The Von Ehrics

Artist / Band / Musician
Country / Punk / Rock
Rocket 13 Records
You know the adage that some things get better with age? Lately, it's resonating like a heavy dose of metal-amp feedback for this Texas punkabilly act. The Von Ehrics want to slow down just a little bit with their latest release, Two Foot Stomp, but the music won't let them.

The Von Ehrics namesake is derived from a local and infamous family of five wrestling brothers, four of which died tragically one after another throughout the eighties and early nineties. Armed with their punk ethos, however, the band intends to shatter any curse on their own longevity.
The Von Ehrics self-released The Von Ehrics Four Song EP in 2001 and Damn Fine Drunks in 2003 before signing to a label. They went on to release critically-acclaimed The Whiskey Sessions for Rocket 13 Records in 2006 (in which the band toured for two years in support of) and Loaded for Crustacean in 2009. Two Foot Stomp is their fourth full-length album and it releases on April 19th via Lucky Buck Records. All together their catalogue of songs represents a collection of bastard children gathered in different ports and inspired by whiskey in equal proportions. They are also, as expected, all from different daddies: Lemmy, Steve Earle, Bob Mould and Greg Ginn, just to name a few.

"For the first time in our history as a band, we really took our time to make the record we wanted to make." says front man Robert Jason Vandygriff. "It's something we've never really done before because we've always been on the road."
Unlike whiskey, time has truly been a rare commodity for the band since forming in 2000. The Von Ehrics are consummate tour horses. It raised them into the seasoned musicians they are today. Unfortunately it left little room for anything else. So, the band slowed down, and pulled off to the side of the road for Two Foot Stomp, making it the only album the band hasn't written or recorded in any part while touring.
It's that work ethic and relentless touring schedule that built them a solid following throughout the U.S. The band has shared bills with a litany of artists like The Riverboat Gamblers, Reverend Horton Heat, Mudhoney, Billy Joe Shaver, GBH, Supersuckers, Dale Watson and Old 97's, among many others.
Vandygriff notes, "This process was far more collaborative than any other record in the history of the band too." He attributes it to the band's new line-up.
One of the Von Ehrics' founding members and bass player, Jeffery Wayne Mosley, left the band in late 2009. Shortly thereafter, Paul "Santi" Vaden (Ghoultown) would become The Von Ehrics' permanent bass player. The band further bolstered the line-up with longtime friend and "honorary" fourth member, Clayton Mills (Dixie Witch, Riverboat Gamblers) joining the group as lead guitarist.
The foundation for Two Foot Stomp took form in February of 2010. The guys set up shop in Denton, Texas writing and rehearsing almost nonstop for seven months prior to entering the Echo Lab Studios with Dave Willingham (Polyphonic Spree, Earl Harvin Trio) in September.
"By the time we met with Dave in September, we already had a very cogent idea of what we wanted this record to sound like," says Vandygriff.
That vision included traditional gospel and country song structures with their signature super-up-tempo Mould-like guitar lines but with soulful vocals. Defined by themes of time, mortality, and simply living, Two Foot Stomp's simple but detailed arrangements reflect what Vandygriff describes as "well-thought out, authentic and true to what people expect at our live shows."
"Perhaps we are growing up a little," says Vandygriff. "Ten years ago, I don't think I would have ever agreed to an acoustic guitar on any of our recordings….but it actually works on a song like Downtown."
The band also invited the gospel choir the Friendly Five of Denton, Texas to add vocals tracks on Lord, I Pray.
"It was interesting because you had these five black guys ranging in age from their 30's to their 60's double- tracking gospel callbacks in a punk setting. But they knew exactly what to do. They got it immediately. One of them said, 'This is just old time gospel with a lot of guitars'. It was a good time needless to say," laughs Vandygriff.
Throughout the recording of Two Foot Stomp, the band played a number of local shows under assumed names to make sure that the songs would translate into their legendary live performances. "That's when guitars got louder and tempo got faster. It's where we cut changes that were boring or didn't flow. That was a crucial part of the creative process for us," he adds.
The recorded crowd vocals on Texas (When I Die) happened when a bar manager bought two bottles of whiskey to ensure that everyone who participated got a shot. Proof positive that The Von Ehrics may be growing up, but they are still the same band for which they've become known.
Two Foot Stomp will be released on April 19, 2011 via Lucky Buck Records and the band will be touring to support it. The Von Ehrics are Gabe Aguilar on drums, Clayton Mills on lead guitar, Paul "Santi" Vaden on bass and Robert Jason Vandygriff on guitars and vocals.
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