Arts & Culture

Discover All Things Regional in Central PA’s art and culture scene. Join hosts Cary Burkett and Joe Ulrich as they make artistic discoveries throughout the midstate. From music and visual arts to theatre, museums, literature and more! Listen every Wednesday and Friday on witf 89.5 and 93.3 for features highlighting the best and brightest cultural happenings in the region.

Rob Zombie Meets Emmet Otter: Shane Speal's Snake Oil Band

Written by Joe Ulrich, Arts & Culture Desk and witf Host | Aug 19, 2014 9:38 AM

You may remember Shane Speal from an earlier feature about his interest and passion for cigar box guitars. Since then Speal has pulled together a band and funding from a record label to produce Holler!, an album by Shane Speal's Snake Oil Band.

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So what does his new band sound like?

"Bluesbiscuits.com [said], 'If Rob Zombie had a jug band it would sound like this'", says Speal. "One other person told me that we are the perfect mixture of Emmet Otter's Jug Band and the Riverbottom Nightmare Band from the same special. It is hard rock and blues mixed with jug band instruments."

The name of the album, Holler, comes from historic prison chants and field hollers. "The call and response type of thing that you would see slaves or prisoners chanting out in the fields as they're working...and we wanted to bring that in because that's sort of the great-grandfather of hip-hop and blues," says Speal.

Go see a live performance of Shane Speal's Snake Oil Band and it's like a history lesson run through a distortion pedal with rubber chickens soaring over overhead.

"The appearance of the band is like an old snake oil medicine show," Speal says. "It's a theatrical show...Some of my biggest influences are KISS, Blue Man Group, STOMP and more theatrical shows like that, so that's what we want to bring to people...We're launching rubber chickens out into the audience. We've got confetti canons going off...It's a radical departure from any kind of blues show you would go see right now."

The album is available as a download or CD at his website and on iTunes.

Shane Speal and his band will be at the Cigar Box Guitar Festival in York this weekend. He and harmonica player Aaron Lewis stopped into WITF for a more mellow performance, sans-rubber chickens, which can be seen below.



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