Patrick Conway gave up on punk for the simple country life.
“It had become too macho and hyper-misogynistic and just seemed like it was more about who could be the toughest in the pit while having the cutest haircut and who could hate their ex-girlfriend the most,” recalls Patrick Conway regarding the hardcore scene of the early 2000s, during a smoke break between mixing sound and bartending at the Tin Can Ale House.
This dissatisfaction was one of the driving forces that led Conway to country music, and it turned out he wasn’t alone. A year after the breakup of his vegan hardcore band Tomora, Conway and his ex-bandmate Mike Pope ran into each other only to find they had followed similar paths. Conway was playing country in the Western Set, while Pope was playing Bluegrass in the Bible Brothers.
There were enough likeminded individuals to start the San Diego Country Club, which was a rotating house-show get-together. The San Diego Country Club eventually became the Tin Can Country Club, coined by Pope, and has been occurring weekly at the Tin Can Alehouse since September of 2012. The event consists of a feature performer and a sign-up list, although it is far from an open-mic night. The priority goes to the original Country Club members.
“What we’re doing is most similar to outlaw country — it’s not Nashville,” says Drew Douglas, who serves as the ringleader of a related monthly event at the Whistle Stop called Grampa Drew’s Flim Flam Review, which began in January of 2014.
- Friday, May 2, 2014, 8 p.m.
2501 Kettner Boulevard,
$5 - $10
The Flim Flam Review consists of more duets, trios, spontaneous harmonica solos, and backing harmonies, whereas the Tin Can Country Club is more of a “guitar pull,” where musicians mostly take turns with a single guitar — a tradition that has its roots in the South, explains Grampa Drew, who often peppers the crowd with playful foul-mouthed banter between introducing artists.
- Monday, May 5, 2014, 8 p.m.
1863 Fifth Avenue,
Sparking the interest of Tim Mays, Grampa Drew’s Flim Flam Review graduated to the Casbah and saw 19 performers in different configurations in front of a nearly sold-out crowd at their first Casbah event on March 15 of this year, with a second scheduled for May 2.
- Saturday, May 10, 2014, 5 p.m.
Whistle Stop Bar,
2236 Fern Street,
The Country Club released a compilation record, limited to 100 copies with no digital version available at the time of writing this article, and no plans for a repress. They do, however, plan to release a second record this year.
The Tin Can Country Club happens every Monday night at the Tin Can Ale House.
Grampa Drew’s Flim Flam Review happens the second Saturday of every month (during happy hour) at the Whistle Stop.