Have Fun With Snake Wagon is the debut effort from Youngstown, Ohio's own gospel-comedy band, Snake Wagon. Born out of twistedness and raised in revelation, the band takes its love of Christmas Caroling, Wall Drug, South Dakota, and Chinese astronomy, and transforms it daily into a truly unique and innovative sound that recalls early Motorhead having a coffee, no cream, with Linda McCartney. As the son of a Wal-Mart Greeter and Youngstown's first female chair of the Libertarian Committee, Thom Jefferson, along with his childhood friend/violinist Ulf Zarkanius, rebelled against their fore-bearers and formed Snake Wagon in 1985, as a vehicle to spread their anarchistic belief system. In 1986, Daniel Johnston notably stated, "They're alright."
After nearly three decades of playing the Youngstown circuit, Providence, Rhode Island's folk outfit The Low Anthem discovered Snake Wagon in a rest-stop 57 miles outside Columbus, where Snake Wagon was amidst their four-year residency at that rest-stop's Tim Hortons. "I wasn't too sure what I was hearing. I was literally relieving myself when I heard this ungodly sound," said Low Anthem bassist/drummer Jeff Prystowsky. "I wasn't sure if I loved it or hated it. I think I hated it, but after they played for nearly four hours, we all sort of warmed up to it. Maybe it was the endless supply of Tim Hortons’ sasuage patties that helped." In that rest-stop, the two bands formed a friendship based on their love of our nations 11th President James K. Polk, midwestern songwriter Hoagy Carmichael, and hoagies.
The Low Anthem proceeded to invite Snake Wagon to their studio, a 40,000 square foot abandoned pasta sauce factory outside Providence. It was Snake Wagon's first time outside of Ohio and their first time in a proper recording facility. In a creative rage, Mr. Jefferson locked the doors to the pasta sauce factory, holding the Low Anthem, their friends The Barr Brothers, and producer/engineer Jesse Lauter hostage and at gunpoint, forcing them all to record ten of his crowning works in a matter of 48 hours, literally interrupting the recording of the Low Anthem's album Smart Flesh. They even managed to kidnap ESPN baseball analyst Peter Gammons from his Brookline, Mass home in order to fulfill his dream of including his idol on his debut record. In the process, Zarkanius became jealous of Thom's new musical mates and fled the studio, effectively leaving Snake Wagon for rival Youngstown band The Devil's Daughter. But the record went on... and the result is Have Fun With Snake Wagon, a legendary record, as the long-lost second-cousin-once-removed of David Byrne says, "It's as good as they've ever been, and maybe even better."
released December 20, 2011
Thomas Jefferson: lead vocals, guitar
Benjamin Franklin: bass, vocals
Abigail Adams: saxophone, clarinet, vocals
Martin Van Buren: piano, pump organ, fiddle
Aaron Burr: drums
Alexander Hamilton: electric guitar
James Madison: vocals
Betsy Ross: vocals
Peter Gammons: commentary
special thanks to: Rolf
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