Longneck Strangler is more than just another country band.
If both their love of rock and roll and their being from Detroit may deny Longneck Strangler an invitation from the Grand Ol’ Opry, a quick inspection of Longneck Strangler reveals qualities that rank them with any other country band on the market. Singer Ricky Lentz plays acoustic guitar while showcasing an impressive voice that has been compared to the likes of randy Travis and George Strait. Guitarist ‘Guitar Rick’ Browarski may sling a Gibson Flying V and make you think you’re seeing Joe Perry…but he does stop moving to work the steel guitar. Drummer Jeremy Kanouse knows when to keep four-on-the floor – and when not to. Bassist Kevin “KD” Davis lays down the most solid two-feel this side of the Mason-Dixon while (occasionally) wearing a cowboy hat. These four musicians combine diverse but overlapping backgrounds into the Longneck Strangler sound, which, for the sake of simplicity, you could arguably label country…or rock and roll.
And from My First Rodeo…..
Longneck Strangler’s latest CD – Misery Loves Company – continues to break the barriers that have grown between these estranged musical cousins. Misery Loves Company captures the rock and country mix that has those who first hear Longneck Strangler saying; “I don’t like country music, but I like what you boys do.”
From the heartbreaking ballad of “One More Drinking Song” to the barn-burning stomp of “Big Bad Daddy”, through the playfully tongue-in-cheek “Don’t Your Worry Darlin’” and the radio-bound “You Can Count On Me”, Misery Loves Company showcases the writing and performing talents that have made Longneck Strangler must-return artists at every venue that they play. On their first full-length album of all original material, Longneck Strangler exhibits their understanding and appreciation of an abundance of musical styles and influences, all while presenting a sound that is clearly their own.
Sure, Misery Loves Company has some songs about drinking, but the title track is a moment of sober reflection dressed in the coat of Waylon Jennings. “Tell It Walkin’” provides a classic tale of when it’s time to leave, while the diesel-fueled “Miles To Go” has us all taking that long ride home again…but not before we make a stop at the Opry to hear a live performance of “Miss Me When I’m Gone”.
The music on Misery Loves Company is a reflection of the road-tested Longneck Strangler – a non-stop powerhouse, capable of switching styles and shifting colors at a moment’s notice. One night, Longneck Strangler is backing up Uncle Kracker, filling in for Kenny Chesney and his band to deliver a rendition of “When The Sun Goes Down”. On another night, Longneck Strangler supports Mitch Ryder through a string of his greatest hits. Other bands find themselves outgunned when Longneck Strangler shares a festival bill (Downtown Hoedown, Arts, Beats and Eats, etc…). Their performance has prompted legendary drummer Johnny “Bee” Badanjek (Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, Edgar Winter, the Rockets, Howling Diablos) to ask the crowd “how do you follow that?”
Their 2009 release – Longneck Strangler Plays The Hits! –is a testimonial to how Longneck Strangler thrilled the crowds and filled the evenings between the first round and the last call as they took the stage at nearly one hundred shows over the past year. Longneck Strangler Plays The Hits! is a “thank you” to all the fans who have watched Longneck Strangler develop their own sound by ‘Strangling’ the songs we all know and love.
When Longneck Strangler overdrives Hank Williams Sr.’s “Hey Good Lookin’ ” to a swinging 140 beats per minute, is this country music? When Longneck Strangler applies steel guitar and the two-step to the Rolling Stones’ “Honky Tonk Woman”, is it only rock and roll? George Jones, Guns N’ Roses, Johnny Cash, AC/DC, David Allan Coe, Queen…it all gets Strangled.
Longneck Strangler’s first CD – My First Rodeo – is the first serving of the their country rock stew, produced by Chuck Alkazian (Sponge, Christina Aguilera, Uncle Kracker), and recorded at Pearl Sound in Canton, MI. Though only a five song EP, My First Rodeo yielded such crowd sing-along favorites as the true-life “Out Getting Drunk Over You”, the blistering “Take Me Off This Mountain”, the swingin’ door honky-tonk of “Choose You Over Booze” and the instantly infectious rocker “Gone, Gone, Gone”.
Mississippi-born lead vocalist Ricky Lentz is the southern gentleman of Longneck Strangler, adding fiddle and harmonica along with his vocal talents. Ricky may sport an acoustic guitar, but he is also a gifted lead guitarist who has chosen to focus on his singing with Longneck Strangler. Regardless of the instrument, his musical pedigree is guaranteed.
Jeremy Kanouse, the longhaired drummer, is Longneck Strangler’s wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing. Though the drummer’s role in country music is typically restrained, when the moment calls Jeremy will channel the power of John Bonham, Keith Moon and Mitch Mitchell. You’ll also hear that this lifelong drummer is an outstanding singer, as Jeremy has been the lead vocalist in many bands prior.
The gunslinger is “Guitar Rick” Browarski. Give him eight bars and he’ll show you that “Guitar Rick” is more than a way to avoid mispronouncing his surname (bro-var-skee). Rick holds a degree in music from the renowned Wayne State University Jazz Studies program, though his formal education is balanced with countless gigs in all styles of music.
Kevin Davis – “KD” to his friends – has country music in his blood, as his aunt and uncle are Country Music Hall Of Fame inductees who worked with George Jones for many years. KD brought both Rick and Ricky together into an earlier project, Jo Caine and 75 North, a Detroit-based southern rock powerhouse that was often described as a modern-day Lynyrd Skynyrd. KD has also been known to play bass for Uncle Kracker.
A little bit Hank, a little bit AC/DC and a healthy dose of twang, flash and honky-tonk – they’re all a part of the Longneck Strangler sound. As the boys would say – to borrow a phrase – Longneck Strangler is a lot of country, and a lot of rock and roll.