Buck’s Bar & Grill sits on the south side of Nebraska Highway 92 in the unincorporated hamlet of Venice, about 20 miles west of Omaha, where music, mostly of the emerging outlaw Country variety, is served up alongside burgers, chicken, steak, beer and Jack Daniels.
It was there Aug. 2 that one of the last great rock ‘n’ roll bands made their stand -- on the floor (there's no stage) with just a monitor, a couple speakers in the P.A. system, their guitars, amps and drum kit.
The band is Dan Baird & Homemade Sin.
That would be Baird, Georgia Satellites singer and writer of the 1986 smash “Keep Your Hands to Yourself," ex-Satellites drummer Mauro Magellan, former Jason & the Scorchers guitarist Warren Hodges and, the new guy of the group, Sean Savacool on bass.
I’ve known Baird for 35 years or so, but hadn’t seen him for a decade. Nor had I caught Homemade Sin, which has spend the vast majority of its touring time in Europe over the dozen years it’s been going.
So, I made a last-minute decision -- at 8 p.m. Friday -- to head to Buck’s to see my old friend and the band.
A couple hours later, the quartet filed into the bar, plugged in their guitars and took off on nearly two hours of slinky, swaggering, snarling rock ‘n’ roll with hard riffing from Baird’s Telecaster and wild guitar work from Hodges' Les Paul over the rhythms of Savacool and Magellan, who’s a great rock ‘n’ roll drummer.
That’s a sound that, outside of classic rock stations playing the Rolling Stones and Faces and Little Steven’s Underground Garage on Sirius/XM has largely disappeared from the radio and, even when practiced by the likes of The Struts and Jack White, doesn’t come close to the pop charts.
And its rarely heard, recorded or live, in “rock” circles, which, starting in the late ‘60s, have mostly forgotten the “roll.”
You have free articles remaining.
The set drew from the band’s handful of albums, pulling out the pointedly observant “Fairgrounds People" and the guitar workout of “Movin’ Right Along," and Baird’s solo albums -- he had to play every editor’s punctuation-filled favorite “I Love You (Period)” and had a couple fine covers -- “Do You Wanna Dance,” the 1958 hit done over the years by The Beach Boys, The Ramones and Green Day and a Stonish take on Big Joe Turner’s classic “Shake, Rattle and Roll.”
Then about 90 minutes in, Baird said “Let’s pay the rent ... this song’s been very, very good to me and I’m going to be good to it.” Out came “Keep Your Hands to Yourself,” kicking off a three-song rush to the finish that ended with a blistering “Railroad Steel.”
To say it was a blast is an understatement. I never expected to hear “Keep Your Hands to Yourself” or “I Love You (Period)” live again. And hearing real guitar rock ‘n’ roll from a great band was as exhilarating as it was rare.
The handful of us of a certain age from Lincoln who made the drive to Buck’s were, unavoidably reminded of The Drumstick, the 48th Street fried chicken restaurant that, for most of the 1980s, turned rock club at night.
That’s where the Satellites made their first Lincoln appearance and Jason and the Scorchers were such regulars they were almost a house band. And you could get fine chicken and mashed potatoes before the show at The Drumstick too -- just like at Buck’s.
Magellan was reminded of the 'Stick, too.
“I played there a lot in The Brains (an Atlanta band he was in pre-Satellites) and with the Satellites at least once,” he said. “That place is a legend. I see guys out and we’ll talk about it. Nobody forgets The Drumstick. Somebody should write a book about that.”
Magellan talking in the parking lot behind Buck’s back door where Hodges was loading amps, drums, guitars and merch into the back of the band’s van.
By 12:30, a half-hour after they finished, Homemade Sin was on the highway, heading east toward Omaha, then Iowa City where they had a Saturday-night engagement to again bring the real rock 'n' roll.