The Big Damn Band
The Rev Takes Us Down Home
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Like all good bluesmen, the Reverend Peyton has a legend to go along with his larger-than-life personality. According to Big Damn Band lore, he gave up on music after a show gave him crippling hand pain and the doctor told him he’d never be able to get ol’ lefty into fretting position again. A year later, he got a new doc and lost a chunk of scar tissue. While he recovered he met his future wife, Breezy, and when the bandages came off — like a miracle — his hand was more flexible than ever. Finally, he could play the “finger” blues he’d never been able to pluck before. Breezy bought a washboard and they teamed up with the Rev’s brother Jayme on drums, and the rest reads like something out of a bluegrass band fairytale.
The Big Damn Band were touring hard long before SideOneDummy Records signed them in 2008. They put out three wildly successful albums and an EP by themselves, which they supported with relentless touring. “We’re on the road 250 days a year,” the Rev explains in a deep Hoosier drawl. “There isn’t any one place we like more than other places. We’ll go anywhere, play with anybody.”
Going anywhere and playing with anybody includes a run on Flogging Molly’s Green 17 tour and multiple showcases at SXSW and the Vans Warped Tour, which they’ll be returning to conquer again this summer.
Their shows are hard-rocking barn burners that keep fans stomping along till the floor’s ready to give and the crowd is just a wave of sweaty, drunken cacophony. Breezy is notorious for wearing through washboards — which are made of steel, mind you — and the Rev rants and hollers like a street corner preacher.
“There are people who want to call us blues or bluegrass or punk, but we just play down home music … The songs are about what we’re going through. We write from experience. Times are hard for everybody … everybody can relate,” the Rev says. “It might be happening to us, but it happens all over the country.”
2010 is looking to be another big year for Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band. After Jayme departed in late-2009, Breezy and the Rev called in “a distant cousin” named Aaron to fill the drum stool. “Touring just wore [Jayme] out,” he says. “When you’re on the road so much … it’s hard.”
But they’re keeping it positive. “The new album’s called The Wages, it’s out in May. We’re real excited about it. It’s better than ever.” | RDW
Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band• 3/4, 8 p.m. • The Magic Bag • 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale • 248.544.3030 • bigdamnband.com & themagicbag.com • $10
The Big Damn Rumors
- Rumor has it that before striking out on the road, the band sold off their worldly possessions in a massive yard sale.
- The band got an early offer from a blues label. They declined as they’d already sold more copies of The Pork’n’Beans Collection out of the back of their van than the label had ever sold of a release.
- Breezy’s torn-up washboards can be bought off the Big Damn Band website.
- The band is the only band in rock ’n’ roll with a five-gallon bucket endorsement.
- The Reverend is a Kentucky Colonel. Seriously.
- “Your Cousin’s on COPS” is a true story. Breezy’s cousin was arrested in an incident involving the Indy 500, and the band saw it on COPS.
- The Big Damn Band was the house band for a Jerry Springer Pay-Per-View special. (This is true, we swear.)
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