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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Bubbapalooza goes back to its country roots


There’s a hefty buzz surrounding this year’s Bubbapalooza at The Star Bar over Memorial Day weekend (May 22-24) . Local musicians across the board are singing praises of the club’s booking agent, Bryan Malone, for helping steer the festival back in the direction that it was originally intended to go when founder Gregory Dean Smalley originally hatched the idea.

This year marks the 12th installment of Bubbapalooza and Creative Loafing contributing music writer James Kelley has lifted a self-imposed six-year exile to play the festival with his band Slim Chance and the Convicts, and he couldn’t be happier about it.

Chad Radford: You give Bubbapalooza your stamp of approval this year?

James Kelley: Yes, I sure do. This year’s lineup is moving back in the direction of where Bubbapalooza originally started, and that was to feature alternative country, country rock, roots music and Americana. The last 4 or 5 years there have been only one or two country bands on the bill for the whole weekend. It had just moved toward hard rock, punk and psychobilly, but this year it's returning to what it used to be.

Who are you most excited to see perform this year?

This is the first time Redneck Greece Deluxe has played in at least five years, so it will be really great to see them at Bubbapalooza again.

Your band, Slim Chance and the Convicts hasn't played there in about that long as well, right?

I haven’t played Bubbapalooza in probably 6 years. I think 2001 was the last one that I did. But in my circle of friends this year people are talking about it; they’re excited about it and are really glad to see some of the older bands who made it what it once was, coming back around again.

How did Bubbapalooza get started in the first place?

It started in '94 with Gregory Dean Smalley who was co-booking The Star Bar at the time. The club had hosted a ‘Trailer Trash’ themed show that was just a one-night show that was a lot of fun. So after that they decided to make it a three-day event. The name, Bubbapalooza was a play on the Lollapalooza. Greg died in March of ’96. After that a portion of the sales has always gone to his surviving son, Raymond or to his mom. I think Bryan [Malone] has done a great job with it this year. There’s enough of the twang stuff for the old timers and enough of the rockin’ stuff for the new crowd that hangs out at The Star Bar these days, so I think that everyone is going to hear something that they like. I’m so happy that it’s coming back.

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