Local Rockers the Whiskey Daredevils Get Loud on Their New Album

Concert Preview

When the Cowslingers, a terrific local cowpunk act that picked up a bit of a national following during a decade-plus-long run, called it quits, singer Greg Miller assumed he was probably done with music. But when drummer Leo P. Love and Miller's bass-playing brother Ken came to him four months later and wanted to start a new band with guitarists Bobby Lanphier and David Bowling, he was into it. Though Lanphier, his brother Ken and Bowling have since left the group, the band, which formed in 2004, is still active and has just issued its ninth studio album, Nashville Surprise.

As the album’s title might suggest, the band went to Nashville to record the album. The Daredevils celebrate its release with a release party concert on Saturday at the Beachland. For the album, the band worked with producer Dexter Green (Derek Hoke, Collective Soul), who cut the tracks at his SeaLab Studios.

“It was cool,” says Miller when asked about the experience. “Dexter is a really good producer who has his own studio. We’re the only band in the planet that goes to Nashville and winds up making our loudest rock record. We should have had fiddles and mandolins on it. We banged the songs out live. They were songs we had written on the previous European tour.”

With bellowing vocals and twangy guitars, the songs successfully channel bands like the Blasters and the Beat Farmers. The album also shows off the fine playing of Gary Siperko, who joined the band when Lanphier moved to Nashville.

“The game plan is always to let Gary loose,” says Miller.” The best-case scenario is that you have a good hitter, you let him hit fourth. He’s like our clean up hitter. It’s good to put him in an environment where he can thrive.”

The group keeps a steady of schedule of gigs both in and out of town. In 2012, the guys drove down to Texas and back to play a showcase at SXSW with a bunch of Ohio bands. They toured Europe in 2013 and 2014, and they’ll return to Europe at the end of next month.

“It’s a quick one,” says Miller when asked about the European tour. “It’s only nine or ten shows. We go to Germany, Holland and Belgium. We’ve been fortunate enough that we carved out an idenfity for ourselves. No one else does what we do. There’s not a band that does this revved up country rock thing. There were never a ton of them. Now, it’s either a super alt-country band that doesn't have fun because they're serious singer-songwriters with beards. There’s the punk rock guys who found the upright bass and sing songs about zombies and go-gos. I’ve used the Grateful Dead line, but Jerry Garcia once said, ‘We’re like licorice. Not everyone likes it but the people who do really like us.’ I feel like that describes us.”
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Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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