By: Dan Agacki
If you consult Men's Fitness's list of the Top Ten Most Superstitious Athletes, you will find former Boston Red Sox third baseman Wade Boggs at number five. His daily routine included numerous superstitions, namely eating chicken before every game. With a career spanning 2440 games in 18 years, that's a lot of chicken, which led former teammate Jim Rice to dub him “Chicken Man.” Obviously, Boggs loved chicken – so much so that he co-authored (along with his wife, Debbie Boggs) the book Fowl Tips: My Favorite Chicken Recipes.
Milwaukee's Doubletruck has been quietly active for the last two years. “Two years and two shows,” joked bassist Zach Lewis. “Two with chicken, two dozen without.” singer Zeb Hall quickly added. “See, that's how long we've been a band, I already forgot my first stage gimmick – eating rotisserie chicken.” With the insular humor that friendships manifest, a band was born. “I was wearing a Wade Boggs jersey. The chicken man, chicken joke,” Hall explained. “We also had a song called 'Bruce Rooster,' so there was a running chicken theme early on.”
If you ask the members of Doubletruck what their name means, the answer can vary wildly from member to member. “[in faux Southern accent] The only thing cooler than a truck, is a double truck,” said Hall. “We were listening to a lot of Butthole Surfers and Country Teasers around the time we started the band, so I feel like I was on a real faux Hee-Haw kick.” Before arriving at Doubletruck, the band threw around names like Butt Mountain, Butt Hunter, and Butt Wizard. “We settled on the most stupid,” Lewis said.
As much as humor plays a part in the Doubletruck narrative, their music is nothing to joke about. Their songs present a take on Black Sabbath style heaviness, with the lurching qualities of the early Melvins records. “I'll write a riff and Miles [Harbury, guitarist] will make it stupider,” said Lewis. “Then he'll write a riff and I'll try to make it stupider. So it becomes something we [individually] couldn't think of.”
Vocally, Hall's approach brings to mind the belligerent styles of Birthday Party-era Nick Cave and Scratch Acid's David Yow. While there's no shortage of Sabbath/Nick Cave/Melvins comparisons being bandied about as of late, Doubletruck's approach presents a freshness and virility that separates them from the riff and swagger copping con artists that comprise much of modern heavy music.
Contrary to their laid back demeanor, Doubletruck skipped the usual practice of releasing a demo, emerging with a cohesive album length cassette in 2015. Recorded with a single microphone, the primitive process captured an electric performance. The album shows a range among its 14 tracks-from the slow angular riffs of "B.M.B.M" to punk-y rocker "Killer Die". Throughout, the lumbering smear of a cowboy drawl is spewed over the top. It all ends with a distant piano on "Machine", the album's closer.
Even in a relatively short two year existence, the members of Doubletruck recognize that their band is already evolving. “It's more thoughtful now” said Harbury. “Not to say it wasn't before, but it was a little bit loose and free.” “Anything goes when you start a band, and now we try harder.” added Lewis. With the added effort comes a greater complexity in song structure. “[The songs] were weird, but almost like song-y songs,” said drummer Doug Mellon. “Now I almost feel like they're three songs in one sometimes.” The band credits the changes to members growing confident in their roles within the group.
With their second album nearing completion, the members are unsure what they will do with the finished product. The band hinted at plans for more releases beyond the new album, but nothing that has been made official. They are happy to keep their future plans on an attainable level. “That's the gold at the end of the rainbow, if we can get to where those Soup Moat guys are,” said Hall. “I love those guys.”
As a band that grew out of inside jokes between friends, Doubletruck understand that their band isn't solely for its members. “We get all our friends, then you also get some guy I've never seen at a show before wearing all camo and he's like 'Doubletruck, alright brother!' you know,” said Hall. “Not to sound like a total ego maniac, but when you get praise from a stranger, it is exciting. It's even more exciting when you get it from two very different types of strangers.” As a testament to the band's inclusive nature, Harbury said, “We like to put the fun we're having onto other people.”
Doubletruck play High Dive on March 12th with Rash and Sufferhead. Click the link for more info.