The good citizens of Chukker Nation united for two days of music, comedy, poetry, and raucous camaraderie! The Druid City Brewing Company hosted reunions of bands and general shenanigans among the Chukkerites.
Free! But don't be a freeloader! Even though the Weekender is over you can still help support the bands by tossing a few coins at our GoFundMe page. You know it's worth it.
Chukkerites are exclaiming about the wondrousness of the event on the Chukker Weekender Facebook Page.
Howdy everybody. I own Druid City Brewing the home of the event! I just wanted to give an overview of Druid City and hopefully answer some questions you may have!
Druid City Brewing began on black Friday of 2012 with our friends the Alabama Shakes (playing under a fake name) and Lee Bains and the Glory Fires playing at Egans. Soon after this we knew we were gonna be a place that focused on art and music.
At first, we were in 1400 sq ft but would put on DYI shows, poetry readings and art shows. Not many years later we became the last place in Tuscaloosa that focuses on original touring and local bands. At the beginning of year, we moved 100 yards across the parking lot to a 5000 sq ft space with space for a dedicated music venue (the moon room), kitchen (more on that later), a bar made of a Leland Lanes bowling lane, many old Egan's pictures, a vinyl collection we let ppl pick and play, old tables from the Chukker. Here soon, with Rich Marks' hard work, the Sistine Chukker will be installed in the ceiling.
We of course have beer being a brewery but also offer a rosé wine and a dry cider for those that don't care for beer or are not into gluten. We also have N/A options. We have a kombucha from Harvest Roots in Birmingham, a sparkling hop water, a CBD delta 8 beverage and a whole line of Buffalo Rock sodas.
We have recently opened Ell's Kitchen named after my business partner Elliott Roberts who passed on earlier this year. We smoke our own pork and chicken and don't buy precooked. We are working on a quick service menu for the day and expect to offer many different 1/4 all-beef hotdogs, different nachos, our al pastor chicken sandwhich, BBQ sandwhich, giant freaking pretzel with beer cheese, bowls of chili (great for cornbread cooking contests). We will also offer a substitution of a plant-based Beyond Sausage for any hotdog.
We have worked with the City and received a special events license allowing us to extend our patio a good distance out to accommodate the market, music and people. We do however have to ask that ppl not leave the patio with a beer, cider or wine. We don't wanna get in trouble and want to continue being the funky chunk of weird Tuscaloosa needs.
Thank y'all and I hope this answers some questions!
Jigs, reels and hornpipes, oh my! Henri's Notions will play Chukker Weekender from Noon to 2pm on Saturday Oct 28 as part of the open air vintage market.
Formed in Tuscaloosa in 1976, Henri’s Notions held near house band status at The Chukker with their festive blend of Celtic and American folk styles. Notions shows can be a real learning experience as well, as the origins, dances and meanings associated with the songs are often explained. The band’s passion for this music has carried them all over the US and Canada as well as an extensive tour of Israel.
In the early 1990s, Sweat Bee formed in the upstairs practice room of the “Trout House”, home to the band Kilgore Trout, where Jeff Buckley and Brett Tannehill were the rhythm section. Long-time friend Steve Breslin began jamming with them and the band’s triple-threat vocal attack sprang to life. They wrote songs.
The music is fast and eclectic. The lyrics poke fun and talk about the darkest moments. A blend of everything you’d hear skating the streets of Tuscaloosa, from Bad Brains to The Minutemen to The Pixies to Bone Dali. T-town’s thriving music scene was a key base of inspiration, especially The Chukker, which embraced bands striving to break the mold. Sweat Bee played house parties and bars across the Southeast, including shows with The Penetrators, Hooper, The Irascibles and others. The Bees last played together to say goodbye to The Chukker a full twenty years ago. You won’t believe what they sound like now.
Club Wig was active in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, from 1984 through 1988, and briefly in 1991. It started out as a rag-tag group of guerrilla musicians gathered by guitarist Rick Naylor to make a racket based on unique tunings and chord progressions of his devising. The first performance was at a talent show that, surprisingly enough, they won.
Eventually the cacophony began to sound like something akin to music, thanks in large part to local bar The Chukker allowing the group to workshop its repertoire over many memorable performances. The band eventually coalesced around Robert "Rowbear" Huffman (guitar/vocals), Carlos Garcia-Aranda (bass), Edwin "E. Brobston" Cleverdon (guitar/vocals), Mary Nelson (vocals/percussion), and Ken Adams (drums/vocals). The Club Wig Sound that emerged could be described as a tongue-in-cheek genre-bending funk explosion.
In 1985 the group released the single "1D" b/w "DNA." It went nowhere instantly. In 1987 the band released its self-titled album to respectable reviews but few sales. Nelson left, and the band, now a 4-piece ensemble, recorded "Everybody Knows" with producer Brian Beattie (Glass Eye, Dead Milkmen), which was released on the Mustang Records compilation album "Ghost Snake Monster Friend." The band began to record a second album, and had almost completed it before dissolving in 1988.
Club Wig briefly reemerged in 1991 featuring Naylor, Huffman, Cleverdon, and Garcia-Aranda. Club Wig has subsequently performed a few reunion shows at the Chukker, the last being at The Chukker's final night in business on Halloween 2003.
By 2010, Huffman, Cleverdon, and Adams were all living in Birmingham, Alabama, and there they joined with bassist Jeff "The Trussville Terror" Waites to form the strictly instrumental band The High Fidelics. For the upcoming 2023 Chukker Weekender festival, Waites will join Huffman, Cleverdon, Adams, and Nelson (flying in from Detroit) to play the Club Wig hits that defined an era. This show is dedicated to the memory of our friend and founder Rick Naylor.
One-time Chukker owner Bob Callahan will speak on the Chukker and Tuscaloosa during the pivotal days of the late 60’s and 70’s . The storytelling and Q&A will take place at Chukker Weekender on Friday Oct 27 at 6pm.
What was the Chukker like before it became one of the most culturally significant venues for live music in the southeast? What was Tuscaloosa like? Bob Callahan was there. For a time he led the pack. Bob’s tenure would see the Chukker’s transition into a lively game room where there was much more politicin' than pickin’. This event is can’t miss for those of us who were there as well as those who want to know more. Careful or you might learn something. We’ll see you there!
The Cunning Runts play Chukker Weekender at on Friday Oct 27 at 10:15pm.
Runt Jeremy Tuman sez:
“The Cunning Runts formed in 1988 in the lot of the Gulf gas station on University Boulevard. The Storm Orphans took us under their wing early on, and later we played T-town shows with the Phantom Surfers, Antiseen, and the Fleshtones, and one very loud Earth Day, along with many memorable and forgotten Chukker nights and house parties in and around Reed Street. We broke up in 1994. Despite a small recorded output, the Runts left a mark of drained kegs, sweaty punk, and busted eardrums on early nineties Tuscaloosa. “
The Irascibles play Chukker Weekender on Friday Oct 27 at 9:30pm.
The Irascibles were hatched in late 1993, early 1994, with the idea of playing stripped down, garage-punk rock ’n’ roll. Tunes that strike fast and cut deep. Three chords and a pile of dust, songs that singer, Tim Parrish, would later call “music boiled down to gum.” The magic was evident from the first practice. Songs were written in a manic flurry. The first show was standing room only at The Chukker. The Irascibles lasted but a few months and a handful of shows before three of the members left town to pursue other careers. The Irascibles recorded but never released anything. Thusly, they remain one of the best bands the world has never known.
The DT’s will play Chukker Weekender during the open air vintage and arts market at 2pm on Saturday October 28.
The DT’s were a band’s band. They had tone and chops for days and were a lot of fun. DT’s Scott and Dan have owned Guitar Gallery for many years and are sponsors for Chukker Weekender. Greg Staggs remains a first call bassist no matter what coast he happens to be on. Tuscaloosa’s electric, good-time band is back for one quick set of crowd pleasers! Don’t blink and miss it!
Blip will play Chukker Weekender on Saturday October 28 at 6pm.
Blip participated in “Late stage Chukkerism” as a band that embraced the venue as its home base not knowing we were witnessing its end. Active as a Tuscaloosa local band from 1998-2003, the group brought together a mishmash of misfits from the UA music department with a bunch of college radio nerds from WVUA. Often referred to as a love letter to the grunge-gaze of the late 90’s, Blip combined elements of Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins, the Smiths and Hum into a loud, two-guitar wall of sound. Sharing members with the popular cover band Spread Eagle, the influence of heavy metal is present in the guitar tones, and the dynamic drumming of Jon Horton made an otherwise melody-driven group a unique blend of creative influences that made Blip singular.
The group reunited in 2022 with its third lineup, and has performed at Druid City Brewing twice in the past year with great success.
Che Arthur & Adam Reach play Chukker Weekender on Saturday October 28 at 7:30pm
Decades-long musical collaborators Che Arthur and Adam Reach co-founded the Tuscaloosa bands Clubber Lang and Universal Life and Accident in the early and mid-90s before moving to Chicago, where they continued Universal Life and Accident until 2000. They worked together over the next decade on other projects including Che’s solo albums, eventually founding their current band Pink Avalanche in 2011. Pink Avalanche’s most recent album “III” came out in 2019. Their duo set at Chukker Weekender will consist of Tuscaloosa-era UL&A songs and Pink Avalanche songs.
Frannie James will lead a special chair yoga session just for Chukker Weekender inside Druid City Brewing Co at 10am on Saturday October 28. Frannie is the owner of Birmingham based Frannie James Yoga and is a sponsor of Chukker Weekender. The session will preclude the opening of the open air vintage and arts market at 11am. Come out early and set your intentions on eating cornbread and well, you know...
Frannie's Chukker journey started in 1983, when she dared to venture into an Afrikan Dreamland show as a sorority girl. She was mesmerized, but didn't come back until 1984, when she was a refugee from UA Greek life. For the next 19 years, the Chukker became her home, and its people became her family. She was even a brief owner of the Chukker from 1991-1995, along with Ludovic Goubet and Robert Huffman.
Frannie’s yoga journey started in Tuscaloosa in 2015 when she was looking to expand the peace & serenity she'd found since having reached her lifetime quota of alcohol & drugs. She found that and so much more on her yoga mat. In 2019, when emerging from a soul-sucking period of political rage, during which she had absolutely neglected any form of spiritual path, she knew where to go. She found her Birmingham yoga home in the practice of ashtanga yoga at Birmingham Yoga. In that practice, she strengthened her ability to be present in order to quiet the incessant internal negative chatter, to sit through discomfort, and to listen to (and love & forgive) her body.
In 2021, she completed her 200RYT with School Yoga Institute in Guatemala so that she could share with others the practice of yoga, especially the benefits of accessible, slow, mindful yoga. Frannie believes yoga is for every BODY. You don’t need to be "flexible enough," or "strong enough," or "meditative enough." Every BODY is ENOUGH!
With a passion for accessible yoga as a way to ease the aging body, mind, and spirit, upon her return from Guatemala, Frannie completed a virtual chair yoga certification course. Chair Yoga is for anyone with mobility issues, whatever the reason. It's suitable for anyone not able to easily get up from (or down to) the floor—maybe due to an injury, illness, or loss of mobility. Frannie's classes are beneficial, engaging, fun, calming, AND energizing. For each class, she creates a series of movements that are accessible and that help people build strength, flexibility, and inner calm. Frannie also teaches ashtanga yoga to people in recovery from substance abuse.
For the Weekender, Frannie is happy and honored to open Saturday with 60 minutes of Chair Yoga for the Chukker Nation community.
Model Citizen will play Chukker Weekender on Friday October 27 at 11pm.
Model Citizen sez: We began in 1995 out of Jasper, AL. Founding member Matt Patton began attending a few open mic nights at The Chukker where, at the tender age of 19, he was allowed entry long enough to play a song or two. Patton attended UA, worked sporadic weekend shifts at Vinyl Solution and hosted the local music and punk rock shows at WVUA.
As original members moved on, new friends around Tuscaloosa like Jeb Smith from The Phoebes and Craig Gates of The Dexateens each took a turn on bass. Birmingham drummer Mike Gaut joined up around 2000 and has remained a constant behind the kit ever since.
Model Citizen released two LPs and an EP as well as a more recent live in studio album. The song 10 o’ clock was inspired by the band’s participation in the last Chukker show on Halloween night in 2003.
The one and only Cordell Cliché Callaway will be an honored guest at Chukker Weekender. Don’t miss her perform at 7:45pm on Friday October 27 and at 5:45pm on Saturday October 28.
Cordell Cliche Callaway has long been a fixture on the Tuscaloosa and greater Alabama drag scene. Many Chukker regulars fondly remember running back and forth to Michael’s to watch her and others perform back in the good old days! And, you have to admit The Chukker got more fun when she walked in! She’s bringing that energy to the Weekender and we can’t wait!
Chukker Nation comprises a (very) loose-knit group of pranksters, malcontents, and misfits who found a home at the Chukker. It once had a newsletter. It occasionally has reunions. It's like Woodstock Nation, but without outdoor camping.