$20

The White Animals with Walk The West

Event Information

Performers
Share this event

Date and Time

Location

Location

Songbirds

35 Station Street

Chattanooga, TN 37408

View Map

Event description
Doors: 8PM | 18+ with Valid ID Rock Music

About this Event

They weren't the most successful band to come out of the Southeast during the '80s (R.E.M. hold that distinction), or even the most critically acclaimed (that would be Jason & the Scorchers), but Nashville's the White Animals may well have been the most beloved. Mixing '60s British Invasion influences with a '70s punk aesthetic, a dash of psychedelic flavor, and dub rhythms, the White Animals managed to appeal to both jaded indie rock fans and mainstream college kids alike. Punching the clock close to 300 nights a year, the White Animals played every show, whether for drunken frat boys or at the local punk club, like it might be their last.

The White Animals were formed in 1980 by Dr. Kevin Gray, a resident at Nashville's Vanderbilt Hospital. Originally an acoustic duo with Gray and his guitar teacher, the project took on a life of its own with the addition of guitarist Rich Parks, bassist Steve Boyd, and drummer Ray Crabtree. The quartet formed their own Dread Beat label to release the Nashville Babylon EP in 1981. Produced by "dubmaster" Tim Coats, the disc's mix of pop covers, paisley punk, and dub beats received heavy airplay on several college radio stations. Coats was asked to join the band full-time, leading to the 1982 release of Lost Weekend, which yielded college-radio hits in Lee "Scratch" Perry-inspired covers of "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" and "Secret Agent Man." With principal songwriters Gray and Boyd gaining confidence and valuable experience on the road, the White Animals released their biggest album, Ecstasy, in 1984. Videos for the songs "Don't Care" and "This Girl of Mine" were put into regular rotation on MTV while the band's extended version of the rock chestnut "Gloria" became a fixture of their live show. Released in 1985, the White Animals' self-titled third album was recorded in Memphis with superstar bass player Busta Cherry Jones producing. Live!, a collection of covers and crowd favorites culled from several Southeast performances, was released in 1986. The band released their swan song, In the Last Days, in 1987, breaking up shortly thereafter.

Unlike a lot of bands at the time, the White Animals never took themselves too seriously. They had a good seven-year run, opening for bands like the Kinks, the Ramones, and Talking Heads, but they always knew that adulthood and careers lie on the horizon.

At the height of their short career, the popularity of Nashville's Walk the West rivaled that of EMI labelmates Jason & the Scorchers on the Southeast circuit. Walk the West was formed in 1984 by guitarist/vocalist Paul Kirby, the son of songwriter Dave Kirby (writer of "Is Anybody Goin' to San Antone?", childhood friends John and Will Golemon, and drummer Richard Ice. The band's rise in popularity echoed that of other similar mid-'80s Nashville artists like Will Rambeaux & the Delta Hurricanes, leading to a deal with EMI America that resulted in the band's lone, self-titled album in 1986, produced by Jozef Nuyens. The band's country-rock hybrid received a modicum of critical applause but failed to reach a national audience in a field dominated by cowpunks like the Beat Farmers and hometown heroes Jason & the Scorchers. In the end, the members of Walk the West found it easier to switch than to continue fighting the stigma of proving themselves as a rock band in the home of country music. Kirby and the Golemans would form the Cactus Brothers as a twangier side project, eventually taking the plunge and abandoning Walk the West while pursuing country stardom full-time in 1989.

Share with friends

Performers

Date and Time

Location

Songbirds

35 Station Street

Chattanooga, TN 37408

View Map

Save This Event

Event Saved