"Lightnin’ Hopkins meets Social Distortion,” is how Scottie Blinn describes his head-rush heartland music. “I call it ‘grease punk’: deeply rooted blues, with a lot of attitude that tells a good story.” Blinn first came to local prominence in the late ’80s while playing sideman to San Diego bluesman Tomcat Courtney. In 1992, he and drummer Tom Essa (Natasha’s Ghost) teamed up to form the Mississippi Mudsharks, frequently named Blues Band of the Year at the San Diego Music Awards.
The group had three European chart topping CDs on the CrossCut Records Blues Charts in the mid-’90s before breaking up in 1999, though the split didn’t turn out to be permanent (one shortlived incarnation as Mississippi Mud included former Social Distortion harmonica player Eric “Jailhouse” Von Herzen).
Blinn later formed the Tiki Torchers with former Hooters drummer Dave Uosikkinnen and bassist Tim Butler (Hot Rod Lincoln). In 2006, he was named in HARP magazine as a guitarist/vocalist to watch. He’s also been playing guitar for Punk Rods since 2005, and he owns Double Barrel Records, founded in 1998 and based in Lakeside, where he lives with his wife Roxanne and son Jackson.
His newest band, Black Market Baby, debuted this month, covering tunes by venerable old players such as Tom Waits, Hank Williams Sr., and Leadbelly. “We play hard-hitting soulful blues and American roots music,” says Blinn, “with reverence to all the original bluesmen and women.”
WHAT’S IN YOUR MUSIC PLAYER?
- Black Sabbath, Paranoid. “Amazing songs and tones.”
- Anson Funderburgh & the Rockets, Live at the Grand Emporium. “One of the tastiest blues guitarists of the past 30 years.”
- Jimmie Vaughan, Strange Pleasure. “It’s a masterful blues album by one of the best around.”
- ZZ Top, Rhythmeen, “Greasy, with huge tone and badass songs. Anyone who writes a song like ‘Vincent Price Blues’ just knows.”
- Social Distortion, Sex Love & Rock ‘n’ Roll. “Great songs and killer vocals, Ness and the band hit a home run with this one.”
MOST EMBARRASSING CD IN YOUR PLAYER?
“The Best of John Denver, but I’m not really embarrassed about that. His voice was angelic.”
“I kind of like my house. There are guitars, hot rods, a recording studio, a pool, a great view of El Capitan mountains, and a lot of open space.”
“Stevie Ray Vaughan at SDSU Open Air around 1986, when I was 16 years old. The Beat Farmers opened. Country Dick was in rare form, needless to say, and Joey Harris blew my mind with his vocals and guitar work. Stevie Ray just blew the doors off the place. When I recorded a record for Joey a couple years back, my mom said, ‘You’re not hanging out with those Beat Farmer boys, are you?!’ She’s since become a huge Joey Harris fan after meeting him and his beautiful family.”
LAST TIME YOU GOT FIRED?
“I fired myself from the Mudsharks in 1999 but rehired myself in 2006!”
FIRST TIME DRUNK?
“I remember it involved a lot of vomit and dirty pee pants. Fun stuff, huh? Amateur hour.”
“Have a killer conversation with Tom Waits.”
WHO SHOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE?
“Michael Madsen, kind of like how James Brolin played Pee-wee Herman at the end of Pee-wee’s Big Adventure.”
BRUSH WITH FAME?
“In 2004, my wife Roxanne and I were married in Antwerp, Belgium, by the famous New Orleans musician Dr. John.”
THREE THINGS WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?
- “I have a degree in psychology from the University of San Diego and worked as a residential supervisor in a group home for troubled teens.”
- “There are no mug shots of me in any country.”
- “A couple years back, I gave a friend the Heimlich maneuver and saved him from choking on a big piece of carne asada.” ■