I’ve met and seen a lot of bands over the years.  Some were popular, some…not so much.  Having said that, I’ve never once been apprehensive about meeting a band, and I’ve hung out with bands that would make Varg Vikernes nervous.  No case of nerves when I had coffee and croissants with Pastor of Muppets back in 2008 at the height of his fame.  Not even a butterfly when I hung out with The Dark Immortal in a rented mansion in New Orleans after Merchants of Metal Festival II – Devil’s Night.

So the feeling of unease I had as I pulled into the parking lot of Big Nose Kate’s Saloon in Tombstone, AZ was more than a bit unsettling to me.  Why the apprehension?  Was it nerves?  Or was I simply giving in to the dark image of the band I was about to interview, Lucifer and the Long Pigs?  Oh, who was I fooling?  These guys weren’t created by some record promotion flak, they’ve been rumored to light fans on fire, practice satanic rituals on-stage, and even to enjoy the taste of human flesh!  These are bona fide scary m#@therf%#ckers!   Or were they?  Only one way to find out…so in I trudged.

Figment News:  So this seems like the appropriate town to meet in for an interview with a band called Lucifer and the Long Pigs.  Do you guys live here or just passing through?

Jerry Lee Lucifer: Naw, son, we’re from the great state of Texas! Just like our tagline says, “all our hexes” an’ all that.

Bud “Pyro” Lingelson: Kate’s a great gal, she always takes good care of us when we swing on through. There’s no denying we have a certain, uh, attraction to the history of this here area.

FN:  So you guys play “Death Country”.  What inspired your sound?

Jerry: Thieves… Murderers… Bank robbers… Butchers… The songs they whistle an’ hum absentmindedly while they work with their hands, while they ply the tools of their respective trades.

Bud: Obviously, we have a lot in common with so-called “outlaw country” bands… We just tend to take things a little further, is all.

Duke Aguares: Yeah, and we don’t go running to the Lord on our deathbeds with our tails tucked between our legs just because we enjoyed a little too much women and whiskey during our lifetimes.

The Drummer with No Name: …

FN:  How did you guy’s come together to form the band?

Jerry: Well, Bud and I have known each other for quite some time. He knew Duke from a local honky tonk bar, and we recruited him for Lucifer. Weren’t too hard, neither. *laughs* Zane and I… he ain’t gonna like that I told this story while he’s in the bathroom, but we had exchanged some heated words at an auction house this one time. We were both bidding on this beautiful Red Foley hollow-body guitar– you see, I collect guitars of dead country stars, something about their energy… got dozens of ’em. Well, we decided to take our lil’ discussion outside. I broke his jaw, laid him flat out, but not before he broke my goddamn nose. Neither of us ended up winning that damn guitar, neither.

FN:  Why doesn’t your drummer have a name?

Bud: Now, if you believe the teevee media, then you know it’s because we use our drummers as human sacrifices in occult rituals. No names means no evidence trail.

Jerry: If you read the tabloids, then you think it’s because we raised him from the dead, resurrected some dusty corpse from some unmarked grave out on the prairie.

Duke: Others say he just don’t say much, name or otherwise. *shrugs*

Drummer: …

FN:  I noticed in your band bio that “Long Pig is slang for human flesh used as flesh, as in cannibalism.”  Are you guy’s cannibals?

Jerry: Coming from a long line of stockyard workers, I can assure you 100% that I can’t rule out the possibility that some poor guy’s thumb didn’t get ground up in the machinery or bitten off by a hog that was then slaughtered or something like that.

Bud: Coming from a long line of BBQ contest champions, I can tell you that whatever gets you that 1st prize blue ribbon is worth it. That’s what my daddy always used to say, and I never asked him no questions about it, neither.

FN:  You guys have enjoyed a lot of success so far.  You’ve put out 2 albums and an EP and they’ve all gone to #1.  In fact, the only album that didn’t was your recent “Live:  Tri-State Killing Spree Tour” album, and that still hit #3.  To what do you owe your success?

Bud: *nodding to Jerry* Lucifer.

Jerry: *nodding at the ground* Satan.

Duke: Both?

Drummer: …

FN:  So this deal with Satan, real or fake?

Jerry: I guess we’ll find out when the Rapture comes, now won’t we? *laughs* Next question.

FN:  Jerry Lee, there’s a rumor going around that you married your cousin’s pet jackal.  Is that true?

Jerry: Now that damn rumor’s harder to squash than a cockroach on ice on a moonless night. Lemme set the record straight, right here and now: it weren’t no jackal, but my cousin’s sister, Jacqueline, and we never did get married. She’s a mighty fine gal– I’ve nothing but respect for Jackie– and sure, maybe we fell over into a pile of hay a time or three under the influence of moonshine, but we never did get married. And that, they say, is that.

FN:  Your latest album “The Road to Helldorado” recently spent over a month entrenched at #1 on the Figment Hot Albums chart.  What was the concept behind that album and what was it like recording it?

Jerry: Well, you got yer Eldorado, the shimmering city of gold, and you’ve got Hell, torture chamber of the damned. Maybe you think you’re well on your way to finding one or the other, but them heat waves off the asphalt can play tricks on yer eyes. Maybe you don’t quite end up where you thought you were goin’.

Bud: Maybe Eldorado is just a pipe dream in the first place, made up by some ancient snake oil salesman. Or salesmen.

Duke: Recording is always a good time… them dead cattle they found weren’t our fault, though.

FN:  How hard was it to get back into the swing of recording after being on the road?

Bud: It wasn’t. Is it hard to switch back to whiskey after drinking tequila for a couple months? Didn’t think so.

FN:  Jerry Lee, you recently said that all of your vocals for the new record were recorded in an abandoned slaughterhouse.  Why use such an unorthodox location to record vocals?

Jerry: Like I mentioned earlier, I come from a long line of slaughterhouse workers. It was sort of a nostalgia trip, since I used to hang out in the plants as a kid. Every one is more or less the same, too– the boss screwing some secretary on an unused cutting table in the back just loud enough that you can hear it over the saws, sloppy bastards spitting chaw juice into the meat vats, the sound of thousands of animals getting shot between the eyes with bolt guns before being gutted and cut apart. Like I said. Nostalgia.

FN:  Who produced “The Road to Helldorado”?

Bud: This Remy Brecht character from a studio called Formerwageslave, he’s produced all our stuff so far. Great guy– never lets us run out of liquor, never complains when we light a bunch of candles an’ hang sides of beef on the walls, never asks questions when we have some local gals all hogtied in the vocal booth.

Drummer: …

Jerry: Great guy.

FN:  Who are the primary songwriters in the band?

Jerry: Bud and I will sketch out most of the basic tunes, guitars an’ vocals with piano or fiddle. Zane will come in with the lead or pedal steel, and then Duke an’ the Drummer supply the backbone when it’s time to record.

FN:  Let’s go back to your recent “Tri-State Killing Spree” tour.  Did you really select the tour stops because they were where famous serial killers lived?

Jerry: Hell yeah we did! We’re big fans of those fellers’ work, they give us all sorts of inspiration, so we figured hell, why not have the tour do double duty as a pilgrimage vacation kind of thing.

Duke: It was like them Starline Tours! Only with more, y’know, blood.

FN:  A lot of the shows you played were marred by violence, and there was a heavy police presence at the final shows in Livermore, CA.  Do you agree with your critics that your music and stage show encourage violence?

Jerry: Listen here– man is a predatory creature. It’s in his nature. Earliest caveman ever found? Had an arrow stuck in his back. We’re a species built on bloodshed. No band of hell-raisin’ good ol’ boys is gonna change that. Ain’t gonna provoke it no more than usual, neither.

Bud: We’re just out there every night tryin’ to have a good time. Maybe our definition of good time is different from yours. Maybe you like to smash bottles over yer friends’ heads. Maybe you wanna bury a knife in someone’s gut. We try not to judge.

FN:  Are you planning to tour in support of “The Road to Helldorado” album?  And if so, is there any truth to the rumors that your stage set-up will include a burning car like the one portrayed on the front of the album?

Bud: Absolutely.

Jerry: As for the stage show, let’s just say that the venues in cities with more… liberal… fire codes are in for quite a show.

FN:  On your “All Our Hexes Come From Texas” album you recorded a cover of the Concrete Blonde song “Ghost of  Texas Ladies Man”  with Antoinette and Marguerite from SquidbitchezHow did that collaboration come about, and are there any bands/artists that you’d like to work with in the future?

Jerry: I’ve known them Squid gals forever, since they was about yay high *motions with hand*. Antoinette’s daddy was one hell of a music man, that guy could play anything. She got her gift from him, that’s for sure. With Margie… you can tell that one’s on a dark path just by spending five minutes with her. Just made sense to put something on tape after all the times we’ve played together after dinner at the ranch for fun. That Johnette Na-po-li-ta-no is one helluva woman, too.

Bud: Those fellers over at Good Horse Records have been cookin’ up some interesting stuff. We’d be interested in chewin’ the fat with their Calavera Electrica or Mescaline Kimono and see what happens.

FN:  If Taylor Swift called would you guys work with her?

Jerry: Hahaha, now that’d be a hoot! Sure, why not… especially since Miley Cyrus turned us down after her daddy threatened us with physical violence.

Duke: Something about us being “no good, smokin’, boozin’, hell-raisin’, devil-worshippin’, flea-bitten mongrel sons of bitches”.

Bud: Aw, he’s just sore that no one remembers “Achey Breaky Heart,” that’s all. *rolls eyes*

The 2011 Figgies!

February 14th, 2011

It’s that time of year again!  The time when you get to award those fake bands on Figment you think deserve to be recognized for their achievements in 2010.

The Figment Awards, or “Figgie’s” as we like to call them, are awards that are handed out once a year to those Figment bands and albums that garner the most votes from the Figment community.  They recognize excellence in fake band creation and design, and since they are voted on by the community represent those bands that have truly resonated with their peers on Figment.

This year we’re very excited to announce a new Figgie for Best Tour/Festival.  This Figgie Award was suggested by javdoc and we thought it was such a good idea we have included it in the 2011 Figgies ballot.

Our crack Figment editorial team have selected the fake bands, albums, singles, tag lines and tours of 2010 we thought deserved to be nominees, but we’ve also given you the opportunity to write-in a nominee.

While clearly these awards are all in good fun, we ask that you try to be as fair and impartial as possible when casting your votes. Try to vote for the band or album that you think best deserves the award.  If you honestly think your band or album deserves your vote that’s fine, but keep in mind that everyone else might not feel the same.

Also keep in mind that any Figgie Awards for Album or Single only apply to those releases created in 2010, so if you write-in an album or single that wasn’t they will be disqualified.  As for the brand new tour Figgie, we will only recognize those tours that actually took place in 2010.  If you created a tour in 2010 that doesn’t begin until 2011 then it will not be considered for this award this year.

As we did last year, you’ll be asked to cast a vote on the following award categories:

Best Developed Band – this award recognizes the fake band that was the most complete in every facet of the game – band back story (description), artwork, album cover design, song titles, band news, marketing/promotion, collaborations with other players bands, and fan base development.  In short, we’re looking for you to cast a vote for the fake band that is 2010’s best and most complete fake band.  Last year’s winner was Zandergriff Miggs & The Parliament of Owls.

Album Cover of the Year – this award recognizes the best album cover design of the year.  We’re looking for you to vote for the cover that not only has the best design and visual impact, but also best communicates the album’s genre and content.  Chronicles by Suicide By Papercut was last year’s winner.

Best Tagline – this award recognizes the fake band with the best tagline.  Promotion is important in the music business, and with so many bands trying to capture people’s attention you have to find a way to cut through the clutter to get a fan’s attention.  We’re looking for you to cast a vote for the band that not only best summed up their band’s aesthetic in one line, but also created a memorable slogan that grabs your attention.  Last year’s winner Zandergiff Miggs & The Parliament of Owls is a perfect example.

Best Band Name – this award recognizes the Figment fake band with the best name.  A name that captures not only your attention, but also a bit of the band’s aesthetic, while also being clever and original.   To give you an idea of what we’re talking about – here’s last year’s winner!

Best Single – this award recognizes the best song title!  We know a lot of you are releasing singles these days, but we’re not looking for you to cast your vote on album covers, but instead simply on how great of a song title it is and whether or not it made you want to buy the album .  Yeah, we’ve included quite a few funny ones in the nominees we put forward, but we’re also looking for a song title that resonated with you, so if you have a favorite that appeared on a 2010 album that isn’t funny please write it in – and remember to include the group that created it!  Last year’s winner was the single “Double Bacon Hateburger” by Fistful of Firearms.

Best Tour/Festival – This is the first year for this award, so we ask that you give it some real thought before casting your vote.  Clearly we’re looking for the best tour or festival, but there are a lot of factors that go into what makes a fake tour or festival seem real.  Obviously the name of the tour is the first thing that grabs your attention, but we’re looking for more than that.  We want you to consider the concept behind the tour or festival.  How original of an idea was it?  Do the bands involved fit with the overall concept, and how involved were they in the tour or festival?  How was the artwork for the tour?  Did the creator publish news, use the shout box or other online media (i.e. Twitter) to promote the tour before, during and after?  How well did they merchandise the tour?  All of these things should be factored in when you cast your vote for this Figgie.  Again, if you write in a nominee please keep in mind that the tour/festival you nominate had to have taken place in 2010, and not just created in 2010.

Album of the Year – this award recognizes the album that is the best of the best.  We’re looking for you to take into account the cover design, the album description and the song titles when casting your vote.  In short, which album do you think was the best of 2010.  “Seizure Salad” by Zandergriff Miggs & The Parliament of Owls took last year’s prize!

So those are the awards we’ll be asking you to vote on this year.  We hope you’ll take a moment to check out all of the bands nominated before filling out your ballot.  The last day to submit your ballot is March 14, 2011, so make sure you get your votes in before the end of the day on March 14th.  The winners will be announced here on the Figment News blog on Friday, March 18, 2011 and each of the winners will receive an icon for their winning band/album page as well as 250 pieces of lucre.

Check your email because we’re sending out the invite that will link you to the ballot later today.  We’re looking forward to seeing who you vote for!

Ballots go out soon…so make sure you check your email.