I love discovering off the grid talent that sound like their doing it for the pure joy of making music. I hate it when I discover that talent after they’ve already imploded.
I can any Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House was a band Out of Portland, Oregon, that arrived the musical heritage that Of Willie and Waylon and the Country music outlaws of the 70’s that fused country, rock and high-concept themes to evolve the craft while honoring tradition.
A fan once described them as the “country version of Rage Against the Machine” for the left of the political spectrum subject matter addressed by front man Mike Damron.
Damron, an Olahoma native is a former army boxer and served in the 101st Airborne/Air Assault was raised in Las Vegas and, following his military service, bounced between Los Angeles and Dallas, Texas, playing bass in Mercury Records recording artists Tablet, a Dallas-based Brit-pop band that did a tour stint with Oasis.
After a kicking a nasty drug habit and jumping on a Greyhound bound for Portland, Oregon Damron got sick of doing other people’s indie-rock songs in cover bands and began writing his own songs.
A longtime fan of boxing legend John L. Sullivan, the last bare knuckles fighting champion, Damron took a band name from Sullivan’s autobiography (co-written by Gilbert Odd): I Can Lick Any Son of a Bitch in the House: The Riotous Life of the First Heavyweight Champion. Dropping the latter part of the title, and turning Son of a Bitch into one word (Sonofabitch), Damron had a handful of songs, a demo, and a band name.
After paying dues for over a year, I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In the House’s final line-up took permanent form and released the band’s debut full-length, 2002’s Creepy Little Noises, released on Portland-indie In Music We Trust Records.
Besides Damron the band consisted of Flapjack TX on muscle-car style drums. Mole Harris added an big rock sound to the band. Blues-bred David Lipkind was the band’s harmonica player and gave the songs their distinctive Southern punch. Guitar and engineer/producer was covered by Handsome Jon Burbank who cut his teeth on NOFX and was a big fan of El Paso, TXs At The Drive-In. Punk-styled aggression was his calling card in the band.
Damron didn’t just tackle political themes in his songs. Taking a cue from the country legends, Damron blended the topical with the personal. 2004’s release “Menace” contained the song “Westboro Baptist Church” which takes a stab at Westboro Baptist Church head Fred Phelps and their website, http://www.godhatesfags.com, and “Dust and Sun” examines Iraq war from both sides.
“Pauline”, a song Damron wrote for his grandmother, is a prime example of sadness and sorrow mixing together with beauty. “I was with her and holding her at the exact moment she left this world,” says Damron “It’s amazing to see someone’s spirit just up and fly. She was the one good constant in my life. They don’t make people much better than this.”
“Thousand To One” has a strong, personal message, standing tall as a reminder that sometimes your heart and soul is all you have, so don’t give it away too easily.
The date given on their site for the band’s demise is Friday, November 24th, 2006. Also from the site: After 5 plus years of touring, recording, and throwing our middle fingers at the powers that be, I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House is no more. (Mike Damron) has decided to focus on his family and his solo work, and we of course won´t continue without our brother. We can´t thank all of you who have supported us enough; for taking care of us on the road, letting us sleep on your floors and eat your food, sharing the stage with us, or just being the loyal fans that you have been. It is our great hope that we were able to bring to you even a fraction of the love and happiness that you brought to our lives.
Damron is now working on his solo career, and Jon and Flap continue on with their band The Runaway Boys, and Dave with the band Spigot and other projects. Jon will also is also continuing to record, and is taking messages from bands that are interested in recording on the I can any Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House’s Myspace page.
I’m sure during their 5 plus year career I had many occasions to catch I can any Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House live during their relentless touring at a city or town near me. I can say with sincerity I truly regret missing them.