Crack open a six pack and enjoy The Dirty Half Dozen (2013)
“We’re pretty much unbreakable.” says MF Ruckus bass player “Hulk” Logan O’Connor when describing the elements which make the band a family in his interview from their latest live album and DVD release The Dirty Half Dozen.
A lot can happen in 3 years, let alone 15.
From their humble beginnings in 1997 as the 3 chord drunk punk band Forth Yeer Freshman, to the brief interlude under the shortened name Forth Yeer (who do they think they are? Puff Daddy?), to finally landing on the name Motherfucking Ruckus (MF Ruckus in polite company), this ever rotating lineup of whiskey-rock-n-rollin’ man-children has, indeed, grown closer than any biological family could ever hope to. It’s not quite “the Brady Bunch with blowjobs” as guitarist and Chicago transplant Tony Lee “The Windy City Madman” puts it; this band has seen some hard times. A deadly heroin overdose, divorce, jail and even gender reassignment make up the bullet points of any MF Ruckus story telling session.
MF Ruckus and all of their preceding incarnations have often held a reputation for being one of the hardest partying, hardest working and hardest joking bands in Colorado and in much of the United States. Their latest release, The Dirty Half Dozen, captures what was arguably one of the band’s greatest eras. The idea for a live album and mini-documentary came in early 2011 shortly after a dramatic lineup change with the addition of guitar player Tony Lee. Tony had spent the last couple years in Denver surfing couches, shacking up with girls when he could, but mostly, writing songs with veteran member and the man who single handedly changed a silly punk rock band into a well-polished, bluesy Rock n Roll powerhouse, guitar player Tay Hamilton.
“We had trouble getting people to take us seriously” laments singer and founding member, Aaron Howell “but whenever people saw us play and partied with us afterwards, they would become lifelong fans nine times out of ten. That’s what we wanted to recreate. We wanted people to have the next best thing to hanging with us in real life.”
Thus began a 3 year process of live recordings, touring, fundraising and rebranding. There to document some of it was one of Colorado’s authorities on action sports video, Mike Peterson of SixEleven Productions. Mike joined the band for roughly a dozen tour dates capturing live performances and general shenanigans. After taping over 8 hours of individual and group interview footage, the long and tedious process of editing the footage down to one hour began. Mike took the footage of all twelve shows and, one cut at a time, synched them up with the soundtrack from the various shows on the live record. Layer upon layer upon layer of footage made for the greatest challenge he had ever encountered in all his years of video work. It was a far cry from filming snowboarders on a mountain all day.
During this time, two major events occurred within the band itself: First, after 7 years as the primary songwriter, chief motivating force and promotional juggernaut, lead guitarist Tay Hamilton left the band to pursue his latest project, Hot Apostles. Second, rhythm guitar player and funny man, Jerry Cass, announced the pregnancy of his girlfriend which would end his ability to tour indefinitely. In the long standing tradition of this dysfunctional family, however, the remaining members wished their brothers well and pushed onward hiring Outta Controllers guitar player and long time friend, Parker Clark-Whitton to fill some pretty big shoes.
“Hey Parker.” came the call from Aaron “Me and the boys were wondering if you wanted to try out for the band.”
“Try out?” Parker laughed “Who the fuck is my competition?”
MF Ruckus created quite a buzz in the summer of 2013 with their tour through the west coast, southwest, Texas and Oklahoma which had social media fans transfixed with their hilarious non-stop updates and Instagram photos. No matter who has played in MF Ruckus, there is one constant and that is the ability to have a damn good time.
The audio portion of The Dirty Half Dozen (Tracked, edited, mixed and mastered by Bart McCrorey of Motaland Studios) could easily stand on its own as a solid live Rock n Roll album. It delivers powerful, thunderous arena Rock reminiscent of Thin Lizzy’s “Live and Dangerous”, Ted Nugent’s “Double Live Gonzo” or Turbonegro’s “Darkness Forever”. The album also serves as a nod to the historical venues in which it was recorded including 3 Kings Tavern, The Gothic Theater, Herman’s Hideaway and more. The Dirty Half Dozen is not a reinvention of the wheel, it is simply an effort to preserve a certain type of Rock music which seems to be scattering to the cracks and crevices of popularity like roaches in a tenement kitchen when the lights are turned on. The only difference is these roaches hide from no man.
The Dirty Half Dozen is available at Wax Trax, Twist & Shout, Mutiny Information Café and online at iTunes and the band’s website www.mfruckus.com. Over the next 6 months, the boys will be working on two concurrent projects; a studio full length of new original material and a collection of cover songs by their friends’ bands around the country including All Bets on Death, Ese, The Von Ehrics and more.