Locals Only: : Buckra

True 'camouflage playboys' release the finest CD of their career

Feb 6, 2008 at 2:06 pm


The four members of Buckra cut it up like brothers. Feels like they shoot me with a hit of natural laugh medicine. Sarcastic humor = love. Not surprising how much they gel, considering Buckra's been together "either six to 10 or three to 12 years." Within 10 minutes, I learn that singer Dylan Speeg has a loving pit bull, guitarist Jacob Heintz' wife is about to have a baby and they've all been influenced by drag queens.

Speeg and Andrew Laudeman (bass) mention one tour when a hotel screwed up, giving the two a room with one cozy double bed.

"You learn where people do and do not like to get touched," Speeg comments.

Looking sharp in a dark suit, Speeg says, "I like the entertainment factor. I try to rebel in a way that's always rebellious against the rebellious."

Laudeman chuckles.

"We can have fights with really nasty words and then be over it in 12 minutes," he says. (Laudeman hails from "the crazy streets of Mount Lookout.")

Wearing all black with sleepy blue eyes, Heintz is from "the mean streets of Montgomery ... I think we played Sudsy's when we were like 13 or 14. I thought we rocked. I don't know how to stop."

True to my theory that the drummer's always late, Chris Lenahan saunters in last, sitting down with seriousness.

"The best thing about it is we've gotten to become friends," he says of the Buckra experience.

Buckra has a slew of awards and accomplishments; they've shared the stage with Violent Femmes, Offspring, Goo Goo Dolls and more, performing more than 385 shows across North America so far.

Then I learn about Emily Davison, a 1913 activist who threw herself in front of a racehorse, killing herself. I have no idea where this comes from.

OK, new CD. Camouflage Playboys International.

"I'm easily rocked," Speeg says. "Like I'm the Ed Wood of singing. Jacob and Andrew are more picky. ... The new one is more of a representation of what we're like now. This could've never been our first record."

In "Andy's Room," Speeg sings, "Never turn your back on a good time."

But don't let Buckra's lighthearted attitude fool you. The album's layered with excellent musicianship, with echoes of Swing and Jazz, paying homage to guitar greats like Django Reinhardt and Jimi Hendrix. This is Buckra's best work to date, fully expressing their style, "hardcore gypsy groove R&B." It'll make you want to move.

My belly aches. Have you heard about the 1848 accident of Phineas P. Gage? Me neither. A tamping iron passed through his skull, leaving him temperamental but amazingly still alive. These guys are all over the map.

Cracking down for a few last words on the new disc:

Laudeman says, "To me it sounds every bit as good as anything on the radio."

"We pretty much do everything a 'big' band does," Heintz adds.

Then Speeg educates me on Slush Puppy machine rules: "It was better when you could do your own squirts," he insists, acting out wildly repetitive hand motions.

Can you find those machines anymore? In unison, all agree — "You have to really search."

With a fierce thirst and fresh tunes, Buckra's ready to hit the road and hunt.

BUCKRA plays Saturday at Dirty Jack's with The Banana Conventional. Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.