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Chicken shack cries 'Fowl'

Jimmie's Chicken Shack performs Saturday to promote band's latest album

Jimmie's Chicken Shack performs Saturday to promote band's latest album

March 12, 2009|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

Many years and a couple of major labels later, Jimmie's Chicken Shack is back at Maryland-based Fowl Records, where it all began.

Saturday at Duffy's on Potomac in downtown Hagerstown, they'll be touting their latest album off Fowl, "Fail on Cue."

Fowl put out the early records of Jimmie's Chicken Shack, before the band made its major-label debut with Elton John's Rocket Records in 1997 with "Pushing the Salmonella Envelope."

It seems there's no place like home, said frontman Jimi "Haha" Davies, 40, of Annapolis, Md. They're back at Fowl and they're aiming for the moon.

Davies, who recently got married and has a newborn son, said Jimmie's Chicken Shack is bouncing back from a bit of a break. The Hagerstown show comes ahead of a national tour.

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"You always want that exposure and the ability to travel around," Davies said in a recent interview. "When we had our heyday, as far as being on MTV and being on the radio, it was a really good time for that. But the atmosphere has changed so much. It's few and far between that you ever get that kind of thing going."

Jimmie's Chicken Shack formed in Annapolis in the 1990s. Maryland fans embraced the alternative rockers, which translated to thousands of record sales and then the record deal with Rocket. The momentum carried over with the release of "Bring Your Own Stereo" in 1999. The guys were getting air play on the radio and deemed "buzzworthy" by MTV.

But with fame, came disillusionment.

Davies said the label wanted a sound that was a little more Limp Bizkit than Jimmie's Chicken Shack -- musical turf the guys didn't want to touch.

So the guys parted ways with Rocket. They had a brief stay at indie-label Koch Records, which released the band's 2004 album "Re.Present." Eventually, the band headed back to Fowl. They rolled out "Fail on Cue" in 2008.

"We didn't have anyone second-guessing us," said Davies, who for eight years has been the only remaining original member of the band.

"We made the record we wanted to make and we recorded it ourselves and released it ourselves," Davies said. "It ended up being one of my favorite records that we've done. I just look forward to doing more of that."




Jimmie's Chicken Shack



Genre -- Alternative rock

Hometown -- Annapolis, Md.

Upcoming show -- Downtown Live St. Pat-Rock's Day party. Saturday, March 14. Duffy's on Potomac, 28 S. Potomac St., downtown Hagerstown. Go to www.duffysonpotomac.com for ticket info.

Web -- www.myspace.com/jimmieschickenshack

Q&A with Jimi "HaHa" Davies,
of Jimmie's Chicken Shack



If you all were starting off now, do you think you could have achieved the same level of success or would it be harder?

I think it's harder for everybody right now. Back then, our genre (alternative music) was really starting to make headway. At that point, there was a big buzz about alternative music. We had done really well locally and we had done really well on our own. That's what got us to the point of being signed.

If we were doing that now, I don't know what the situation would be. It's a bleak atmosphere to be doing music, especially in the major-label world.

I think they're looking for the young bands, young kids they can kind of shape into what they want, and that's just not really what we're about.

How was 'Re.Present' perceived compared with the other two albums you did off the major label?

A lot of people didn't even know it came out -- and Koch is a really big indie label. But there's so many releases and, at that point, it's not like we were on MTV getting huge airplay.

And still, there's many people who find out we've had two records since (our 1999 hit "Do Right") and they never even knew about it. We've kind of dipped into obscurity.

How do you make yourself visible in an environment when everyone can start their own label, when everyone is doing it?

You count on thinking that maybe you've made some headway before and that people stuck with you. When the newest record came out, we hired a couple of different companies trying to get the word out that way, and it worked pretty well. ...

Sometimes you just go with that grassroots thing. That's how we broke out in the scene anyway. We did it once, and now we have to keep having to do that same recipe. A little bit of promotion will go a long way. Maybe there will be people reading this article saying, "I didn't know they were still around."

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