Though singer-guitarist Lori S. started the stoner rock/doom metal band Acid King after moving from the Chicago suburbs to the Bay Area, her days in the Windy City’s 'burbs inspired the band’s 1999 album Busse Woods
. She took the title from a park where she and her friends used to hang out and blast heavy metal tunes.
Think Heavy Metal Parking Lot
meets Dazed and Confused
“We were bored teenagers who didn’t have anything to do,” says Lori S. via phone. The band brings its tour celebrating the album’s 20th anniversary to the Grog Shop
at 9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 27. “We hung out at different forest preserves. Back in those days, [the park] was one of the most notorious places. It’s supposed to be for families to picnic. It was full of people selling drugs — not heroin. It was Black Beauties and dimebags and nickelbags and speed. The whole parking lot was filled with people had their trunks open cranking Black Sabbath. It was a flea market of drugs. We hung out with this one guy who sold drugs, and we’d get stoned and play Frisbee. That’s what Busse Woods was about. I’m sure every kid had their version of that.”
Songs such as the sludge-y, Sabbath-derived "Electric Machine" and the desert rock anthem "Drive Fast Take Changes" certainly hearken back to that era. Lori S. says that as she began to assemble the songs for the album, she didn’t have “any big thing” in mind.
“It’s like whatever riffs are coming out of my head,” she says. “I usually don’t have anything specific in mind, even though on the last record, I wanted it to be more atmospheric. I wrote them organically as they came out. There wasn’t any theme or preconceived idea of what it should be.”
Revisiting the songs, Lori S. says she’s surprised they hold up as well as they do given they were recorded two decades ago.
Since the band is playing the album in its entirety, and it didn't play every song live when the disc came out, the tour will feature the live debut of “Carve the 5,” the one track on the album that the band has never played live.
“There are some songs I’ve written that I will never play again, but I was really happy with how the record came out,” says Lori S. “We’ve never played 'Carve the 5' before because it has this delay on there, and since I sing and play, I wasn’t confident in my ability to have that timing and singing. I just felt like I couldn’t pull it off live. I’m doing it now. I know how to do it now. I guess I could’ve done it then, but I’m very simplistic. I want a Marshall amp that has treble, bass, mid- and pre-. I don’t want 20 pedals with 10 pedal boards. I get overwhelmed with too much stuff when I play live. I don’t want things to go wrong.”
Lori S. says there’s event a “whole visual show” that goes with the concert she’s bringing to town.
“We’ll play the album, and we have another 20- to 30- minute set we’ll play if the audience wants more,” she says. “It depends on the temperature of the room.”
The temperature in the room should be high simply because of the band’s legacy. Not many acts ever pass the 20-year mark, and Acid King, which formed in 1993, just passed the 25-year mark.
The significance isn’t lost on Lori S., who admits the band has had a good amount of turnover during that time period.
“I’m the one who formed the band,” she says. “It’s my vision. It’s always been my project, and I still have riffs and songs to play. My well isn’t completely tapped out. I don’t write a lot of records because that’s not what I do. My motivation is that it’s nice to see this crowd has grown, and so many people are into this music now. It’s a fun time. Sleep is headlining 3,000-set venues, and Electric Wizard is popular too. It’s weird. We all used to play at the same place in front of 50 people. I’m not motivated by crowds, but it is fun to play to a whole group of people who never saw you before. Of course, I love to go to Europe and Australia. I’m very lucky, and people don’t get these opportunities in life. I’m cashing in on my rock ’n’ roll opportunities.”
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