Gin, demons, all good fun 

Big John Bates and the Voodoo Dollz

Who: Big John Bates and the Voodoo Dollz

When: Saturday, Aug. 5, 10 p.m.


Tickets: $8

Learning his show was a part of the Canadian Barbecue Championships festivities this weekend, psychobilly rocker Big John Bates was excited to pull his Voodoo Barbecue song from the band’s three-album library for a smokin’ Whistler show Saturday, Aug. 5 at Dusty’s.

"It’s a Louisiana sort of song," he says from his Vancouver sailboat – which he notes is equipped with a much-used, well-loved barbecue grill. "It’s about this witch, a voodoo practitioner who makes the singer, the protagonist, into some voodoo zombie by inviting them out to the voodoo barbecue."

Like the song, Big John Bates and the Voodoo Dollz deliver a dark and bizarre, but not without humour, one-of-a-kind show that carries listeners into another world straight from hell.

Throw all morals aside, the show combines psychobilly rock with naughty burlesque babes; ear and eye candy slotted onto one stage.

Raunchy hedonistic-inspired lyrics put the evil back in rock ’n’ roll with plenty of shock-value, punked-up sounds and sights.

Bates emphasizes the punk-rockabilly music, anteed up by pasty-wearing women, is not a gimmick; rather they are an extension of each other.

"Some people think it’s a novelty," he says of the burlesque dancers. "I wouldn’t classify it as that. Everything is all interactive. It’s a full package. Plus I know so many burlesque dancers – what was I supposed to do?"

Cheeky humour keeps even the most Goth of sounds lovable. The band even performed at the athletes’ village in Utah during the 2002 Winter Olympics, with a follow up feature in Maclean’s magazine.

Does the band ever take it too far?

"Nope," Bates responds without missing a beat. "We are not too raunchy. It’s not dirty. The girls are pretty entertaining. There is a lot of humour in what we do. We want to leave people with a real sense of fun."

And good music.

The crew recently released their new album, Take Your Medicine , in Europe to rave reviews. Bates is currently negotiating with Canadian labels, including Universal. The band toured Europe in early spring and is warming up for a cross-Canada tour in October. While the band performs more than 100 shows a year, only a handful ever take place in Vancouver/Whistler. The band’s last show in Whistler, at the Garibaldi Lift Company, sold out.

Take Your Medicine tracks move through distorted blues and primitive Goth rock with film noir tales such as waking up at an afterparty in Hollywood Hills to find a dead person in your bed.

"We are certainly singing about topics out of the ordinary," he says. "The production runs from Jack White to Screaming Jay Hawkins. It’s fast and blues-rockabilly based."

Gospel mania, raw rock and even country work their way into the original music – but not the Dixie Chicks kind.

"I like country," he says. "Hank Three, Hank Williams’s grandson, is amazing. He is a bit of a rebel, trying to put the madness and darkness and outlaw lifestyle back into country."

The highly riveting ghoulish rock and roll show begins at 10 p.m. Tickets are $8.


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