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Clip: Bloodshot DVD celebrates label that's insurgent

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  • Carl Z.
    Bloodshot DVD celebrates label that s insurgent
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 9, 2006
      <http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/music/chi-0611070220nov07,1,3845949.story?coll=chi-ent_music-hed>

      Bloodshot DVD celebrates label that's insurgent

      By Louis R. Carlozo
      Tribune staff reporter
      Published November 7, 2006

      When Bloodshot Records embarked on a DVD to celebrate its 10th
      anniversary, little did anyone at the indie label know it would
      consume three years of time, hundreds of hours of unused footage and
      untold cigarettes and whiskey shots.

      "I defy you to try and make me do another DVD," says label co-owner
      Rob Miller, the proud-but-exhausted papa of "Bloodied But Unbowed:
      Bloodshot Records' Life in the Trenches" (Bloodshot, $20). "I
      double-dog dare you. Before I moved to Chicago, I was a writer -- so
      getting to write some of the documentary shorts was interesting. But
      sitting behind a camera and editing? Framing shots? It's so far beyond
      me."

      Despite Miller's disclaimer, the label that spawned "insurgent
      country" music -- and please don't think Garth Brooks, folks -- has
      assembled a small-screen juggernaut: three-plus hours of music
      (including 31 videos and live performances), documentaries, poster
      galleries and more.

      "I'm glad it took so long, because we came into some filmmakers who
      got some [amazing] stuff together," Miller says. "And once we had some
      professional film guys driving the agenda, they'll go to the last
      minute."

      "Bloodied" is an indie fan's jackpot, even for those new to the
      Bloodshot oeuvre. The lineup includes the Old 97s (playing at the
      defunct Lounge Ax) Jon Langford (in solo mode and leading the Waco
      Brothers), Bobbie Bare Jr. -- plus Kelly Hogan and Neko Case captured
      on the cult favorite cable dance show "Chic-A-Go-Go."

      "Most of these [artists] are having fun and not taking themselves too
      seriously, while often creating serious music," says Bloodshot
      co-owner Nan Warshaw. "On that Chic-A-Go-Go episode, Alejandro
      Escovedo is lip-syncing to Jon Langford vocals. And on the Neko song,
      Sally Timms is playing guitar -- but Sally doesn't play guitar and had
      no part of that [original] recording session."

      Bloodshot coined the term "insurgent" for the genre that mixes
      old-time country textures with punk-rock energy and attitude. But ask
      Warshaw about being a music pioneer and she's a reluctant
      self-promoter, at best: "I certainly don't think Bloodshot should take
      credit for creating that scene, but we did recognize something that
      was a movement, or part of indie rock. ... What we were doing was a
      reaction to the commercialization of country, and the cookie-cutter
      Nirvana ripoff bands being put out by the major labels. We were just
      looking for music that spoke to us and excited us, the way the punk
      bands did."

      Warshaw in turn singles out Langford -- the driving force behind the
      British punk band the Mekons -- as a guiding light to the label in its
      early years. But on this point, Langford sounds modest as well.

      "I didn't have a clue about it whatsoever," says Langford of
      insurgent's nascent days. "It was just this idea that punk music and
      country had a lot more in common than they probably realized. When
      Bloodshot started, the punk rockers had been at it for 20 years and
      were looking for something different -- folk music, roots music, you
      know? Country music could be something more than white-boy blues that
      was embarrassing.

      "Country music is alluding to this fantasy land with the Religious
      Right and apple pie and fireflies at sunset and driving our pickup
      trucks and thinking about God a lot," Langford adds. "It's like
      progressive rock taking a dive back into the elves and wizards: It's a
      Republican fantasy. So we would listen to the good stuff and try to
      rework it in some way."
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