NYE Block Party (12/31) INTERVIEW: Legendary Shack Shakers

by • December 14, 2016

JD Wilkes is already planning his funeral. Not surprising, if you consider the absolute ludicrous stunts the Legendary Shack Shakers’ frontman performs during a show almost every night. The first word in the band’s name seems like an eye roll-inducing hyperbole  … unless you’ve seen them live or keep up with who Robert Plant is listening to these days.

The Kentucky boys have been around for over 20 years, (21) and with minimal grease, patch up, or pep talk, these rowdy Eraserhead motherf*ckers are the same plucky kids from the South, and they’re pushing on the gas like a hooker to hell.

Exclusive Interview with Legendary Shack Shakers below.


You’ve shared the stage with a lot of incredible acts over the years including fellow Will’s Pub NYE lineup band, Reverend Horton Heat. You seem to have a symbiotic relationship, how did you guys meet/start working together?

We were paired together by our booking agents after the Shack Shakers had opened for other acts at his level; Hank Williams III, Southern Culture on the Skids, Los Straitjackets. I think he’s had us back because we add our own little extra crowd and, according to him, he was first into blues harp music and Little Walter years ago. Who knew?!

Last time you were at Will’s Pub one of our writers said, “A friend of mine leaned over to me more than once and said it felt like we’d stepped into a David Lynch movie.” How do you get into “character,” so to speak, or prepare before performing?

I don’t prepare. There’s no hippie chanting in a circle with the band backstage or anything. I just enjoy what I do. Something just happens AS the music is played. It’s an altered state to a degree, yes, but I’m in control enough to hit my marks.

You can call it Improv. You can call it the Stream of Consciousness. You can call it “The Unfettered Id”. You can call it Primal Scream Therapy.

But ya don’t has’ta call it Johnson.”

Do rehearsals get that crazy and dangerous at times, too?

We don’t rehearse! Can’t you tell? Constant touring is our rehearsal, with occasional new tunes tried out during sound checks.

Besides, it’s the illusion of danger at our shows anyway. We couldn’t play in the same band & keep it going as a small business for 21 years and really be insane. One can’t keep doing business like that night after night. It’s Show Business after all.

Southern Culture has indelibly influenced your sound since your inception. What is one Southern staple you can’t live without? (A food, an instrument, etc…)

Banjos and Barbeque. Sounds like the name of some stupid festival. But it’s true.

Kentucky two-finger-style banjo-playing on a 5-string open-back banjo, and North Carolina-style pulled pork, with Paducah Kentucky’s own Starnes BBQ sauce rubbed in. RC and Moonpie dessert.

(Sorry that was five or six things.)

Lastly, if you could have one artist, dead or alive, perform at your funeral, who would it be?

I already plan to have The Pine Hill Haints from North Alabama come sing “The Parting Glass” at my funeral, deep in the woods of Livingston County, KY.

It’ll be so cool, I can hardly wait!

Legendary Shack Shakers Interview by Sarah “Sweaty Septum” Schumaker.

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