in the beginning it was just John Barrett, who, not unlike Tim Lowman (a local guitarist who performs as Low Volts), played guitar and sang and kicked hell out of a bass drum. Colin Sneed joined Barrett in 2008, on an instrument he’d never really played much before: the drums. To this day, Sneed plays with a combination of percussive fever and timing issues. His sticks land just slightly ahead of the beat, adding to the dyslexic feel of Bass Drum of Death. Their debut CD, GB, was released last year on Fat Possum, a label that Barrett had worked for at one time. GB is a ream of sleazy lyrics set to a sonic wash of the ’60s on overdrive. The Seeds, Them, the Standells, and the Electric Prunes worked out all of the best guitar patterns long before Barrett was even born. And, like the lost scenes from Blue Velvet that have recently been unearthed, Barrett’s music adds little to the body of ’60s attitude. But, no matter. Listeners have responded in kind to BDD’s loudness. One poetic reviewer called “every cut a bowel-bouncer.”
John Barrett remains the band’s architect; Sneed punctuates his sentences. Fans and critics alike often ascribe deeper meaning to this band possibly because they aren’t used to the sounds of the social disenfranchisement that stained the 1960s. But there really is no deeper meaning to Bass Drum of Death. In Barrett’s press release, he writes, “The songs are about drugs, trying to make it with religious girls, panic attacks, stealing stuff, mild to severe depression, Elvis appearing in your dreams and giving you advice, gravity bongs, and the devil living inside your brain.” Even that may be a stretch. I hear two Southern stoners who figured out how to make noise and good times.
DZ Deathrays and Wild Wild Wets also perform.
Bass Drum of Death: Soda Bar, Saturday, July 7, 9 p.m. 619-225-7224 $8–$10