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Can we agree to like Southern Culture on the Skids for different reasons? I think we’ll have to. There’s an overriding country white-trashy rock appeal, the B52s-on-speed angle, and the rockabilly-surf attitude. Still others of us will be transported back to the safe harbors of our respective childhoods by those long SCOTS jams that are suggestive of the day when Canned Heat or the Doors or Creedence Clearwater Revival could riff for 20 minutes — or longer — on a single chord. SCOTS founding guitarist Rick Miller can do that. He never runs out of ideas.

There are only three of them, and as a band they are altogether funny and messy. I’ve never seen this happen, but I’ve known people in the audience who got pelted by fried chicken from the stage. I have no idea what that’s about, other than chicken somehow fits into their raunchy parody of all things trailer trash. SCOTS began in 1983 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Rick Miller started the group with a host of other players before finally trimming it down to himself and bassist Mary Huff and Rick Hartman on drums. But as tight as they are musically, I wonder, whenever they pass through town, why the band never got large fame.

Past Event

Southern Culture on the Skids and Secret Samurai

  • Friday, June 20, 2014, 8 p.m.
  • Casbah, 2501 Kettner Boulevard, San Diego
  • 21+ / $15

It’s not like they haven’t tried. SCOTS have been all over the late-night talk-show circuit, and many of their songs were licensed for film and television. Their record Dirt Track Date (1995) sold over a quarter-million copies, demonstrating that at least part of the band’s larger potential for fan appeal got lost in the distribution issues faced by the smaller indie record labels they were signed to prior to landing on a major-label subsidiary. Go back and listen to Too Much Pork for Just One Fork, released five years earlier, and tell me it isn’t the better record.

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