Tag Archives: The Muggs

Under The Radar: Taildragger

I am not skeptical - this rocks!

I am not skeptical - this rocks!

I’ll admit that you can grab my attention with a witty band name or album title, and Taildragger hit both bulls-eyes with Skeptictank. Even better news? The band flat out smokes.

Taildragger the band (not to be confused with Taildragger the Chicago bluesman or Spokane’s fabulous Too Slim and the Taildraggers ) is a blues rock trio led by guitarist/drummer/vocalist Jon McGee. McGee is also a member of The Mighty Jeremiahs as is Taildragger bassist Mark Hendricks. On this album Rob Hulsman splits drum chores with McGee, and I believe Jon’s sister Sherri even whacks skins with them on occasion. Greg Martin smokes the axe on several tracks as well.

Skeptictank is a tour-de-force of swampy blues, stinging rock and even some countrified soul (think  the fringes of the Flying Burrito Brothers and Byrds, especially on “Mary Virginia” and “Believe”). But the bands that popped into my head most frequently were southern rockers Gov’t Mule and Lynyrd Skynyrd, Texas blues rockers like Stevie Ray Vaughn and ZZ Top and even Jo Jo Gunne and Irish legends Thin Lizzy. The latter comparison is likely due to the fluid bass playing (the band has the chops and the stones to cover John Entwistle’s “My Wife”!). I’d be remiss by not complimenting keyboard player Kevin McKendree, whose organ really adds a ton to the sound.

If you like classic 70’s boogie, greasy slide shuffles or high-charged power trio rock, you’ll find a lot to love here. I could drop a million more names from vets like The Rolling Stones to contemporaries like The Muggs, but it’s really this simple – classic American rock and roll played by grade-A musicians. I don’t know how I missed out on Taildragger for four years, but it’s discoveries like this that make me keep digging. I suggest you dive into this Kentucky magic  right away.

Taildragger’s MySpace page.

Hear clips from Skeptictank at CD BABY.

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Under The Radar: The Muggs

Rock didn't die. Not in Detroit, anyway.

Rock didn't die. Not in Detroit, anyway.

If you were wondering why no one seems to be carrying the torch for bands like Cactus and The James Gang and Humble Pie, you can stop. The Muggs play white-hot power trio blues rock like the aforementioned bands did; timeless riff-dominated, air-guitar, roll-down-the-window-and-blast-it glorious rock’n’roll…and they’re from Detroit, natch! But their brand of hard rock is an organic outgrowth from the classic origins, not an exhumation of days gone by. It’s somehow simultaneously fiery and tasty, subtle yet hammer headed. And my god, does it sound great when you play it loud.

(Hear some live Muggs from Can You Hear Me TV.)

The Muggs are a three-headed force of nature that share both musical and personal chemistry – the backstory to the band is as incredible as the music. Bass player Tony DiNardo suffered a severe stroke in 2001 that left him paralyzed on his right side and unable to speak. Unwilling to consider replacing him, his bandmates waited two years while he recovered and taught himself how to play the bass lines on a Fender Rhodes Mark 1 (and no, you can’t tell the difference). So now drummer Matt Rost locks down the groove with DiNardo once more, which frees up guitar monster Danny Methric (also the axeman for The Paybacks) so he can flat out wail. I could tell you their whole story, but why not  let the boys speak for themselves. 

They’ve won a slew of local awards, are getting great press and are building up a fanbase, but they probably have more fans in Europe than they do here in the States. Did we learn nothing from Jimi Hendrix? Apparently not…Mitch Ryder still lives and record in Germany because sometimes they just don’t get it over here. And no, they didn’t win The Next Great American Band contest – how could they? The Muggs play rock’n’roll music

The Muggs on MySpace.  Buy The Muggs and On With The Show.

The Muggs website is here. No, they are not the ugliest band in the world. Don’t make me name the band that is.




Filed under Features and Interviews, Music