Music » Local Music

Pig & Whiskey performers talk booze, bbq & bands

What is it that makes that perfect summer recipe so great?

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For the fourth year, Metro Times brings a block party filled with whiskey sipping, barbecue tasting, and beer guzzling to downtown Ferndale with our annual Pig & Whiskey event. Some fabulous live entertainment serves as the soundtrack for the whole weekend — with bands ranging from outlaw to Americana to straight up rock ’n’ roll — so we thought we’d turn to the performers themselves to ask about their favorite whiskey and barbecue. 


Leann Banks (Ponyshow)

What was the first time you drank whiskey like?

Riding a roller coaster inside a glass case of emotion.

Do you remember the last time you drank whiskey?

I like the way this question is worded! Wait. … Why? What did I do?

What’s your favorite barbecue joint?

Takeout: LazyBones Smokehouse. 

Sit-down: Lockhart’s BBQ. 

What’s your favorite whiskey?

The brown kind. Hell, the white kind too. I don’t discriminate! But seriously, guys, New Holland’s Beer Barrel Bourbon is delicious!

In your opinion, how do music, whiskey, and barbecue go together?

Whiskey is better with rock ’n’ roll, barbecue and rock ’n’ roll are better with booze, and all three are best when you’re surrounded by good friends! (Aww!) … and bacon!


Lawrence Daversa and Carrie Shepard (the Whiskey Charmers)

What was the first time you drank whiskey like?

Daversa: It was like having vertigo and the flu simultaneously.

Shepard: It was like drinking warm, mellow happiness. 

Do you remember the last time you drank whiskey?

Daversa: Yes, it tasted like gasoline. 

Shepard: Yes, it was at Third Street Bar (and Dangerously Delicious Pies) the night Doop & the Inside Outlaws played. It was a Jameson’s, neat. 

What’s your favorite barbecue joint?

Daversa: Edley’s in Nashville.

Shepard: The Honky Tonk BBQ in Chicago, also one of our favorite places to play. 

What’s your favorite whiskey?

Daversa: The one that is farthest away from me.

Shepard: Bushmills.

In your opinion, how do music, whiskey, and barbecue go together?

Daversa: We like to play for people that have eaten a large amount of barbecue and had a lot of whiskey, because that makes us sound better. 

Shepard: Well, if you drink some whiskey, have a tasty slab of ribs, listen to music, then have some barbecue brisket and some more whiskey, you can’t really go wrong.


Liz Mackinder (Brunswick Brawlers)

What was the first time you drank whiskey like?

Was too young, drank Jim Beam with Vernors and started walking funny.

Do you remember the last time you drank whiskey?

Does right now count?  

What’s your favorite barbecue joint?

Never met a barbecue we didn’t like.

What’s your favorite whiskey?

Buffalo Trace and Bulleit Ten Year.

In your opinion, how do music, whiskey, and barbecue go together?

Life, liberty, happiness, repeat.


Matt Livengood (the Ill Itches)

 

What was the first time you drank whiskey like?

I blacked out, so I’m guessing it was pretty fun.

Do you remember the last time you drank whiskey?

Slightly better than the first time, yes.

What’s your favorite barbecue joint?

Locally, either Union Woodshop or Slows. Out of state, either Little Richard’s in North Carolina or the Salt Lick in Austin.

What’s your favorite whiskey?

The kind that’s being offered for free.

In your opinion, how do music, whiskey, and barbeque go together?

 

Better and better as the evening goes on.


Emily Burns (Escaping Pavement)

What was the first time you drank whiskey like?

It was momentous, legendary, and I don’t remember any of it.

Do you remember the last time you drank whiskey?

Yes. It was in a hotel room in Tennessee after we finished playing a show for 10 people at a place off the freeway, across the street from a Shell station and a Waffle House. There’s a first time for everything, right?

What’s your favorite barbecue joint? 

Union Woodshop in Clarkston. Best barbecue in southeastern Michigan — period.

What’s your favorite whiskey?

Jameson.

In your opinion, how do music, whiskey, and barbecue go together?

Pretty well. You have to strike a balance between all three, though, to avoid any upset in this summertime trinity.


Gabe Dodson (Old Empire)

What was the first time you drank whiskey like?

Fairly disgusting. Illegally procured 7&7s consumed in Big Gulp cups while cruising around greater Lansing in a Camaro on a summer day. However, it was better than drinking ouzo and Dr. Pepper in a rusty Blazer in January.

Do you remember the last time you drank whiskey?

Yes. Mostly. With a little help from witnesses.

What’s your favorite barbecue joint?

Union Woodshop. Their Alabama sauce (mayo, vinegar, horseradish, and black pepper) is a rare treat, especially when combined with their mustard-based South Carolina sauce. It’s so good I’d swear I’m in the Deep South. Or is that just what it feels like to be in Clarkston?

What’s your favorite whiskey?

The one you’re buying.

In your opinion, how do music, whiskey, and barbecue go together?

They go together like peanut butter, dogs, and perverts.


Mike Berger, Brian Miller, Andrew Scharver, and Eric Scharver (Oak Bones)

What was the first time you drank whiskey like?

Miller: It was the summer going into eighth grade. Some friends and I procured various spirits from our parents’ liquor cabinets. We poured Seagrams 7, Jack, Absolute 100 proof, and a few different kinds of Swedish schnapps into an Aquafina water bottle. The three of us passed it around while sitting on the slide at Addams Middle School in Royal Oak. Needless to say, we all got sick and ended up losing it on the sidewalk somewhere close to 12 Mile. 

Do you remember the last time you drank whiskey?

Berger: I actually just polished off a pint of Seagram’s 7 before we sat down to answer these questions.

What’s your favorite barbecue joint?

Andrew: Bad Brad’s is the shit. I go to the one on 23 Mile, I think it’s in Clinton Township. I get the pulled pork.

What’s your favorite whiskey?

Eric: Crown.

[Eric is ridiculed by Andrew and Berger for his choice.]

 

David Johnson (The Blueflowers)

What was the first time you drank whiskey like?

I can’t really remember the first time I drank whiskey, but it was probably at some high school party in the suburbs while someone’s parents were away. You know the scene, where the glass is filled halfway up with whiskey, with a splash of cola added. A few shots were had along the way, I’m sure. We were just learning to get our drink on. These were the times where you would end up sprawled out on the front yard, clutching the lawn so you wouldn’t spin off the face of the Earth. The good ol’ days.

Do you remember the last time you drank whiskey?

The last time I drank whiskey was two or three Tuesdays ago at Northern Lights Lounge, while enjoying a set of music by the Dennis Coffey Quartet. I exercised moderation that night.

What’s your favorite barbecue joint?

My favorite barbecue scenario is the backyard party variety. My pals Chuck and Reggie whip up some mean grillin’! For dining out purposes, Lazybones Smokehouse on Groesbeck can’t be beat. If I want to chow down before a Tiger game, Rub serves up some quality grub.

What’s your favorite whiskey?

Gotta go with Maker’s Mark. Locally speaking, Two James is pretty awesome. Is it goofy of me that the barrels there remind me of Donkey Kong?

In your opinion, how do music, whiskey, and barbecue go together?

Music, whiskey, and barbecue go together because they all tickle the brain’s pleasure center. Rarely will you see a grumpy person indulging in all three at once. It’s a kind of a cheerful crowd.

 

Amy Elizabeth Faunce (Electric Lion Sound Wave Experiment)

What was the first time you drank whiskey like?

First time I drank whiskey was at Gino Doree’s house, and it was wonderful. It felt like my head was wrapped in a wood barrel. 

Do you remember the last time you drank whiskey?

About two weeks ago.

What’s your favorite barbecue joint?

Just because there is a lack of real barbecue spots (places that actually smoke pig and beef) I would say Slows. Besides that, my 50-gallon drum smoker.

What’s your favorite whiskey?

Bulleit whiskey.

In your opinion, how do music, whiskey, and barbecue go together?

They can go together very well. The music we make goes with other things as well (wink-wink, nudge-nudge). I think certain music, like good old fashioned rock ’n’ roll, fits barbecue and whiskey like a glove … something about food being cooked outside; that messy “it’s OK to look like a savage while eating” thing, it’s a great equalizer.

 

Jesse Shepherd-Bates (The HandGrenades)

What was the first time you drank whiskey like?

The first time I ever drank whiskey was with Joel, who happens to be in the HandGrenades now. He, our friend Jeremy, and I drank a bunch of Jack Daniel’s freshman year of high school. I got drunk and noisy, and Jeremy’s mom woke up, thus starting a long tradition of getting drunk and noisy and waking moms up.

Do you remember the last time you drank whiskey?

The last time I drank whiskey was last night. I wanted to play Quizzo somewhere and everybody I wanted to play with went to Rosie O’Grady’s. I didn’t want to go to Rosie O’Grady’s so I went to TGI Fridays in Troy and played Quizzo as a one-man team. I beat the whole bar. Lucky for me, Jack is on special Tuesdays at TGI Friday’s.

What’s your favorite barbecue joint?

My favorite barbecue joint is Nick and Joby’s backyard. Nick barbecues stuff at practice. I don’t go to many barbecue joints.

What’s your favorite whiskey?

My favorite whiskey is free whiskey.

In your opinion, how do music, whiskey, and barbecue go together?

Loud music, whiskey, and barbecue are all really good for you. Especially in excess. Combined together they make one hell of an elixir. I recommend the combination to anyone, especially if you’re trying to wake someone’s mom up.

 

Sean Forbes

What was the first time you drank whiskey like?

I was probably 21 years old and in the studio with my dad’s band the Forbes Brothers, and the guys were all pouring Johnny Walker Red Label neat and it was too much for me. My throat burned up on the first sip, like I just poured gasoline down my esophagus, and my eyes watered up. I had to throw a couple ice cubes in there and wait until it watered down … up until then, I was doing the usual shots of Jack Daniel’s and cheap beer. That was a big step up to how you really drink whiskey. 

Do you remember the last time you drank whiskey?

Of course! I had a couple Jamesons last night; that’s my drink these days … on the rocks. When the band and I are on the road, this is what we drink after shows to stop us from killing each other. 

What’s your favorite barbecue joint?

A good one is Oklahoma Joe’s in Kansas City; it’s in a gas station in the middle of nowhere, but it’s to die for. For local Detroit barbecue, I’m actually a fan of Lockhart’s in Royal Oak … their brisket is pretty badass, and I like their sauces. My theory with barbecue is you can have great cooked meat, but if your barbecue sauce isn’t on par, it doesn’t complement the meal well. My No. 1 favorite barbecue sauce of all time is Montgomery Inn from Cincinnati, Ohio. I’ve been eating that shit since I was a kid. A couple years ago, we had a show in Cincinnati, and I asked the people, “What’s a good place to eat around here?” You should have seen my face when they said Montgomery Inn was next door. Best barbecue sauce ever.  

What’s your favorite whiskey?

Jameson. I like Jack Daniel’s, but nobody likes to hang with me when I drink that. 

In your opinion, how do music, whiskey, and barbecue go together?

I think it’s a beautiful combination. When you’re stuffed from all the barbecue you ate, you just wanna kick back with a glass of whiskey in hand and just listen to some good tunes, or have a couple more whiskeys and get in the pit and throw yourself around to work off all the cornbread, brisket, pork, and mac-and-cheese you ate!

 

Laura Willem and Jeff Scott (Duende)

What was the first time you drank whiskey like?

Willem: I found a half-drank pint of Southern Comfort hidden in my closet when I moved into my dorm room freshman year of college. Let’s just say that was the first and last time I ever drank Southern Comfort.

Scott: Canadian Club. I was too young to know you didn’t have to do shots. I ended up putting a hole in our basement ceiling with the head stock of a Flying V when I leaped into the air pretending to be K.K. Downing from Judas Priest.

Do you remember the last time you drank whiskey?

Scott: Trick question!

Willem: Sippin’ Old Grand-Dad that Jelly Roll brought to band practice. 

 What’s your favorite barbecue joint?

Willem: My backyard with Jeffery on the grill. 

Scott: Archibald in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Smokin’ meat for over a century. 

What’s your favorite whiskey?

Willem: I’m more of a bourbon gal. Old Grand-Dad is cost-effective. Jim Beam is the staple. Bulleit Bourbon when the venue’s buying.

In your opinion, how do music, whiskey, and barbecue go together?

Willem: The more you drink, the better we sound! And barbecue is always good. 

Scott: If you’re in for the long run, it’s the soul, blood, and body when it’s time to party.

 

Lauren Long (Seven Birds One Stone)

What was the first time you drank whiskey like?

The first time I drank Whiskey, it was a beautiful, sunny, summer day, and I was introduced to it by a friend of mine while walking a trail through the woods. (Whiskey has a way of tasting amazing when handed to you in a flask at a time you are not necessarily supposed to be drinking it.) It was then that I discovered the rich, diverse flavor of my new favorite alcoholic beverage, good ol' Whiskey!  The day was full of laughter, rolling down hills, and great but fuzzy memories!  

Do you remember the last time you drank whiskey?
 
Well it's noon on a Wednesday ... so about an hour ago? Just kidding! The last time I drank whiskey was on St. Patrick's day, which seems appropriate! The special day fell on a Thursday this year, which is Seven Birds One Stone's practice day! Jake Gross, my sassy co-lead singer, was feeling festive and brought a bottle of Jameson for the band to conquer! It surely lead to a high-spirited, creative practice! And a lot of high fives.  
 
What’s your favorite barbecue joint?
 
Slows BBQ in Detroit Heck yeah! It may have been the answer you expected, but that's just how dang good it is! I mean the quality of the meat, the sauces, the sides galore! I mean, c'mon! How good are their ribs, and catfish? The Caesar salad is gone from my plate in less than 3 minutes every time I go! And not to mention the whiskey and bourbon selection is out of this world ...  I remember going to Florida a few years back and watching a food show on television while I was there. They were featuring Slows BBQ in Detroit. I wished I was back home ... ha.
 
What’s your favorite whiskey?
 
My favorite whiskey changes from time to time as I experience different types and brands.  As of right now, my favorite is Woodward Ltd. Whiskey, from Valentine Distillery right here in Ferndale!!  The whiskey has notes of sweet caramel, molasses and brown sugar, and spicy notes of rye, cinnamon, and woody spices!  It definitely warms your belly and puts a sun-kissed smile on your face!  The world is coming up with some wild whiskey recipes though. I saw a Quinoa whiskey the other day.  Weird, but I have to try it!  
 
In your opinion, how do music, whiskey, and barbecue go together?
 
Music, whiskey, and barbecue make the perfect trifecta for throwing a great party! They all work hand in hand to keep our spirits soaring and people enjoying themselves all day and night. Whiskey raises our spirits to enjoy music; music makes us dance and work up an appetite, and BBQ fills our bellies, giving us the energy needed to repeat the process for as long as the party lasts! If you send a invitation to my home that says BBQ, whiskey and music, I'll be there! The Ferndale Pig & Whiskey street fair really knows how to put a smile on this girl's face! I am so thrilled to be a part of such an awesome, entertaining event!  

 

Blaire Alise (Blaire Alise & the Bombshells) 

What was the first time you drank whiskey like?

You’ll be the first person I call on my 21st birthday, and I’ll give you a full report on all of my opinions about whiskey. 

 

Pig & Whiskey is from Friday, July 18, to Sunday, July 20, in Ferndale on Troy St. between the WAB and the Emory; free admission. See pigandwhiskeyferndale.com for more details.

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