Jim Shelley & Book Of Kills

Fear + Whiskey's "Public" Debut

On this day back in 2011, the original Fear + Whiskey line-up of Amy Bugg (bass/vocals), Jeff Lown (drums) and Jim Shelley (guitar/vocals) made their "public" debut at Harrisonburg, Virginia's Little Grill. The band had played an "invitation only" show back in November of the previous year at Bugg's Place in McGaheysville, Virginia.

The set list: Hold the Wind, Cold Rain and Snow, Blue Heart Drumming, Jesco White, For What It's Worth, Shake My Tree, Bona Fide, To Dream a New Dream, Lost Highway. I don't recall who else played that evening, but most likely (given man Billy Brett's kindnesses to latter day Book of Kills/Fear + Whiskey) it included Buck Gooter. I'm not sure if I even have that show in my digital files anymore. I'll have to check and see. If I do, perhaps I'll upload a few of the songs later this week.

It's not something I would have guessed immediately, but I do believe I probably wrote more songs with Amy (by just a hair) than any other single musician I've been in a band with. With Jane Firkin: "Running" (though I did help out a bit on developing other of her songs, as did Casey Firkin, Bill Bird and Randy Simpson...and of course she, and they, helped out with developing other of my songs); with Aaron Farrington: "Winds of Dying", "Little Metal Toys", and "River of Blood"; with George Nipe III (along with Garfield Banks, Mike Hicks, and David Tekippe): "Mexican Buzzsaw"; "Glass Turns to Sand", and "The Nothing"; with Amy Bugg: "Blue Heart Drumming", "Bona Fide", "Carry Me" (along with Zack Simpson), "Few and Far" (along with Jeff Lown), and "The Pleasures of Saying Goodbye". I probably missed someone or some song. Let me know if you know of one.

On this day in 1966, THE LONDON EVENING STANDARD published an interview with John Lennon (conducted by Maureen Cleve) which contained the following infamous quotation by John: "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. We’re more popular then Jesus now; I don’t know which will go first, rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary." Of course, many Beatles "fans" soon turned on John and the band after hearing or reading what John had said. Perhaps predictably, the reaction was most pronounced in America.

Ironically, John had always been deeply interested in Christ's teachings: "It's just an expression meaning the Beatles seem to me to have more influence over youth than Christ. Now I wasn't saying that was a good idea, 'cause I'm one of Christ's biggest fans. And if I can turn the focus on the Beatles on to Christ's message, then that's what we're here to do. If the Beatles get on the side of Christ, which they always were, and let people know that, then maybe the churches won't be full, but there'll be a lot of Christians dancing in the dance halls. Whatever they celebrate, God and Christ, I don't think it matters as long as they're aware of Him and His message." (From a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation interview in 1969)