Throw Rag

In the middle of the otherwise barren Colorado Desert in Southern California, second only to Death Valley in its utter desolation, there is the improbable Salton Sea, an enormous man-made saltwater lake created pretty much by accident in the early years of the 20th century. The crazed garage punk outfit Throw Rag are local boys, and the parallels between the landscape of their youth and the music they make are inescapable. Throw Rag’s music brings together elements of vintage rockabilly, the Irish folk-punk of the Pogues, the minimalist pop suss of the Ramones and the Undertones, an oddly piratical band persona that recalls, of all people, the near-forgotten U.K. post-punks Tenpole Tudor, plus some good old-fashioned low desert country and blues along with the requisite dose of snotty garage band attitude. Yet somehow the group manages to synthesize all of these disparate influences into something entertainingly unique.

After forming in 1998, the quintet of singer Captain Sean Doe, guitarist Dean “Dino” McQueen, bassist Franco Fontana, drummer Chango Von Streicher, and expatriate Englishman Action Craig Jackman on washboard and bugle gigged around California’s interior deserts while developing a stage persona crazed enough to get them banned from some establishments. After a debut album that showcased the country and Celtic folk sides of their musical personality, 2001’s Tee Tot, Throw Rag signed with the established punk label Better Youth Organization and released the far noisier psychobilly meets Motörhead set Desert Shores in 2003. Perhaps intuiting that the band’s heavier direction no longer required his quirky services, Jackman left Throw Rag in 2004. Remaining a quartet, Throw Rag’s third album, 13 Ft. and Rising, was released in the summer of 2005. ~ Stewart Mason, Rovi