One-man psychobilly band Joe Buck has learned a lot

Jim Findley, aka Joe Buck, is a pretty uncompromising fellow, which is about what you'd expect of someone who names a band Joe Buck Yourself.

Of course, the band is just him, pounding the drum and wielding the guitar like a bayonet with which he intends to carve his impression on you. His songs " such as "Hillbilly Speedball," "Bitter Is the Day," "Planet Seeth" and "Evil Motherfucker from TN" " are delivered with the intensity of the hardcore punk he cut his young teeth on, writhing with angry, unrestrained fury.

"I'm an idealist. I believe in some utopic fucking thing where there's amazing arts and beautiful intellect, and people are for each other," Buck said. "But that's not where it's at. So what do I do now? I go fight. I am at war, and that's why the shit sounds like that."

Buck grew up in Missouri, the son of a farmer in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Put off by the country music broadcast on the radio, he played in dozens of ragged rock outfits before finally ending up in Nashville, Tenn., where he took up with the ultimate hillbilly punk, Hank Williams III, and joined him, playing the upright bass scowling and wild-eyed, like a demonic mental patient. Buck owned a bar in Nashville " Jim & Layla's " where he started another band, seminal psychobilly rockers Th' Legendary Shack Shakers.

Then he lost it all.

Buck played all the instruments " bass, guitar, drums " and produced the Shakers' tremendous debut, "Cockadoodledon't," before group bassist Mark Robertson and manic frontman J.D. Wilkes kicked him out in 2003. Buck blames jealousy over his high profile and charismatic stage antics.

"(J.D.) didn't like not being the whole show, which was why we started " two front guys are better than one. But yeah, I worked my brains out to get that going and get a phone call," Buck said. "But that was the best thing that happened to me. I wouldn't want to be around either of them for anything."

He went on to join Hank III's band full-time, but the heavy road regime broke up Buck's marriage, and his wife took the bar. But that, too, he calls a good thing. He said it taught him a lesson, which he hopes to communicate in an autobiography he's writing.

"It's just about pummeling myself with alcohol and drugs, and losing everything," he said. "Being desperate and having nothing, only to have the realization that the only things you need are the shit you carry inside of you, because those are the things people can't take away."

Things are simpler now. As the sole member of his band, Buck's home is on wheels behind him 200 nights a year. He's working on his second full-length release of high-throttle, bared-teeth rockabilly-punk. The new album, due out this summer, is fueled like butane by the darkness and selfishness of the times.

"My job is taking what I see and spitting it back out. The rage is not about people; it's about ideas. I don't blame people," he said. "I do this so hard because if I (can) go and rock out, and somebody smiles or points or laughs or whatever, it's like I did something." "Chris Parker

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