Weekend Takeover With Southern Culture On The Skids

Southern Culture On The Skids will return after three years to reclaim their weekend takeover of the Continental Club on Friday, April 14 and Saturday, April 15.
Southern Culture On The Skids will return after three years to reclaim their weekend takeover of the Continental Club on Friday, April 14 and Saturday, April 15. Photo by Mary Crews
From their band name to their songs and stage presence, humor is the cornerstone of the existence and longevity for rockers Southern Culture On The Skids. “You can't take yourself too seriously in life, in the van or wherever you are,” says the band's founder Rick Miller.

Southern Culture On The Skids will be in town for a two night show on Friday, April 14 and Saturday, April 15 for their yearly Houston weekend takeover of our city’s Continental Club before being the house band for five consecutive nights during Austin’s 20th Annual Lonestar Roundup.

Though the band’s been performing yearly at the club since the club’s opening in 2000, this weekend's show will be the first one since the pandemic shut everything down in 2020 and will serendipitously align with the Houston Art Car Parade.

Southern Culture On The Skids' long friendship with both Continental Clubs began ages ago after Austin owner Steve Wertheimer caught their performance at Liberty Lunch and suggested they would fit in better at his club.

“We took him up on it and we loved it. Steve is a great guy and we loved everything about the Continental Club, what it stood for and its place in the Austin music scene. It's just really great we had a fantastic time,” says Miller.

When the Lonestar Roundup was born, Wertheimer offered the band the chance to play the car show where they could be exposed to a new audience and get to know the city better while taking a short break from their constant touring.

Once the Houston location opened it was a natural fit for the band to expand their Texas stay a little bit longer. “It's kind of a warm up so we're all relaxed and stuff for the car show,” says Miller who always makes sure the band can check out The Light Rock Express next door at The Big Top Lounge after their show.

It's hard to imagine that a band that’s been touring together for so long would need a warm up. Miller started the band in 1983 but has been playing with the iconic trio of Mary Huff and Dave Hartman since 1991.

“I think what's really kept us together is one, that we all have our own seat in the van. That's more important than you'll ever know," he says with a laugh. "The other thing is, we've always been a DIY band. Even when we were on bigger labels, we made our own decisions so if we made a bad decision it was our own fault right.”

Together Huff, Hartman and Miller create a beautiful trifecta of influences both musically and visually with Huff’s bouffants being as identifiable as her bass playing and soulful vocals, Miller’s rocking guitar work and funny frontman energy and Hartman’s mid century modern look and steady rhythm.

“You know it's a total package,” says Miller. “I always thought if you're going to make it in music on your own pretty much, as we have, you gotta do your own thing. You gotta be a little different from a lot of people and have your own angle at it and our whole image and the songs we play, it all fits together for us.”

Southern Culture On The Skids manages to represent a wide variety of genres from rockabilly, soul, R&B to swamp and surf rock all while using their wittiness and levity as the glue that holds it all together.

“I think the humor had always been there,” says Miller. “We have so much fun playing with musical genres. I like to say it’s a lot like a southern plate lunch, you've got your potatoes and your meat but it all runs together in the middle and that's your best bite.”

"It’s a lot like a southern plate lunch, you've got your potatoes and your meat but it all runs together in the middle and that's your best bite.”

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Miller on his part grew up as a “bicoastal kid” splitting time between California and North Carolina, where the band is still based out of, creating a great blend of influences from both areas.

“We all had some different influences but I think the one thing that brought us together was punk rock in the beginning because people that started bands in the late ‘70s and ‘80s, you couldn't escape it. It was what motivated you, just the idea that you could do the DIY thing. Just get out there and make some noise and I think that's a common thread.”
For a band with a longtime cult following, Southern Culture On The Skids has historically teetered between mainstream success with songs like “Camel Walk” and that DIY approach that has made them exactly who they are.

During the shutdown, the band recorded a sweet treat for their fans with At Home With Southern Culture On The Skids where unlike many other COVID projects, the band maintained their light and playful energy despite the desperate energy of the world.
The track "Call Me" describes the loneliness and absurd nature of the lockdown time.  It was written right on Miller's front porch and inspired by a real life event involving a grocery store employee who recognized Miller through his mask and offered to give him the heads up when the store received more toilet paper.

“We didn't know what to do with ourselves and we were very nervous about being able to make any income so we just decided to make a record and use our time that we had and our fans bought it. It was really good and it really helped us out.”

Southern Culture On The Skids will perform Friday, April 14 with The High Roller and Saturday, April 15 with Shame On Me at The Continental Club,3700 Main. 8 p.m, $27-42.
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Gladys Fuentes is a first generation Houstonian whose obsession with music began with being glued to KLDE oldies on the radio as a young girl. She is a freelance music writer for the Houston Press, contributing articles since early 2017.
Contact: Gladys Fuentes