***Less than 24 hours after the Independents performed at the Alabama Music Box, many states in the Southern, Midwestern, and Eastern regions of the United States were hit by what the media have called one of the most destructive tornado days in U.S. History. Links on where and how to provide help is included at the end of this article, including information on the benefit concert on May 9th at the Soul Kitchen in Mobile, Alabama***

With the blacktop straightaway leading me home, I nod farewell to the childhood friends who now command the center of Dauphin street in Mobile, Alabama. After my night in the company of The Independents, Evil Presley and Willy B. stand in dark glory amid a Mobile mob.

It’s 4am in the morning and my fourth Independents’ show is notched on the brain. Eight hours as witness to the brotherhood of two friends who met in 3rd grade. Like brothers, they owned that street together. Like brothers, they owned the bar together, and without question, like brothers, they owned the stage together.

Bouncing back and forth on the Gulf Coast leg of their tour, I missed The Independents’ Easter Sunday show in Pensacola as well as the following shows in Ft. Walton and Tallahassee. Their show at the Alabama Music Box hit do-not-miss, priority status and after talking with Evil later in the night, I’m beyond thankful that I made it to the show.

Leading the parade of rock were Mobile misfits, The F’n A-holes. The Alabama trio have been playing their raunch-rock style of music since 2005. Cleverly mixing the sounds of rock, punk, roots and rock-a-billy with their own work-hard, play-hard ethic, the group, led by Joey F’ Stick (vocals/guitar), Chris C. (drums) and Kelley (bass) hit the stage and set the boom-stick meter to bang.

Following The F’n A-holes were the Handsome Scoundrels. Also hailing from Mobile, the punk group of Robert Giles (vocals/guitar), Michael McAuliffe (bass/vocals), Andy Scott (drums) and Jeff Huggins (guitar/vocals) fired away and set up the crowd for The Independents’ entrance to the stage.

Horror, punk, metal and ska for a fix, The Independents obviously have a hell-of-a-time on stage. The ride is a fast, rocky mosh of energy. With their mandatory standards and covers rip-ready, Evil Presley (vocals)jumped off the stage and joined the madness in the pit. Joining Evil Presley, Willy B. (guitar), and Rob Gilly (bass) on this leg of the tour was Mark Holt who was also the drummer for the 80’s punk band Bazooka Joe.

Smoothly serenading a lady who had curved her way to a more comfortable view near the stage, Evil quickly transitioned from horror-punk lothario to evil-party instigator, rousing the mob with the band’s cover of Van Halen’s “Dance the Night Away.” At an Independents’ show, you can join the ride or watch from afar, but you will move or be moved if Evil and Willy have their way.

After the show, The Independents stepped off stage and took in the crowd. With the same energy and enthusiasm I’ve seen them give to all of their fans, the brothers, Evil and Willy B., continued the party throughout the bar and into the streets.

-Michael L. Smith

-Related Link- The Independents and The F’n A-holes at The Handlebar in Pensacola, Florida 10/21/10

—————————————Evil Presley Interview———————————————

Following their show at the Alabama Music Box in Mobile, Alabama, The Independents hung out with the crowd and Evil Presley graciously answered a few questions.

(Warning: Adult language ahead)

TCAS: What are your plans for 2011?

EP: We’re going to try and find some reliable band mates. Are bass player’s a great guy, he’s been with us for awhile. And the drummer we have now is a fill-in guy. I wish he could stay with us. He is a great drummer, but he has a wife and kids….we’re gonna record a lot of f*ckin..we’re gonna go in and record four songs at a time, put them on i-tunes and stuff. I know people love to download stuff. We’ve got a Christmas record we’re working on. We’ve got the f*ckin thing done 10 years ago, but we never had the right musicians to finish recording it. We’re gonna record that, we’ve got a bunch of recordings to do…soundtracks we’re working on. We’re just gonna try and record a lot. Really cut back on our touring, We’re gonna do more bigger shows instead of smaller shows. Everybody’s so used to us always being on the road. It’s hard, It’s hard for us. We’ve toured so much it’s like…you know you wanna…you come back…200 people and it’s like everybody knows you’ll be back in 6 months. So it’s like, you know what? We’re gonna come back once a year. Mainly start recording more, we also got a screen-printing business; we’re gonna do that. Work some soundtracks out. I might work on a solo record. I really want to have a big band horror…I wanna do cool cover songs…12…14…20 covers. It would be awesome. Play some shows. Have a good time. I really think about doing that. Give Will a break.

TCAS: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

EP: Always be yourself and don’t f*ckin’ listen to anybody else. Don’t be sh*tty. It may be hard in the long run to just be yourself and do it..what you really want to do…but….integrity, and your heart’s there and you never sell yourself short. Just believe in what you believe in and have a good time. Don’t settle for anybody else’s b*llshit. The world is already f*cked up. America is the best country in the world, but we are turning to sheep…I’m gonna get drunk and talk crazy shit…all these f*ckin’ news channels are so biased. When you look at BBC America. When I get on my wii…which I bought for the fitness thing. I do that for a month..I swear…I tried it, but my house is so small, I got all of this Chinese, Japanese pottery and stuff..it’s real expensive…it’s all shaking because I’m snow skiing and sh*t, so I just stopped. But I get my wii and look at my news on wii because it’s the only way to get real news…unbiased…just the facts…make your own f*ckin’ mind up…

TCAS: No spin.

EP: No spin. Am I’m getting a little off the wall here?

TCAS: No. How did you and Willy B. meet?

EP: I was best friends with his little brother. And Will said I tried to beat him up in 3rd grade or something. I was always a big kid, but I don’t believe that sh*t. He whipped my ass a couple of times.

TCAS: One last question…Crunchy or creamy peanut butter?

EP: I like…you know what my big thing is? I like almond butter, dude.

TCAS: Almond butter?

EP: Almond butter.

A chorus of people around us: Almond butter?

EP: Almond butter is the sh*t. But Captain Crunch peanut butter…That’s what I’m talkin’ about! (Evil looks me in the eye, grins, smiles and then gives a big laugh)
-Michael L. Smith

CNN article on the devastation caused by the Tornado catastrophe. Including interview with Tuscaloosa Mayor Walter Maddox

Link with a list of “resources for the recovery effort: Drop-off sites, blood drives as well as ways to help through national agencies.

Benefit for North Alabama Tornado Victims at The Soul Kitchen in Mobile, Alabama. Including The F’ n A-holes and other artists from Alabama and Florida.

ABC news article list and ways to help storm victims.