- Jeremy Tubbs
- Sir Raw McCartney
Hours prior to an appearance with The Gizmos at The White Rabbit Cabaret, Jacob Gardner and his gang Raw McCartney do a last-minute run through of their filthy garage punk set, ensuring the night's lineup is ready to go. They're simply going by Raw McCartney today but the group, headed by Gardner, has had several incarnations since its birth. This night is no different. From the initial lineup, known as Raw McCartney's Pussy Eater, to the more recent Raw McCartney's Fried Family Band — which features two of every instrument — the group's revolving lineup of local music buddies holds tight to a carefree spirit through riotous rock and roll.
"On our last tour, Jacob noted that this is the first band he's put together where he picked other members based on the company he wanted to keep, and not out of necessity," said Brian Bissart, a member of the current backing band and Chicago act BIGCOLOUR. "He had the freedom to ask, 'Who would I rather party with?' this time around, which is why there's always someone new at every show. Keeps the entire dynamic of the band interesting to the audience, and to us as well."
A former member of the local psych rock band Crys, Gardner needed an escape from the heady, intense nature of his previous group.
"I kept getting fired from jobs, and I was just getting a really shitty attitude, so I was like, 'I'm going to fucking start a punk band, talk about losing your job,' " Gardner said.
Originally recording simple tracks on his cell phone, Gardner admits Raw McCartney started out as a joke. But as one gnarly guitar riff led to another, he began to find Raw McCartney fulfilling on multiple levels.
"It just felt really fun, really free — way different from Crys or any other project that I've been in because it doesn't matter what it sounds like," Gardner said. "You're just like, 'I like to do it, so I do it,' kind of thing."
Brissart remembers when Garnder first showed him some cell phone selections, from "Pussy Eater" to "Work Is the Mother Fucker That Keeps You Down."
"I guess the sloppiness and disregard for production quality along with these themes initially attracted me," Brissart recalls.
At one time or another, Raw McCartney has included "Tony Beemer, Jimmy Frezza, Sharlene Birdsong, Jared Birden, Bryce and Jeff from Teenage Strange, Benny Sanders, Dave Strother, Rachel Enneking, Jared Coleman, Jered Sheline, Joey Shepard, Christian Taylor, Taylor Shirek, Duncan Kissinger, David 'Moose' Adamson, Dimitri Morris, Adam Gross, Brian Brissart, Sonny Blood, Miss Mess, Mitch Duncan, Jeb Lambert, Jack Graves, Eric 'Doog' Alexander and Adrian Caldera," Gardner says.
"And we've gone by Raw McCartney's Pussy Eater, Spanish Graves, Perfumed Wands, Witches Circle, Fried Family Band, Absolute Trash — and there's a couple more but they aren't coming to mind.
Duncan Kissinger, who currently plays in Raw McCartney along with many other local groups including his solo project Skin Conditions, remembers liking how "off-the-hinges" Gardner's trashy punk tunes were upon first exposure. Although he's played every instrument at least once since joining Raw, Kissinger now finds himself playing drums — a refreshing change of pace considering he hasn't played this instrument in a band for about six years now.
With the December 2013 release of Introducing Raw McCartney on Chicago's Tripp Tapes, as well as an upcoming 7" release with Indy's GloryHole Records, Sir Raw McCartney plans on sticking to his personal rock and roll god, no matter what wily bunch of local talents he recruits to back him.
"I'll probably just keep writing whatever comes out and just playing it because it's usually rock and roll in one form or the other," Gardner said.