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VISITING ACT ‌ Spanker Madness

The Asylum Street Spankers

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The Asylum Street Spankers dish out naughty sounds unlike any other
  • The Asylum Street Spankers dish out naughty sounds unlike any other

No microphones, electric instruments, or amplification. The large-scale vaudevillian acoustic blues/jazz/folk ensemble Asylum Street Spankers uses acoustic guitars, harmonica, bass fiddle, clarinet, washboard, ukulele, fiddle, snare drum, and hand saw to get the job done on a slew of old-time tunes from the '20s and '30s and original numbers – many of which extol the virtues of sex, reefer, booze, and naughtiness in general.

"When this band started out, it was a bunch of people who dug this kind of music and wanted to get together and play once a week," says singer, poetic provocateur, and washboard scratcher Wammo. "We didn't know it was going to steamroll into this thing that's just eaten up our lives."

The Austin, Texas-based Spankers (the band name refers to old slang describing guitar playing) formed out of a loose jam session in 1994 and, under the leadership of Wammo and vocalist/string player Christina Marrs, blossomed into a full-fledged musical endeavor. They strut into Charleston on Thurs. Dec. 14 for a special, non-amplified performance at Home Team BBQ.

"We're excited; I've got family in that area," says Wammo. "All my new siblings-in-law and cousins and uncles and aunts-in-law live up Pinopolis ... that's where the party is!"

The group recently released a new album titled Mommy Says No! and a live concert DVD titled Re-Assembly. They also shot a hilarious video in Los Angeles that's available for viewing at YouTube. The song is an anti-war reworking of Tony Orlando's "Tie a Yellow Ribbon."

"While we think the video and song speak for themselves, the Spankers preemptively state that current and former members of our band are veterans of the military, we support American troops and we love our country, especially its Constitution and Bill of Rights, but also its movies, music, whiskey and regional cuisine," says Wammo. –T. Ballard Lesemann

The Asylum Street Spankers perform at Fiery Ron's Home Team BBQ (1205 Ashley River Road, 225-RIBS) at 8 p.m. on Thurs. Dec. 14. See www.asylumstreetspankers.com for more.

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