More bands should study the elegant, almost neoclassically refined career arc of Slobberbone. The flight path goes like this: drink beer, play for your friends, take your name from a porch dog's chew toy, tour, rock, tour and above all else, rock. The Denton, Texas, foursome of songwriter and singer Brent Best, guitarist Jess Barr, drummer Tony Harper and bassist Brian Lane put together an improbable ten-year run of unhinged, cocksure, strangely poetic country- and punk-influenced rock & roll, with songs that veered from trailer-park noir to apocalyptic warnings.
After playing what was to be its final show in 2004, the band has recently welcomed back Brian Lane, the tallest bass player in rock & roll, and is picking up where it left off: shredding speakers and Americana preconceptions in any bar that will have them. From his home in Denton, Texas, Best picked a 'Bone with B-Sides.
B-Sides: Slobberbone has re-formed. Is this your attempt to divert attention from the blink-182 reunion tour?
Brent Best: Is there a blink-182 reunion? Oh my God! I need to call my booking guy. I don't want to interfere.
If only it were that easy. This is, what, the first Slobberbone tour in five years? How did you talk Brian back into the band?
Brian was back in Texas earlier this year, so just for fun we booked a couple of shows in Dallas. They were really fun. Turns out he moved back about two months ago or whatever. He's just finding his feet again, doesn't want to get a job, and we all understand that. So we thought it would be fun to book a tour.
I was trying to picture the lawyer-fest: Your suits going up against Brian's suits, and then the label suits, back and forth.
Yeah, well, we don't really work that way. What we do is get together out in the country where I live and have one massive BB gun fight. Whoever scores the highest decides what to do.
Where was Brian living?
He'd moved to Clearwater, Florida. He moved there before Slobberbone was done. There's a lady he met while we were touring who became his wife. He got married, now he's no longer married, and now he's back. It was a little Florida sabbatical.
I think some might say, "OK, why did the 'Bone call things off in 2004? Brian is just the bass player."
Yeah, but we were never that way. Slobberbone started as a joke, really. By the time it was the version most people knew, it had become something much more for us. That was mid-'90s. We didn't have the expectations that most bands [have] who tour as much as we did. It was just a rolling clubhouse for us. The further it went we enjoyed it on a different level because of that. What tore us down in the end was losing sight of that. I don't think we had the requisite mentality to handle things on a bigger level. We always knew that Slobberbone was the four of us, so it feels good to be back in a room together. I don't think that would have been possible if we had jettisoned somebody along the way.
Slobberbone is a band, as opposed to the guys who play your songs.
When we started out, none of us were massive players or talents. Whatever we had was bigger than the sum of our parts. It would have been cynical to think we could just replace someone and move on.
Is there a new record in the works?
I don't know. Maybe. We try not to plan too much. We're going to tour and see if we like it. That was part and parcel of the headaches of the last year for Slobberbone. Everything had been mapped out for the next two years. That just didn't make a lot of sense for us. We were an of-the-moment band, maybe two months at a time at most. We're not too keen on getting into that situation again.