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Asylum Street Spankers

The Asylum Street Spankers, from Austin, TX, are a unique band led by vocalist/washboard player/poet Wammo and vocalist Christina Marrs. They're finding a growing cult following for their unique brand of acoustic blues and early jazz. While much of their material is blues from the 1920s and '30s, the Asylum Street Spankers also perform original songs in their live shows and on their debut album for Watermelon Records, Spanks for the Memories. The band's live shows are performed without amplifiers or microphones, usually including tunes from Bessie Smith and Robert Johnson along with other standard and traditional blues tunes.

In addition to Wammo and Marrs, bandmembers have included guitarist Colonel Josh Arnson, guitarist Jeff Ross, banjo and mandolin player Pops Bayless, drummer Jimmie Dean, guitarist and saw player Olivier Giraud, kazoo player Mysterious John, guitarist and singer/songwriter Guy Forsyth, and bassist Kevin Smith. The genesis of the band occurred in the early '90s at a hotel outside of Austin. After an all-night acoustic tune swap, the musicians realized they were onto something, getting back to basics and playing acoustic music. After several phone calls and circulated tapes, the band met again for a rehearsal, and the chemistry took over from there.

The Asylum Street Spankers began attracting growing crowds after playing steady Wednesdays at the Electric Lounge, a bar in Austin, and from that following, they took the next step and recorded their debut album for the local Watermelon label. While many of the melodies and progressions on Spanks for the Memories are old, some of the band's lyrics are straight out of contemporary America. Songs like "Funny Cigarette," "Trade Winds," "Lee Harvey," and "Hometown Boy" are funny and entertaining to most audiences. This was proven by the following live album, which chronicled a 1996 show and showcased their charm and charisma in a live setting. The Nasty Novelties EP provided fans with one great song title, "Rotten C**ks**ker's Ball," but it was the following year's full-length Hot Lunch that brought the real goods. Another fine set of old-fashioned pop, the record won rave reviews and set them apart from other, more gimmick-oriented revivalists.

The next year, Spanker Madness took fans by surprise with its hootenanny-style structure and heavy cast of guest musicians. Every song revolved around the merits of marijuana, and the humorous approach and loose vibe drafted a new set of fans who were enticed by the band's liberal politics. A clever Christmas album and an EP of more dirty songs (highlighted by the hilarious "Everybody's F**king But Me") held over fans until 2002, when My Favorite Record was released on their own Spanks-a-Lot Records. Mercurial, a typically eclectic outing that included a cover of the Beastie Boys' "Paul Revere" and a hoedown version of Black Flag's "TV Party," was released in 2004, and Re-Assembly arrived in 2006. The Spankers came out with a bouncy, family-oriented album called Mommy Says No! the following year. ~ Richard Skelly & Bradley Torreano, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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Saw them live in the mos esly cantina. But they were wearing some kind of alien outfit? Is that their normal stage attire?
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What can I say? It's the Spankers.
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This chicks voice is so hot!
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Won tickets to see them at la zona rosa and have been a fan ever since
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Cool!
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dude... just realized that this was mos eisley cantina... been trying to place it forever...
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sisiutl99
First night I moved to Austin, Tx in '95 my friends picked me up from the airport, drove us to a lil place called The Outhouse, bought me a Shiner Bock and we took in a Spankers show-great intro to a great city-I'll never forget it and I saw them several times before I moved-unique , fun & supremely Austin!
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j.blixt
The Spankers played Duluth last night in a tiny theater with great sound- what a hilarious, jiving, naughty show -- their first and last in Duluth. Spanks for the memories!
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I learned about this band in '98... they continue to captivate me. I had the opportunity to see them live in Virginia... outstanding!
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So sad that they are breaking up after so long. Catch them during their final tour which concludes March 2010.
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hdfxwg1981
cant wait till they pass threw Eugene again
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just came across this on pandora. LOVE digga digga doo.
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bobondeez
z and walleye and green
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i love how they work in the starwars music....jus t awesome & original...L O V E IT!!
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Absolutely the best concert I have ever been to...I proposed, got a yes, and listened to Whammo tell us "NO". Yaaaaaaaaaay

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scottaheynew e l l
Some of the best live entertainmen t on the planet!
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I definitely must see them live.
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I see them every time they come to town...love 'em!!!
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Love this! Hope I get the chance to see them live.
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great show! love the music.
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Best live band you never heard of...see em if you get the chance
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cstorts
Ridiculously awesome band. Live performances are the best!

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