The 10-song Hillbilly Resistance album is now available on Bandcamp at http://michiganmike.bandcamp.com/album/michael-james-klunk-and-the-hillbilly-resistance
During his stay in Phoenix, AZ back in 2002 JJV took a young singer/songwriter by the name of Michael James Klunk under his wing. "He was the real deal. He wasn't trying to be Rockabilly or Retro or whatever, he was just raw like that, " J.J. recounted years later. 'Michigan Mike' Horning was enlisted on upright bass but no drummer seemed to fit with the three of them. "That's when I decided it was meant to be a Rockabilly trio. Klunk had a right hand from hell on that acoustic, Michigan Mike was slapping that doghouse bass, and I was supplying the hooks and fills. The exact same instrumentation as most of the Sun Records stuff, the original Rockabilly."
With Michigan Mike recording the band at his Doghouse Studios and J.J. stepping up to fill the role of producer it became an even-split group effort. "The songs are all Klunk's, we were there to play his tunes. Michigan Mike engineered and mixed the recordings, and I produced them. Everybody served a specific purpose besides playing their instrument. That album is the definition of 'collaboration'," reminisced J.J.
The album is also the definition of Rock 'n' Roll. Ten songs burn with raw abandon like a runaway locomotive. "We had been rehearsing in Michigan Mike's studio for a while so when we recorded we just set up the mics, hit 'Record' and did what we usually did. It's three musicians playing in the same room together, the way it's supposed to be. Everything is live, first or second take. The backing vocals are the three of us standing around one mic. They're also the only overdubs."
The album's highlight is the haunting "Six In The Chamber". J.J. recalls, "Klunk didn't want to do it. We tried to talk him into it but he kept balking. Finally he agreed to do it just to get us off his back, but he would only do it once. Wouldn't even let us run it down first. Fortunately we nailed it in that one take."
What has made The Hillbilly Resistance an underground classic for the last 12 years is its appeal to the general public. "Joe Lunchbox digs it, not just Rockabilly or Americana or Roots Rock fans. The old records we took our cue from didn't try to be cute and clever, they just played their hearts out and their asses off. That's why those records still sound fresh half a century or more later. And that's what we went for. We didn't start out trying to make a Rockabilly trio album. Klunk had songs that had a Rockabilly vibe and when we couldn't find a drummer that's when I decided to step up as producer and go for that vocal/acoustic guitar / electric guitar / upright bass instrumentation that's the hallmark of a lot of Rockabilly. It happened naturally and spontaneously."