There are Rock legends and then there are Underground Rock legends – musicians who aren’t known well beyond their support base, but whose core followers believe they represent everything good and exciting about the spirit and energy of Rock & Roll.
They respect roots, yes, but also love the wildness and danger, the experimentation and the role-playing. And they have a determination to not let dull virtuosity or banal professionalism get in the way of their pursuit of onstage ecstatic release.
The Cramps were like that, as are Jad Fair and Kid Congo. One of the greatest examples ever of an Underground Rock legend, Memphis’ Tav Falco, is coming to MOTR Pub for a free show with his primal Panther Burns band.
His music, like The Cramps’, comes out of the “Psychobilly” or “art damage” tradition of taking what was learned from Punk and applying it to a reinterpretation/deconstruction of Rockabilly, Blues and gothic Folk, with some unusual surprises thrown in. Falco, for instance, does a great twisted-crooner version of Sinatra’s “The World We Knew (Over and Over).”
Falco was a Memphis, Tenn., visual artist/filmmaker (and friend of photographer William Eggleston) when he hooked up with Big Star’s Alex Chilton (who had just worked with The Cramps) to create Panther Burns in the late 1970s. His stylized look and yowling voice made him immediately stand out. There have been many Panther Burns members since, and Falco even moved to Europe, but he has kept the tradition of Memphis music eccentricity wonderfully alive ever since.
TAV FALCO plays Wednesday, Sept. 4 with Panther Burns at MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine. Check out performance times and get venue details here .