Locals Only: : The Passion of The 'Scraper

The world's greatest Satanic Bluegrass Punk band, Hogscraper, is resurrected

Hogscraper



In the mid-'90s, local trio Hogscraper used Bluegrass instruments and Punk/Glam/Metal attitude — twisted with a B-horror movie sensibility that manifested itself in the group's demented, maniacally entertaining live shows and extensive character back-stories — to become one of the leading draws on the local music front and one of the most original (and perversely entertaining) bands in Cincinnati music history. The band released one CD of slyly evil "Satanic Jug Band" brilliance on Darren Blase's Shake It Records and then, almost as quickly as they exploded onto the scene, the group dissolved.

Sitting with singer/washtub bass specialist Lariat B. Grim (who claims to have been killed and raised from the dead some 1,500 times), banjo pounder Henry McHenry (unkillable) and drummer Mr. Luciferous Cipherin' (the newest member; also undead), the conversation veers recklessly between reality and surrealism. But here's what I'm fairly certain are the "facts."

Due to popular demand, Hogscraper is back. On Saturday, the band will play its first show in more than seven years at the Southgate House, which will be taken over fully by the band, showcasing "Barnyard Burlesque," vaudevillian open mic, Hogscraper artwork and other forms of devilish mischievousness. Blase is reissuing the group's catastrophic success of a debut with a few extra tracks by Christmas. And the band will begin to record an all-new disc in January.

As the idea of reforming was being investigated, the players found a groundswell of support from fans all over the country. The band had crafted such a nonreplicable aura that fans were left with a void no one else could fill.

"I watched for seven years. 'Is something else like this going to crop up?' " says McHenry. "No. I think it's a really hard niche to hit, and the bottom line is, if you were into it, you ain't getting it satiated by nobody else."

Where have these makeup-coated Devilgrass hoodlums been for seven years? It's hard to say. It's not that you can't get a straight answer when you talk to Hogscraper: It's just that the straight answer is intermingled with a dozen other replies, often warped through the filter of the member's character development.

"I was hanging out in hell and discovered there was more than just one," Grim says of his "sabbatical." "Henry found my grave and dug me up about seven months ago, and I've been feasting on the carcasses of AIDS victims ever since."

The band's split was not an amiable, clean break ("Let's just say that we exploited all the seven deadly sins," says Grim). McHenry was moved to restart the band when contacted by Blase, who told him he had been getting weekly inquires about Hogscraper. After finally tracking down and getting approval from Grim and original drummer Mister Lanious, the reissue was set in motion. When Grim and McHenry finally ended up in the same room together, it became clear to both that the re-release was just the beginning of a new era for the band.

"We both had this strange feeling that Hogscraper brought us back together and it's not us getting it back together," says McHenry. "This series of events bubbled up to where it was like, there I am, face to face with Larry again — we're thinking the same way, suddenly we're writing new songs, and then we're doing a show ..."

On Nov. 1, with the re-introduction under their belts, Hogscraper will re-launch in earnest, with keys to their future direction being gradually rolled out on their dazzling new Web site (

Hogscraper



In the mid-'90s, local trio Hogscraper used Bluegrass instruments and Punk/Glam/Metal attitude — twisted with a B-horror movie sensibility that manifested itself in the group's demented, maniacally entertaining live shows and extensive character back-stories — to become one of the leading draws on the local music front and one of the most original (and perversely entertaining) bands in Cincinnati music history. The band released one CD of slyly evil "Satanic Jug Band" brilliance on Darren Blase's Shake It Records and then, almost as quickly as they exploded onto the scene, the group dissolved.

Sitting with singer/washtub bass specialist Lariat B. Grim (who claims to have been killed and raised from the dead some 1,500 times), banjo pounder Henry McHenry (unkillable) and drummer Mr. Luciferous Cipherin' (the newest member; also undead), the conversation veers recklessly between reality and surrealism. But here's what I'm fairly certain are the "facts."

Due to popular demand, Hogscraper is back. On Saturday, the band will play its first show in more than seven years at the Southgate House, which will be taken over fully by the band, showcasing "Barnyard Burlesque," vaudevillian open mic, Hogscraper artwork and other forms of devilish mischievousness. Blase is reissuing the group's catastrophic success of a debut with a few extra tracks by Christmas. And the band will begin to record an all-new disc in January.

As the idea of reforming was being investigated, the players found a groundswell of support from fans all over the country. The band had crafted such a nonreplicable aura that fans were left with a void no one else could fill.

"I watched for seven years. 'Is something else like this going to crop up?' " says McHenry. "No. I think it's a really hard niche to hit, and the bottom line is, if you were into it, you ain't getting it satiated by nobody else."

Where have these makeup-coated Devilgrass hoodlums been for seven years? It's hard to say. It's not that you can't get a straight answer when you talk to Hogscraper: It's just that the straight answer is intermingled with a dozen other replies, often warped through the filter of the member's character development.

"I was hanging out in hell and discovered there was more than just one," Grim says of his "sabbatical." "Henry found my grave and dug me up about seven months ago, and I've been feasting on the carcasses of AIDS victims ever since."

The band's split was not an amiable, clean break ("Let's just say that we exploited all the seven deadly sins," says Grim). McHenry was moved to restart the band when contacted by Blase, who told him he had been getting weekly inquires about Hogscraper. After finally tracking down and getting approval from Grim and original drummer Mister Lanious, the reissue was set in motion. When Grim and McHenry finally ended up in the same room together, it became clear to both that the re-release was just the beginning of a new era for the band.

"We both had this strange feeling that Hogscraper brought us back together and it's not us getting it back together," says McHenry. "This series of events bubbled up to where it was like, there I am, face to face with Larry again — we're thinking the same way, suddenly we're writing new songs, and then we're doing a show ..."

On Nov. 1, with the re-introduction under their belts, Hogscraper will re-launch in earnest, with keys to their future direction being gradually rolled out on their dazzling new Web site (hogscraper.com). The band members hint at expanding the visual elements of their persona, with a planned comic book series already in the works.

Can Hogscraper maintain their resurrection? Only time will tell. But the spirit and drive of the band seems to be even stronger than it was during their heyday. Grim, however, has more pressing things on his mind right now. When asked if he has anything to add at the end of our interview, he turns serious and offers up "a question for America."

"Who is this Oscar Meyer fellow?" he asks. "And why do children everywhere wish to be his wiener?"



HOGSCRAPER performs Saturday at the Southgate House with Chalk, The Rumpke Mountain Boys and more.

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