Wednesday, June 08, 2011

10 Questions with Shilo Brown (of Bloody Ol Mule & Devil Christ)

Shilo Brown is a singer songwriter extraordinaire hailing from Grady County, OK.  Currently he is involved making music in the Honky Tonk one-man band Bloody Ol Mule and the blues duo Devil Christ. 

I first met Shilo Brown sometime in ’97 or ’98 while I was putting out the zine Caught Off Guard. AT the time I had issues available at Kaleidoscope Video on SW 59th in OKC and one of the great folks that worked there told me that Shilo had taken a few copies for his bookstore Book Beat & Co. which just so happened to be right down the road. I headed over and have been friends with Shilo since. Book Beat was an excellent bookstore—kind of a mom and pop, counter culture Borders—and I’m hoping to see its doors reopen soon. Besides writing music, Shilo has been known to write poetry and short stories and is incredibly well read.

This interview was conducted via Facebook May 31 – June 8, 2011.

For more information on Shilo Brown and his various projects checkout out his Facebook (personal), Facebook (Bloody Ol Mule), MySpace (Bloody Ol Mule), ReverbNation (Bloody Ol Mule), and (Bloody Ol Mule) pages.

Dave: When did you start playing and writing music?

Shilo Brown: I started playing guitar at the age of 15. I started writing songs sometime around the same age. I’d already been writing stories, poems etc. but once I picked up the guitar I wanted to add music to the words I was writing. The first song I remember actually writing, and putting music to was this piece I’d written during some class during school heavily influenced on what I was listening to at the time which was a whole lot of Slayer, early Metallica, and Peace Sells by Megadeath.

Dave:  You have a new CD/DVD coming out.  What’s the story behind the release? 

Shilo: The new release is an EP called THIS MULE GONNA KICK YOUR HEAD IN: THE HELLBENT HONKY TONKY STOMP HILLBILLY BLUES ONE-MAN-BAND EP consisting of 6 songs that my good friend Will Haney (Willie V.) recorded during one evening in my bookstore sometime around November of 2009. They were originally intended for a split release with Will that for some reason just never seemed to birth. So, I thought the recordings sounded too good to just leave them sitting in a box untouched. I’ve also included a live DVD Bloody Ol Mule show, live at The Blue Bonnet Bar in Norman, something for all those out there who have been asking for a live DVD show for so long now, and I’ve finally decided to answer their request. I’m only releasing 100 copies of this set, they’ll also be signed, and numbered..

Dave: You’ve been involved with multiple musical projects over the years. When writing do you think to yourself “okay this one is perfect for ”? Do you have any specific type of writing process? Do you consciously write differently for Bloody Ol Mule than for Devil Christ?

Shilo: Most of my Bloody Ol Mule material comes from songs I’ve written down in notebooks, things I’ve worked out on my guitar etc. So, when I feel it’s time to start laying this material down, I go into LoFi Shit studios in Norman, and Brad Fielder records me, just like he’s been doing since about 2008…As for Devil Christ, this is an entirely different process. Devil Christ is my two-piece collaboration with my good friend Brian Cagle a.k.a. Coyote Teeth. Devil Christ is heavy driven blues band with Brian on drums, and me on vocals, and guitar. Usually when I’m coming up with material for Devil Christ it tends to happen best when we are trying to get a practice in. I believe in recording everything I do, from live shows to rehearsals. Pretty much, I’ll start in on some piece that’s been beating around in my head, and then Brian will come in with his driving rhythm on drums, and then I’ll start singing into the microphone if need be, then sometimes we could just be playing music. A lot of the Devil Christ material is more drawn out pieces.. I’m heavily influenced by Junior Kimbrough, and Hillcountry Blues in general when it comes to my Devil Christ material.

Dave: What are your current, active projects? How do you describe them to people who have never heard your music?

Shilo: These would be BLOODY OL MULE, my one-man-band geared towards Hillbilly Blues, and Honky Tonk, then there’s DEVIL CHRIST, a two-piece blues act in the same vein as most Hillcountry Blues, and last but not least would be DOC SLITHER’S SNAKE OIL SALVATION which is basically local Oklahoma writer Robert Spencer reading his backwood rural stories, and such while I back him up on guitar etc.

Dave: A lot of people (myself included) met you through your fantastic book store Book Beat & Co. What is happening with the store? (Please forgive me if I have missed anything major with the store over the past few years…I’ve been pretty isolated to the general Moore/Norman vicinity for the last four years or so.)

Shilo: The bookstore is on its way to be relocated in the Norman area. As of right now though, the contents to Book Beat & Co. are in 9 storage units in the Moore, Ok. area waiting to be moved into Norman the moment I find the right location, and the proper help to run the bookstore while I’m out of town on tour with my music projects.

Dave: You are about to go out on tour. How long is the tour? How many tours have your gone on? What are your favorite places to play?

Shilo: The first tour is with my good friend Katie Stephens’ band The Needles, and we looking to kick off sometime around June 30th and be out close 12 days, then I will be back for a couple weeks and then heading out to Minnesota to play on Weber’s Deck in Frenchlake, and I’ll be gone about 3 weeks…My favorite places to play, if you’re talking about venues etc. would dive bars, and house parties, as for favorite locations, that would be Frenchlake, Minnesota, and Mississippi, they all treat me just like family, which is nice when I’m away from my own family in Grady County, Ok.

Dave: What are your thoughts on the music scene in Oklahoma?

Shilo: I really don’t have any. I just do my things, and play music. The scene that exists around me is entirely different than the scene that would exist around some other musician. My scene is mostly made up of good friends who either play music, or like to listen to the music that we create.

Dave: This is a High Fidelity inspired question. What are your Top 5 bands/artists, records, movies, TV shows, and books/authors?

Shilo: Top 5 bands/artists: Junior Kimbrough, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Hank Williams Sr., Jimmie Rodgers, and Spencer Cornet of The Boomswagglers…Top 5 Records: Night Life by Ray Price, All Night Long by Junior Kimbrough, Cold and Blind by Possessed By Paul James, Luke The Drifter by Hank Williams Sr., The Complete Sides of Jimmie Rodgers…Top 5 movies: You See Me Laughing: The Last Of The Hill Country Bluesman, Two Lane Blacktop, Rest In Pieces: The Life Of Joe Coleman, Desperate Man Blues, The Folksinger…Top 5 Books/Authors: William S. Burroughs, Harry Crews, Larry Brown, Final Truth by Pee Wee Gaskins, The Land Where The Blues Began by Alan Lomax

Dave: What’s next for you?

Shilo: Plan on release 2 more Bloody Ol Mule album this year, followed by a collection of stories, and poems, as well as getting Devil Christ up on its feet.

Dave: Any final thoughts?

Shilo: Yes, don’t ever forget about DIY culture, this is more important than anything. The truth is no one is going to sign you to a record deal, publish your book, or sale your art these days, not unless you really know how to kiss ass. So, DO IT YOURSELF.


Weber said...

Man- we sure love Shilo up here at Weber's Deck in French Lake, MN. Shilo became like a brother, and I will always think of his as such. He is such a talented musician, writer, and friend. He always has a place to call home up here!! BTW- I couldn't agree more on his view of DIY promoting!!

Katie Khaos said...

I've made the blog twice now! Thanks Shilo and Ryan! So excited to hit the road with Bloody Ol' Mule! This tour is gonna kick some ass in an "up between the shoulder blades" kind of way!