Punk is the new country is the new rock and roll for Drag the River.
Even though Jon Snodgrass and Chad Price both grew up in Missouri, it was Colorado that eventually brought the two together. In the mid-’90s, Price’s band, ALL, relocated to Fort Collins — where Snodgrass happened to be living at the time. (He was fronting a Headhunter Records trio called Armchair Martian.) Price frequented the record store where Snodgrass worked.
"Wichita Skyline/Not That Kind"
Drag the River at the Observatory in September of 2015
“We had a lot in common,” Snodgrass explained. “We went to a lot of the same punk shows. He told me he had these acoustic songs that didn’t really fit with ALL. I was, like, ‘I write everything on acoustic guitar. We should get together and play music.’”
Fast-forward to 2016, and the duo is about to hit the road for the 20th anniversary tour of their band Drag the River. The alt-country group is running strong, although the duo’s bodies may be a tad worse after two decades of wear. Snodgrass is going to be hitting the road fresh off a broken ankle, and Price is recovering from recent shoulder surgery.
“I am gonna try not to sit. If I have to sit, I have to sit, but I’m gonna do the shows. Worst-case scenario, I’ll be sitting in a chair and he’ll be standing and singing with a sling on. And I’ll be covering all the guitar. But, whatever, it’ll be fine,” Snodgrass said.
Yes, the show must go on. Even though Jon and Chad are known for often touring as a duo, this tour will be with a full band, in full action. Over the years, they have morphed from leaning heavily on country to relying more heavily on rock. This may be due to the fact that the project that started out as an escape from playing in punk bands no longer has those punk bands to escape to.
“It’s definitely changed. When Chad and I go out and play by ourselves, I take my electric guitar and Chad takes his acoustic guitar, but when the whole band goes out, we don’t even bring an acoustic guitar. We just play rock and roll. That’s definitely different. In the beginning, we both just liked to bang out the acoustic guitars and make a big, thick acoustic sound. We had a couple of songs that kind of rocked, but we sound more like Hüsker Dü than what we used to sound like,” Snodgrass said.
- Saturday, February 13, 2016, 8 p.m.
2501 Kettner Boulevard,
The group is also known for playing loose and extremely long sets, with plenty of audience requests honored. Perhaps too many, in some cases.
“Pete [Turner], the bartender at the Casbah, nicknamed us ‘Return of the King.’ He said we were as long as that movie — which is, like, three and a half hours long.”
Drag the River rolls into Casbah on Saturday, February 13.