(Baton Rouge, LA weekly)
Lee Bains talks Southern identity and influence
By Kayla Reed
As Lee Bains III picks up his phone in the middle of Wyoming, his accent likely warrants a stare or two. He’s far from his Alabama home, now practically a road warrior after playing at least 300 shows in the past year and a half.
Lee Bains III & The Glory Fire’s debut album, There Is A Bomb In Gilead, came out to glowing reviews in May 2012, and the guys have been on the road ever since. Bains, fellow guitarist Eric Wallace, bassist Adam Williamson and his brother, drummer Blake Williamson, will roll their dirty Southern party train into Chelsea’s Cafe this weekend. Lee Bains III & The Glory Fire perform at Chelsea’s Saturday, Oct. 26 at 10 p.m. Though the band just played there last month, they decided to swing through again on their way back home.
Tossing The Glory Fire under the blanket of “southern rock” would be getting off too easy. Bains evokes the soul of southern rock ‘n’ roll like only a down-home boy can, but he spins it around with insightful lyrics and gospel vibes.
Bains’ stark intelligence belies the stigma of his deep southern drawl. The 28-year-old did a lot of soul searching in his college years, and a question about the South’s influence on his music yielded some profound musings.
“I was in college reading all this critical theory and looking at identity for the first time,” Bains said. “I saw in myself and my friends this desire to construct identity out of what’s essentially ephemera – out of the clothes that we purchase or the way we construct our social media profile. It left me feeling really hollow, as if I had no real essence as an individual because my identity was so mercurial and really founded on nothing solid.”
Strong southern roots offered a silver lining to Bains’ bleak realization, and served as inspiration for his talent.
“I felt fortunate to have a cultural background that exists outside of the marketplace, or outside of media. That’s derived from geographic place and familial relationships and community and things like that. I guess I decided to pursue that in art, which is writing down rock and roll songs,” he said.
Thoughts like these are what give The Glory Fire a leg up on any other old dirty southern rock outfit, but that’s not to say the boys don’t get down on stage. Bains still promises a good time – “loud and rowdy rock and roll band at the end of the day.” The band sounds like the first sip of a cold beer on a muggy summer evening.
“There is this certain anti-intellectuality that’s tied to southern music a lot of times, and I think that some of that is probably valid, like southerners aren’t big fans of pretention and stuff like that. But at the same time some of the greatest American artists of the 20th and 21st centuries are from this region and we’ve derived a lot from its culture,” Bains said.
Bains considers himself something of a “benevolent dictator” when it comes to the band, but as the guys have grown closer, the music has changed a bit. They’re working on a new album, and some of those songs will make their way into the set at Chelsea’s. According to Bains, the new songs have a grittier and harder-hitting sound that is also more cohesive.
“For this one, I just wanted to make a more solid sound that’s derived from how we are,” Bains said. “From song to song, the sound is more similar. It sounds more like a show than a studio album.”
Lee Bains III & The Glory Fire with Austin Lucas
(Birmingham, AL daily & online site)
Too loud for Texas? Fort Worth venue pulls plug on Birmingham’s Lee Bains & Glory Fires mid-show for noisy play (podcast)
By Ben Flanagan
Anyone accusing Birmingham-based rockers Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires of playing too loud wouldn’t necessarily be wrong. It happens.
But one venue in Fort Worth, Texas, thought precisely that Bains and his band played a little too loud, so they pulled the plug on the group in the middle of their performance Wednesday night.
The Live Oak Music Hall & Lounge, self-described on its Twitter profile as “Fort Worth’s premiere live music venue with a large selection of craft beer, wine & spirits and full menu of great food,” felt Bains’ band failed to comply with house rules during their set (opening for musician Austin Lucas).
Bains said his band was booked to play the venue by a promoter. The promoter was not at the show, Bains said.
Bains said the owner of the venue remarked to his band mates that he was not fond of the promoter who booked Wednesday’s show.
“There was sort of a weird vibe in the air,” Bains said.
Bains said during their sound check, the sound engineer asked the band to turned down their amplifiers, which they did. At the end of the sound check, Bains said the sound engineer walked on stage and covered his amp with a “baffle,” in this case a large chunk of Styrofoam with a burlap sack around it.
Once they started their set, Bains said he didn’t like the sound, so he removed the baffle from in front of his amp.
“In retrospect, it would have been more up front if I’d told the guy as soon as he put it up, ‘Man, that’s probably not going to work for me.'”
During the third song, Bains said the sound engineer came on stage and put the baffle back in front of the amp.
“It’s kind of a big no-no to come on stage during a band’s set and mess with their stuff,” he said.
Once Bains removed the baffle again, the sound engineer told him he would cut the power during the performance. The band kept playing, and the sound monitors on stage lost power. Bains said he noticed patrons approaching the sound board and interacting with the engineer shortly after that.
“That has never happened to me, ever,” he said. “The only time a sound guy or a stage hand would ever come on stage is if something is screwed up.”
At one point, the owner came up and told the band the music was too loud, to which Bains replied, “This is how we play. We’re a rock band. You booked a rock band. If you didn’t want us to play, then you shouldn’t have booked us.
“Midway through the band’s set is a pretty inopportune time to decide you don’t want that band to play your venue.”
When the owner left the stage, he and the sound engineer cut the power to the PA. When the band kept playing, the owner had the stage curtain closed on the them.
“So we kept playing despite the curtain being closed, and then they just flipped the breaker to the stage, completely killing the power, so all the amps are now silent,” he says.
Bains has a booking agent based in Nashville. He said that there was a contract drawn up for the performance upon which Bains and the venue agreed. He said that nowhere in the contract was there any stipulation about volume or noise levels.
“I’m not a lawyer, but I would assume when a venue books a rock band, they are going to have to deal with the fact that they play like a rock band, and it’s not going to be at a speaking volume or whatever they were expecting.
“If they don’t want loud bands playing at their place, they shouldn’t book loud bands. If you Google our band and read one article about our show, I guarantee you the word ‘loud’ will be in there.”
The Live Oak released a statement on Facebook (which you can read in full below), noting what happened at the event from its perspective. It said Bains and the band did not respect the venue’s rules, so it had to take its measures.
“Our sound engineer and owner made the decision after repeated attempts to get the band to comply to house rules,” the Live Oak statement said “After the entire restaurant portion of the venue vacated due to the noise level, more attempts were made to get the band to comply and quite a few disrespectful and inappropriate remarks were made to our sound engineer and owner and, subsequently, the curtain was closed and the plug was pulled.”
“It felt like ‘Footloose’ or something. I felt like I was out of time,” Bains said. “I mean, we are a loud rock and roll band, but we’re four guys whose mothers taught us to say ‘yes, ma’am’ and ‘no, sir.’ This is the first time anybody’s ever accused us of being disrespectful.”
Most fans and friends would tell you the typically jovial Bains is polite before, during and after shows and would not under most circumstances be a part of any confrontation at an event. But without being confrontational, Bains defended his band.
“I take a lot of pride in treating people well and in being courteous and polite,” he said. “But there’s a big difference in being respectful and being a doormat.
“We’ve driven 6,000 miles on this tour and been away from home for a month. I’m not going to show up to a venue and have somebody tell me I need to change the way my band sounds because they don’t like it, and particularly when there are people who have driven over an hour to see our band play the way they want to hear it.”
The band was not paid for their appearance. Some patrons who came to see the band got their money back and gave it to Bains and his band mates.
“In a way, there’s something energizing and absurdly exhilarating about the fact that rock and roll can still anger people so much,” Bains said. “We’re all kind of tickled, really.”
Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires will perform at the Holy Mountain bar in Austin, Texas, tonight.
Tuscaloosa native and Fort Worth resident Hunter Johnson (a contributor to the AL.com Alabama football podcast) attended the show. Johnson says he has attended a few shows at Live Oak and enjoyed his experiences, but he has no plans to return.
“I’ll never go back to Live Oak ever again,” Johnson said. “And it sucks because I live here in Fort Worth and I love good music. And that’s the kind of venue that books decent acts, one that you would think I would want to support. But they could book U2, and I wouldn’t go.”
Johnson booked a table at the front of the venue so he could see the band up close, as it was a show the Alabama native had looked forward to seeing for a while. Once they dropped the curtain on the band, Johnson and Bains’ younger brother physically held the curtain open as the band continued playing.
“Holding that curtain open for those 30-45 seconds was the most rock and roll experience I’ll ever feel,” Johnson said. “I’ll never be in a band or anything, but that was probably the most rock and roll thing I’ll ever do.”
During the show, Johnson noticed the venue owner telling Bains to turn the volume down. When Johnson realized it was the owner, he offered a little advice about booking shows at the venue.
Anyone who’s seen or heard Lee Bains & The Glory Fires knows they tend to get a little loud during their live shows. (Ben Flanagan/al.com)
“I told him, “Dude, this is a rock and roll show. Don’t book a rock and roll band if you don’t want rock and roll music. This is how they play,” Johnson said. “They didn’t book Lee Bains acoustic. They booked Lee Bains & The Glory Fires. When you book a band, you’re saying ‘I want you to play in my venue.'”
After the show, Johnson got his $15 refund, handed it to Bains and spoke with him outside the venue.
“I apologized to him,” Johnson said. “As a Fort Worth resident, it embarrassed me that they would do that.”
Efforts to reach The Live Oak were not successful Thursday afternoon. But the venue shared their side of the story Thursday to apologize to those who attended the show, posting the following on its Facebook page on Thursday:
“At The Live Oak we’ve always prided ourselves on respect; respect for the music, respect for the artists, respect for our customers and patrons, respect for the food we serve and the drinks we pour, and respect for our staff. When a band takes it upon themselves to destroy that respect, action will be taken.
During last night’s show, that’s exactly what happened. Unfortunately, The Live Oak had to make a decision that should never have to be made; we had to pull the plug on the opener’s set. Our sound engineer and owner made the decision after repeated attempts to get the band to comply to house rules. After the entire restaurant portion of the venue vacated due to the noise level, more attempts were made to get the band to comply and quite a few disrespectful and inappropriate remarks were made to our sound engineer and owner and, subsequently, the curtain was closed and the plug was pulled.
As a venue and music aficionados, we NEVER want to have to do this, but there comes a point when that respect is an essential element to making a show succeed.
All patrons who wanted a refund were issued one and we apologize profusely for any inconvenience this may have caused anyone.
A special thanks to Austin Lucas for his understanding and a huge apology to him for not getting to play his full band set. We can’t wait to have him back.”
The band has drawn its share of support on social media. Below are tweets published before, during and after the show by those who did and did not attend. WARNING: Some of the tweets contain profanity.
Why did The Live Oak Pull the Plug on Lee Bains III and The Glory Fires this Week?
By Kelly Dearmore
Hoo boy. On Wednesday night, during a set performed by Alabama’s Lee Bains III and The Glory Fires at the Live Oak Music Hall and Lounge in Ft. Worth, the management of the venue felt compelled to close the curtains and then switch off the power completely on the rowdy R&B garage-rock outfit as they opened for country-roots artist Austin Lucas.
Things got so out of whack that Lucas ended up playing solo on the venue’s outdoor patio, though he had a full-band ready to play. According to Abbey Alexander of the Live Oak, the decision for Lucas to play solo and outside was a joint one between Spune, who originally booked the show, and Lucas’ management.
On Wednesday night, around 9:40 p.m., tweets started popping up claiming that Bains’ band had been shut down for playing too loud — plain and simple. Tweets that either came from both the Live Oak itself and from other patrons claimed that the band’s cranked up amps emptied out the dining room of the multi-purpose venue.
Either way, Live Oak sound engineer Cal Quinn found himself trying to please both a rocker and his boss, the venue’s owner, Bill Smith. Quinn said that Bains was asked ten times during the set (which he says was attended by a dozen people) to turn his amp down and/or replace the baffle used to muffle the amp that had been placed there before the show, per an agreement made during soundcheck. (In an interview with AL.com posted Thursday, Bains says he did agreed to put the baffle on his amp, but changed his mind later.)
When reached via email last night before his show in Austin, Bains told DC9 at Night that Quinn did not, in fact, tell him to turn down ten times. “False!” he says. “I turned my amp down to an agreed level in sound check and left it there, though I did take the baffle he [Quinn] put up at the end of sound check.”
Bains and Quinn agree that both Quinn and Smith made repeated trips up to and actually onto the stage in order to get the band to bring things down a notch.
While bloggers and other artists (the band American Aquarium and Chris Porter of Some Dark Holler are a couple of more expressive examples) have been critical of the Live Oak for shutting down a rock band for being too loud, the Live Oak maintains that it was more than mere over-amplification that led to this mess. Citing non-compliance and disrespect as some of the reasons the show was curtailed to cancel does seem odd, and is highly unusual, regardless of who cussed or which direction the volume knob was being turned.
More than anything, this whole thing raises all sorts of questions, less about the particulars of the events of Wednesday night, and more about concert etiquette in general, and what to do when egos, musical expression and customer service come crashing together.
WHEN YOU MOTOR AWAY
Lee Bains III And The Glory Fires – Can a Rock Band Be TOO LOUD?
“Too Loud For Texas?” No, that’s not a song, it’s a judgment rendered by the sound engineer and management of a venue called “Live Oak” in Ft. Worth, TX. Earlier this week, Southern rock and soul shouters supreme Lee Bains III And The Glory Fires played a show at this place and got into a bit of a tussle with management. The Facebooks and the Twitters are lighting up with back-and-forth, he-said-she-said, and I’m not here to place blame or render judgment on one party or the other. I am, however, here to observe that having your travelling rock and roll band declared “TOO LOUD” is the kind of publicity money can’t buy.
Our interaction with Bains has been mostly one-sided. All of us at WYMA love the music of this Alabama band, and it has showed over the last couple of years. Back in early 2012, we got a preview of their album There Is A Bomb In Gilead via the Alive/Naturalsound comp, Where Is Parker Griggs? – and immediately fell in love with it. Here is the introductory piece I put up then: New Rock/Soul Discovery: Lee Bains III And The Glory Fires. You will note the use of adjectives like “screaming”. Again, this is not a coincidence or accident. The music is best heard loud, and it’s made to be played loud. I say, mostly one-sided. Lee did send a short note of thanks, which to me is usually the mark of a well-raised dude.
At the end of 2012, we heaped on the praise once again. Here is JD’s list — note his mention of their “fantastic bar band vibe”. Here is mine — quoting myself (I can do that, it’s my blog): “Out of Alabama comes a dynamo, a hard-rocking force of nature who manages to combine punk, country and R&B to great effect. The Dexateens were really good, but Bains has upped the ante here – he’s a great shouter who can switch gears and sing straight-up soul music, backed by a great southern rock band.” And finally, JD was inspired to post about their live show in Portland recently. Again, “tore through… with abandon” is mentioned in a positive light.
However, at the Live Oak in Ft. Worth, there is apparently also a “restaurant section” and Bains’ band managed to clear that sucker out, which launched the series of events described in this online article from AL.com (they’re rightfully proud of the ruckus their boys raised deep in the heart of Texas). You can certainly read more about it, including various points of view, at the Facebooks and Twitters of the band and the venue. There are some entertaining comments, for sure.
Here are a few videos of the guys in action:.
(Baton Rouge daily)
Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires — Rock ‘n’ soul band Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires return to Baton Rouge Saturday for a show at Chelsea’s Café.
Greg Vandy spun “Opelika” on Oct. 23rd on “The Roadhouse”
(Baton Rouge, LA weekly)
Saturday: Austin Lucas, Lee Bains III & the Gloryfires. Southern-tinged rock ‘n’ roll at Chelsea’s Café. 10:30 p.m.
(Bellingham, WA weekly)
Lee Baines III and the Glory Fires: Southern fried
Written By: Brent Cole
Mixing equals parts kinship, southern culture and rock ‘n’ roll, Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires are another on the long list of great southern fried bands to come out of Alabama. With a new album and even newer sound, they’re ready to set the world on musical fire, one town at a time.
The story of Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires began in 2008 as Lee returned to Alabama after attending school in New York. A former fixture in the Birmingham punk and rock ‘n’ roll scene, Lee soon found himself a member of The Dexateens, a seminal rock ‘n’ roll country stomp outfit who’d released their first few recordings on Bellingham’s Estrus Records. After a few years, family and geographic commitments became too much and the band called it a day. Still feeling inspired, Lee found himself writing a lot but had no outlet for the new material. And with that, he formed the Glory Fires.
After filtering through some initial line up changes and local/regional shows, Lee took the band into the studio. “I was listening to a lot of late 60s, early 70s Elvis studio albums and stuff from Muscle Shoals,” he said. “The arraignment and production was about the song and bringing out. There was no cohesive musical identity throughout the record. I was more drawn to that.”
From those sessions came There is a Bomb in the Gilead, released in May of 2013. The Glory Fires, though seeing several line up changes since then, now includes Eric Wallace on guitar, Blake Williamson on drums and his brother Adam Williamson on bass. Lee is most excited about these members, so much so that in the midst of a hectic summer touring schedule (which included a trip to Europe), they went to the studio this summer to record their second album.
“This is the first band sounding record to me,” Lee said, noting a big departure from their earlier work. “I’m really stoked about this group that we have going. We have a really good time and I feel best about the sound. He added, “I’m pretty honored to have these dudes with me.”
Part of what makes this incarnation so special is the kinship between the members. Lee and Eric have known each other since they were little kids (they even went to the same daycare), and Adam and Blake have spent years playing in bands together. It’s a sense of roots – a feeling that permeates beyond the band members and into their hometown of Birmingham. “For me personally, it is this feeling – everybody who is lucky enough to have a home town are drawn to it. I feel a sense of cultural belonging, even though I’ve chafed at it all my life.”
That sense of pride and belonging is at the heart of the band’s sound. Many of the songs are about growing up and living in the south. Lee notes that church is heavy influence on anyone who grows up in the area – for better or for worse. “I think it’s impossible to talk about southern art or southern culture without talking about the protestant church. It’s the entire social system and belief system. It rears its head in different ways. It can come out in all different types of ways. In my songs, I just kind of take that and run with it,” stated Lee.
Greg Vandy made Seattle show mention and spun “Opelika” “Righteous, Ragged Songs” on Oct. 16th on “The Roadhouse”
WHEN YOU MOTOR AWAY
Update: Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires
WYMA has been all in for Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires from the get go. We raved about their debut CD There is a Bomb in Gilead when it came out and it cleaned up on our Best of 2012 year end lists (John’s too – here).
Now the Birmingham Alabama band has left its native South for a major tour. I saw them in Portland this week and was floored by how great it was. The set consisted of almost all brand new songs from an upcoming release they just finished recording in Nashville. It had a much harder edge and they tore through the songs with abandon. It took me back to the glory days of Jason and the Scorchers and that’s about the highest praise I can grant a live show.
You need to see Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires on this tour if you live within striking distance of any of the following cities:
Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires
There Is a Bomb in Gilead
by Kate Whittle
It’s hard to call things “Southern rock” without summoning the scourge of Lynyrd Skynyrd, but it’s a pretty unavoidable term here—Alabama’s Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires make soulful rock ‘n’ roll and country-inflected songs tinged with Southern accents and images of red dirt and whiskey. The band’s May 2012 debut, There is a Bomb in Gilead, reminds me of the sweetness of Tennessee’s Glossary, who, like Bains, has toured with Austin Lucas. The album’s title comes from a gospel lyric Bains misheard as a kid in Birmingham, according to the band’s bio.
As someone who normally avoids music that needs more than two words to describe it, I’ve had trouble pinning down what it is I like about Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires. It finally came together in my brain when I heard Bains reference Fugazi and Fear on “Righteous, Ragged Songs.” Bains has some punk in his past, and he spent a few years playing for the raucous Dexateens. Punk rock is all about stripping music to the essentials, and even when bands give it up to try gentler or more varied sounds, that same straightforward approach often seems to remain pretty intact. Most of Bains’ songs are short and to-the-point; solos are kept sweet and tight. Plenty of bands try to play soulful rock and country; not many make it sound as fresh and honest as Lee Bains.
Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires play the Palace Fri., Oct. 18., at 9 PM, along with Austin Lucas. $5.
FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM
Preston’s picks: Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires at the Live Oak Music Hall & Lounge 10/23
Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires at the Live Oak Music Hall & Lounge
Alabama Shakes isn’t the only buzzy rock band roaring out of the Deep South. Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires is another act bursting with raw potential, led by the guitar-slinging frontman. The Birmingham-based band is touring behind its first record, There Is a Bomb in Gilead (the title is derived, according to the band’s bio, from Bains mishearing a hymn’s title as a youngster), and will bring its patented brand of self-described “radical rock ’n’ roll” to one of Fort Worth’s most intimate listening rooms. With Austin Lucas.
8 p.m. Wednesday. The Live Oak Music Hall & Lounge, Fort Worth. $10.
Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires – Southern rock and punk. 8 p.m. Sunday at Torch Club
At any given time, there always seems to be at least one band stoking the fires of Southern rock and keeping people interested in some dirty-barroom-boogie tunes. Currently, that group is the Alabama Shakes – but don’t sleep on ’Bama brethren Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires. Touting a searing mix of hedonistic jams, twangy country, soulful R&B and biting punk, their rowdy stew of down-home American rock is spiced with the spirit of the Deep South and sets the church pews right in front of the bar. With Austin Lucas. 904 15th St., Sacramento. $6. www.torchclub.net.
ATLANTA INDIE MUSIC EXAMINER
Interview with Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires; bringing back good Southern rock
By Lindsey Borders
Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires are such critically and fan-acclaimed from Rolling Stone to Guitar World, and and to Brittany Howard from Alabama Shakes, have nothing but praise for these roots-driven, Southern rockers. With their debut LP, There Is A Bomb In Gilead, the title came from the hymn “There Is A Balm in Gilead,” that lead singer and frontman of the band, Lee Bains, misheard when the hymn was sung, while growing up in Birmingham, Alabama. The band is currently touring through first half of November, with stops in Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, and several California dates, among others. If you’re a fan of raw and talented, chopped-up rock style of the late 60s and 70s, don’t miss out on Lee Bains’ band and his music, Purchase their debut LP HERE. We got the chance to chat with Lee about the music on their new LP, the writing and recording process, what fuels his creativity to make music, and a few musical favorite. To find out more about Lee, his band and their music, read on:
You have said that your upcoming album is grittier and hard-hitting than your previous critically acclaimed There Is A Bomb In Gilead. What can fans expect to hear?
Lee: Well, this record is shaping up to sound like we sound live; we are a pretty rowdy wild rock’n’roll band, and Bomb In Gilead didn’t put that across all that strongly. Which is cool. That’s not really what we were trying to do with it, but we brought in Tim Kerr to produce this record, since his specialty is to capture a band at their most spontaneous and vital. I think he did a killer job getting us to play in the basement just like we would at a show. The guy with whom we recorded, and with whom I’m mixing the record is named Jeremy Ferguson, and he’s done some great stuff at his studio, Battletapes, in Nashville.
What was the writing and recording process like for this album?
Lee: I really approached these songs like a fiction writer or poet would, I think, in that I revised, revised, revised. i worked pretty hard to shape a thematically and sonically cohesive batch of songs, each one playing off the others to contribute more meaning. I workshopped the lyrics a lot with my buddy Caleb Johnson, who just got his M.F.A. in creative writing from U of Wyoming. It was pretty cool in that i was critiquing his first novel about the same time he was critiquing these songs. Over the past year or so, I’ve been reading and revisiting a lot of books that deal with the individual’s connection to his/her literal and figurative place, through time: Gabriel Garcia-Marquez’s Hundred Years of Solitude, James Agee’s Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, Caleb’s novel. It’s funny, but, as much as I labored over the writing, we took the opposite approach to recording; we tracked the entire thing in four days. Really more like three. We’ve been playing these songs a lot live, so there’s a pretty wild, loose character to the songs.
You’ve received much critical and fan acclaim. Does that fuel your desire to continue making music, or is that just all part of the process?
Lee: Well, i don’t know about that. I certainly appreciate any effort somebody puts into thinking or talking about the record or the band in general. You know, there’s a strange relationship that exists between artist and critic, and I don’t think my feelings about it are particularly interesting or different from most other folks’. I think critics are important, because they are, ostensibly anyway, folks who are able to talk about their area of expertise in a way that can uncover some of the artist’s meaning, or alternatively call them on their shit work. I think that’s a really valuable mission. At the same time, critics, even the best ones, are just individuals with individual tastes. So, as an appreciator of music and art, I respect the job of the critic, and appreciate it when he or she chooses to comment on my work. However, as an artist, I try to put it out of mind, and tell myself, “just because somebody likes your stuff doesn’t mean your stuff is hitting its mark. and just because somebody trashes it doesn’t mean its trash.” My girlfriend has the patience of a saint, and reminds me of this pretty constantly.
Your influences range from legendary singers, to classic actors and bands. Why such a vast and broad variety?
Lee: You know, I’ve been sitting here trying to think of a classic actor that’s influenced me, but I’m coming up short. Did you see somewhere that I was inspired by classic actors?
What are top five albums and/or bands you wouldn’t want to live without?
Lee: Dang. Well.This will change between today and tomorrow. “No Division” by Hot Water Music. “One More From the Road” by Skynyrd. “Bealtitude” by the Staple Singers. “Let It Be” by the Replacements. “Raw Power” by The Stooges. It’s still summertime, so i’m not listening to as much painfully depressing stuff as I will be in a couple or three months.
Greg Vandy made Seattle show mention and spun “Opelika” on Oct. 9th on “The Roadhouse”
(Little Rock, AR weekly)
Here’s what on tap for live music this weekend in and around Little Rock:
Dirty Alabama rock ‘n’ roll is what Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires will deliver when stopping in at White Water Tavern. The sound is Southern rock ‘n’ roll, but there’s something awfully raw about it. A little brawny Muscle Shoals R&B and gritty Memphis soul with a sweaty dose of 1970s Detroit punk. But the band can connect Walker Percy with the Ramones. And the outfit is working on a follow-up album to their There Is a Bomb in Gilead and road testing some of these new songs. Austin Lucas, a punk-rocker-turned-folk-rocking-Americana troubadour, opens as he tours in support of his new album, Stay Reckless. The music starts at 9:30 p.m. with a $7 cover.
RADIO BOISE KRBX
“Everything You Took” aired 10/08 on Sean Deter’s “Square Root”s show
THE PRESS -ENTERPRISE
(Riverside, CA daily)
MUSIC: Joshua Tree Music Festival runs Oct. 11-13
Other performers include Elephant Revival, Tal National, Baraka Moon, the Brothers Comatose, Down North, Scott Pemberton, Blake Noble, Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires, Machin’, Chris Pureka, Tim Snider, Zazi, The Missing Parts, Junipers Drum, The Midnight Pine, Paula & Kurosh and Intuit.
(L.A. music site)
Lee Bains & the Glory Fires, Austin Lucas & The Barefoot Movement
10/10/2013 at The Mint
(Coachella Valley daily)
A Southern Sound: Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires Are a Don’t-Miss Band at the Joshua Tree Music Festival
Written by Brian Blueskye
If commercial radio stations were interested in sharing great new music with listeners, perhaps you’d already have heard of Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires.
The recently formed Southern rock/alt-country band is bringing its gospel-influenced sound to the three-day Joshua Tree Music Festival on Friday, Oct. 11.
When I spoke to Bains over the phone, his thick Alabama accent was hard to ignore. I could also tell that he lives and breathes rock ’n’ roll, and he expresses a genuine sense of excitement when he talks about his music. The band from Birmingham formed in 2010, and the group has been receiving critical acclaim from independent music critics ever since.
Bains’ love of music goes back to when he heard gospel music for the first time as a child.
“The church I grew up in didn’t really do gospel music. It was more hymns and that kind of thing,” Bains said. “… My parents both worked, so I had a baby sitter growing up who was Pentecostal. She was exclusively into gospel music. I was exposed to different sorts of styles of church music growing up. That’s what was around, and I came to understand music through that perspective, looking back. ”
His roots in the church go back to his grandmother, who was a choir director; his grandfather was a vocal soloist in the church—and he taught Bains how to sing.
“We went to church every Sunday and choir practice once a week, and I guess we had what I would consider a strong religious foundation in our family, but we weren’t members of a fundamentalist congregation,” he said. “I would say it was a moderate theology that my family took seriously.”
One the band’s website, the members cite both punk-greats Fugazi and the Stooges as influences. Bains explained that while the Glory Fires don’t bear a musical resemblance to those bands, those bands nonetheless offer influences.
“Part of what has drawn me to play what I consider regional music or traditional music … was my exposure to punk rock ethos as I understood it,” he said. “It’s basically a galvanizing influence, clinging to your own experience and your own identity, however weird or marginal, or whatever it may be. For me, the deeper I got into punk rock, the more I started thinking about the ethos that was underlying it. … I did grow up in this regional culture and this musical tradition, so the “punk rock” thing I can do is own that, to reside in it and do something progressive and subversive from within that.”
Bains also “owns” a unique songwriting style.
“I usually start out trying to frame all my songs (from) an explicitly personal perspective. I try to limit my songs to my personal experience and knowledge,” he explained. “That’s been the guiding force, and the process has been just working at it. I have a really close friend who is a fiction writer, and he and I are sort of each other’s sounding boards and editors. After I’ve written a song about 150 times, I’ll send him a demo and the lyrics, and we’ll sort of talk about it.”
The band’s recently released album, There Is a Bomb in Gilead, has a thought-provoking and humorous story behind it.
“When I was growing up, I heard a church song called ‘There Is a Balm in Gilead.’ I would hear people singing it in church and heard it on gospel tapes. … I guess I didn’t know what ‘balm’ meant at that age and never heard that word before. I thought the song was called ‘There Is a Bomb in Gilead,’ which I sort of struggled to wrap my head around as a child. I sort of came up with this long kind of justification for that phrase. I just remembered Jesus with the money-changers at the temples, and Jesus was sort of a bomb in that sense. With the current political climate, there is a bomb literally and figuratively in that part of the world right now.”
Bains said the band is close to finishing its follow-up album and hope to have it released in the spring of 2014.
“We have to get it to labels and see about all that,” he said.
Only several years in, the Glory Fires have already built a following.
“Every day when we’re on the road, there’s usually something exciting every day,” he said. “I remember the first time we were far away from home, and I saw somebody that I’ve never seen or met before, in a town I’ve never been in before, mouthing the words to one of our songs that we were playing. Vermont was the first (place) I really saw it, and it registered with me. It was pretty exciting and gratifying.”
Given the band’s uncharted and innovative style, the Glory Fires are definitely one of the acts at the Joshua Tree Music Festival that makes it worth attending—and one of the bands that you don’t want to miss.
The Joshua Tree Music Festival takes place Friday, Oct. 11, through Sunday, Oct. 13, at the Joshua Tree Lake Campground, 2601 Sunfair Road, Joshua Tree. A three-day pass is $110; passes for individual days are $40 to $60. For tickets or more information, visit www.joshuatreemusicfestival.com.
TUCSON PEOPLE– Simple show mention
On Saturday night, Oct. 5, Austin Lucas takes the stage at 9 p.m., followed by Lee Bains II and the Glory Fires at 10:30 p.m. and Lord Paul Benjaman and a stable of special guest musicians shutting the party down in style beginning at midnight.
Cost each night is just $5 at the door, and attendees must be 21 and over. Fassler Hall is located at 304 S. Elgin Ave.
Show preview w/ band photo
Go Out! Fun Events This Week
Southern rockers Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires return to the Hi-Tone, touring in support of last year’s debut album, There is a Bomb in Gilead, and previewing material from their forthcoming record. Austin Lucas and the Dirty Streets will also perform.
Cover is $7. 412-414 N. Cleveland. For more information go to hitonememphis.com or call 901-278-8663.
WASU RADIO (Boone, NC college radio) – Lee solo acoustic in-studio Thu Sep. 26th at 4:30pm edt
HELLHOUND MUSIC (online music blog) – News post on West Coast our with band photo, and related links
Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires embark on first West Coast tour
THE BIRMINGHAM NEWS / AL.com
Lee Bains, Dank Sinatra lead loaded music weekend in Tuscaloosa
He’s an Auburn fan, but you’ll have trouble finding a local music fan in Tuscaloosa who won’t rock out at a Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires show. Bains, above, and The Glory Fires ripped through a set to open an Alabama Shakes show at Egan’s on Friday, Nov. 23, 2012.
By Ben Flanagan
TUSCALOOSA, Alabama — Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires will rip through Tuscaloosa this weekend for what should prove another memorable show at Green Bar downtown.
This show is part of a fall tour to further support of the band’s acclaimed debut album “There Is A Bomb In Gilead,” released through Alive Naturalsound Records).
The Glory Fires are also finishing up their follow-up studio album, which Bains says will be a “grittier, harder-hitting affair” than the debut. So watch out for a few new songs at Friday night’s show.
Chattanooga rockers The Bohannons will open for Bains & The Glory Fires.
(Boone, NC daily)
Lee Bains III and The Glory Fires to set Boone ablaze
By Jesse Campbell
Boone Saloon will be loud and rowdy when scrappy Alabama rock act Lee Bains III and The Glory Fires brings its “trashed-out liberation gospel” to Boone Sept. 26.
“This is our first time playing in Boone, but I’ve been there a few times,” said group front man Lee Bains. “Every time I go, I either wind up playing heated Rook games with my girlfriend’s family or hanging out in a barn with a guy named Cowboy Keith. So, it’s pretty awesome.”
The Southern-fueled group draws most of its influences from such rock legends as The Stooges and James Brown, as well as The Replacements, Flannery O’Connor and Black Oak Arkansas.
Bains said the group’s formation and namesake came from a notebook of newly written songs in need of the right melody and partly from Southern tradition.
“A band that I was in, The Dexateens, had quit playing shows, and I’d written a bunch of songs, so I got some guys from Birmingham together,” Bains said. “A buddy told me that his grandma had told him that a glory-fire was what they would have before revivals when she was growing up. They would take all of their stuff that they saw as a hindrance to revival and throw it in a big (burn) pile.”
When it comes to writing music, Bains said he draws from a large source of inspiration that runs the gamut from personal experiences to greater societal and political conversations enveloping the nation.
“You know, the usual rock ’n’ roll stuff: driving around, being young and shiftless,” Bains said, “wanting to radicalize the government, wanting to hang out with your girlfriend, being older and shiftless, existential crisis and stuff like that.”
Performing live and energizing audiences is almost cathartic, he said, adding, “The absolute physical, emotional emptiness and exhaustion and the ringing of guitar feedback in my head — my cousin told me it’s called ebullition.”
The music starts around 10 p.m. Sept. 26 at Boone Saloon, located at 489 W. King St. in downtown Boone. Cover costs $5, and only those 21 and older will be admitted. – See more at: http://mountaintimes.com/music/articles/Lee-Bains-III-and-The-Glory-Fires-to-set-Boone-ablaze–id-024563#sthash.jsNzUVFA.dpuf
(Nashville, TN weekly)
Nashville Scene Critic’s Pick …Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires w/Water Liars
Like numerous young bands from the South, Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires channel the soulful, country-tinged sounds born beneath the Mason-Dixon while summoning the crunch and cathartic howl of the punk records they likely discovered as teens. Indebted to the Allman Brothers as much as Minutemen, Bains and his band straddle the line between tradition and rebellion, serving nervy country-rock much akin to local mainstays Those Darlins and Glossary. While Bains shows little interest in poetics, show openers Water Liars take their name after a short story by Barry Hannah, a giant of Southern lit. Like Hannah’s fiction, songwriter Justin Kinkel-Schuster’s songs are gorgeous and painful tales of love, violence and the inherent loneliness of manhood. The band backs up Kinkel-Schuster with shimmering homespun tunes that split the difference between Gram Parsons and Slint. —JARED SULLIVAN
WWOZ RADIO NEW ORLEANS
(New Orleans Jazz & Roots Radio) – Solo acoustic Lee session with Valerie The Problem Child” Kacprzak Fri. Sep. 6th at 2pm CDT New Orleans, LA.
(Atlanta A&E site) – Positive show preview with show poster art and Ain’t No Stranger video.
Lee Bains III brings the Glory Fires to the EARL
With blistering guitars, pounding drums and a southern wail Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires smack listeners in the face with their own brand of soulful high energy Southern infused rock music. Bains and crew have been thrilling music listeners all over the South with their latest record There Is A Bomb In Gilead and when they take the tunes to the live arena they are powerful and explosive.
This Saturday night they are back in Atlanta with a show at the EARL in the East Atlanta Village. The back room will be jam packed as they roll through tunes like “Ain’t No Stranger”, “Choctaw Summer” and “Centreville”. Their shows are in your face possessing the rawness of a punk rock spectacle while delivering sweet Southern soul filled music to the rabid fans.
Make your plans now and get to the EARL early so you can get a good spot because you are not going to want to miss any of Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires. Atlanta is getting ready to get lit up with some bonafide bad ass Southern music.
WHO: Lee Bains & the Glory Fires
WHEN: Saturday, August 17th, 9:00pm
WHERE: The EARL
(Baton Rouge daily) – Feature interview to preview show
Alabama musicians continue rock legacy
Lee Bains & Glory Fires
by John Wirt
“I approach songwriting like a fiction writer or a poet would. I revise and revise and revise.” Lee Bains
Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires fuse Southern rock, Southern soul and country music, the homegrown musical styles the band’s members grew up with in Alabama.
Alabama music may stand in the shadows of the music of neighboring Southern states Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee, but it nevertheless has a great legacy of its own. In the 1960s and ’70s, recording studios in the Muscle Shoals area and the session musicians who worked in those studios attracted such visiting stars as the Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Bob Dylan and Paul Simon.
Alabama talent, too, including Percy Sledge, Wilson Pickett, Clarence Carter, multiple members of the Temptations and country-music genius Hank Williams Sr. made huge marks on the American musical landscape.
“Alabama has strong musical traditions in different genres, but it doesn’t have a monolithic style like Mississippi or New Orleans does,” Birmingham native Bains said. “Alabama has a more of a patchwork of music.”
But not being identified with a particular style, such as Mississippi blues or jazz from New Orleans, can be an advantage, Bains said.
“When we’re out in the world telling people we’re from Alabama, they don’t make the immediate associations they might make if we were to say we’re from Mississippi or Louisiana. That’s nice, to not give them those expectations.”
As for Alabama musicians who recently ascended to international popularity, there’s the Muscle Shoals-inspired Alabama Shakes, formed in Athens, Ala., in 2009. Early in Alabama Shakes’ existence, the group opened for Bains & the Glory Fires in a bar in Tuscaloosa. About 18 months later, the newly famous Shakes invited Bains & the Glory Fires to be opening act during the group’s first headlining tour.
“I’m glad for them,” Bains said. “They’re a really cool band, great people and they’ve been so good about representing Alabama and getting other Alabama bands to play with them.”
Bains grew up in Birmingham with a father who’d grown up listening to Southern soul and Southern rock.
“We listened to a lot of Wilson Pickett,’60s R&B and black gospel music,” Bains said. “All that stuff fed my musical consciousness. But it wasn’t until I was 20, sometime in college, when I realized that all the music I loved was recorded there in Muscle Shoals.
“That Southern-soul sound of the mid-’60s is more rock ’n’ roll than what people called rock ’n’ roll at the time,” he added. “ ‘In the Midnight Hour’ is way more rock ’n’ roll than anything the Beatles were doing then. That’s the direct descendant of Little Richard.”
Bains’ study for the English degree he earned from New York University in 2007 helps him to be a better songwriter.
“I approach songwriting like a fiction writer or a poet would,” he said. “I revise and revise and revise.”
Bains and a friend who recently earned an MFA in creative writing also review each other’s work.
“He sends his short stories to me, I send my lyrics to him. That works for me.”
Bains also got helpful instruction in the music business while he was a member of the well-known Alabama punk-rock band, the Dexateens.
“I kept my eyes and ears open and learned from those guys,” he said. “I learned how to tour and book shows. That was invaluable. And the songs we played night after night are such great songs. And I was playing more shows than I’d ever played before. That got in my blood.”
(Baton Rouge weekly)
Friday – White Violet, Lee Bains III & The GloryFires. Critically-acclaimed out-of-town rock bands hit the stage at Chelsea’s Café. 10:30 p.m.
(Hattiesburg, MS daily)
Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires return to Hub City
Tonight, turn off your TV, turn down your radio and give into the magic that comes from a live performance as the Hub City gets an early jump on a rockin’ weekend!
Drop by the Thirsty Hippo tonight and stay a spell as down-home musical artists Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires bring their signature deep-south liberation gospel sound to the ’Burg.
Stopping by Hattiesburg on their fall tour, Baines and his bandmates will be introducing audience members to songs from their critically-acclaimed debut album, “There is a Bomb in Gilead.”
In addition, those present will have a chance to hear some of the band’s new material as they road-test the songs that will be released on their follow-up studio album.
The music begins at 8 p.m., so bring your dancing shoes and make yourself at home.
Want to learn more about Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires? Visit www.thegloryfires.com.
THE DAILY TIMES
(Knoxville, TN daily)
Shockwaves from Lee Bains’s ‘Bomb’ keep him rocking down the road
By Steve Wildsmith
On the surface, Lee Bains might seem to have little in common with Buzz Osborne, the frizzy-haired sludge-punk rocker known as King Buzzo who fronts the Melvins.
But Osborne, who started his band back in 1983, isn’t the worst role model for a guy like Bains. After all, he’s been touring the country for three decades, and the wisdom he’s collected in that time has been essential to the ongoing success of Lee Bains III and The Glory Fires, which return to The Well in Knoxville this weekend.
“I read something where he listed the five ways to keep a band together, and No. 3 or 4 was to fire somebody — because invariably somebody is going to get burned out and not want to do it anymore, and that person will bring down morale,” Bains told The Daily Times recently. “We did have two guys quit the band in the last six months or so; our bass player left in December, and our guitar player in the spring, so there’s definitely been some rifts with the touring schedule and all of that. But the lineup we’ve had for the past few months here has collectively had a way different attitude.”
A positive attitude is essential for The Glory Fires, which are still running on the rocket fuel that is the band’s debut album, “There Is a Bomb in Gilead.” The title comes from a misheard gospel lyric from Bains’ childhood, and while “balm” may sound more soothing to some, “bomb” is exactly what this record is. The songs begin with the simmering hiss of a grenade fuse before exploding in ways that define what life is like in the modern South: Tough, mean and unforgiving.
It’s been received well throughout the country, and the growing popularity of the band has meant that the Glory Fires have stayed on the road with little break. It hasn’t been easy, and it’s not difficult to understand how some unprepared musicians can’t adjust to the life of incessant touring, but for Bains, it’s the sort of success he’s aimed for from the beginning.
“I’ve definitely been pleasantly surprised,” he said. “I put a lot of work into those songs, not just in the recording, but a lot more time and energy into writing them. I’ve definitely felt gratified that people have seemed to enjoy it, particularly critics, because I’ve done my share of music criticism and writing as well, so it always feels good to be appreciated by the writers.”
Bains put together The Glory Fires with Justin Colburn, a former bandmate from his old band Arkadelphia. Bains had shelved that group to join up with Southern rock outfit The Dexateens, but when The Dexateens called it quits in 2010, Bains found himself writing songs for a project that hadn’t yet come together.
Once The Glory Fires got off the ground, however, they didn’t stop. Already, the band is in the mixing stage of a new record, which Bains hopes to release early next year, and as glorious as “Gilead” sounds, he feels the new album is even stronger.
“When we made that first record, I think in a way we were more of a band on a theoretical level,” he said. “We had songs, we practiced, we played shows here and there, but a lot of our sound existed in our heads, and the act of recording was trying to realize that sound. Now, we’re coming into this record after hundreds of shows, and getting to know one another better musically.
“We already, at this point, have a definite voice, so the objective in recording this album was just to capture that voice well. With songwriting, I tried to make them a more consistent batch of songs, a more singular batch of songs, whereas on the last album, I think I was trying to do too many things at once. I was trying to make sounds as well as lyrical maneuvers that didn’t really jive with one another as well as the one we just finished doing does.”
The band is shopping the new album around to labels and continuing to tour, and there seems to be little chance of a break on the horizon. Not that Bains minds; that’s when he functions best, he said.
“I’m the type that really doesn’t like sitting still,” he said. “I don’t like leaving things to the fates, for lack of a better word. That’s part of the reason I do want to tour so much. I know it’s very possible to tour and tour and tour and never get to where you’re able to sustain yourself financially, but I think you have a better chance of that if you work hard at it.”
IF YOU GO
Lee Bains III and The Glory Fires
PERFORMING WITH: American Peacemakers
WHEN: 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13
WHERE: The Well, 4620 Kingston Pike, Knoxville
HOW MUCH: $5
The Weekend Plan-It: Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires, Between the Buried and Me, and Height
By Paige Huntoon
Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires will bring their brand of southern rock-Americana to the Well at 9 p.m.tonight with American Peacemakers. It’s $5 to get in. 21+ only.
(Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill weekly)
Best Of: Winner: Lee Bains, Dragmatic
When: Sat., Sept. 28, 9 p.m.
227 S Wilmington St, Raleigh
(Knoxville, TN weekly)
Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires with American Peacemakers September 13th at The Well in Knoxville, TN
Former Dexateen Lee Bains III leads a new band through the same kind of Southern rock-inspired Americana on the Glory Fires’ debut album, There’s a Bomb in Gilead.
(Athens, GA weekly)
Calendar Picks: Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires, Pilgrim
Thursday, Sept. 12 @ Green Room
By Dan Mistich
Paul McHugh is part of the Drive-By Truckers road crew, but he also serves as the leader of power-rock outfit Pilgrim, which has featured many hometown players, like Brad Morgan and Matt Hudgins. Pilgrim opens Thursday for Southern-inflected garage-rockers Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires, based out of Birmingham and Atlanta. LB3&GF deliver plenty of soul through standard-fare rock instrumentation, but what’s really great about the band’s debut album, There is a Bomb in Gilead, is that it manages to tip its hat to Southern spiritual music without any of the cheese. The gritty gospel on this one is good, so get on it.
(Baton Rouge, LA weekly)
Lee Bains III & the GloryFires
Real ‘Bama Rock! Come groove to the sound of the GloryFires at Chelsea’s! Sure to be a great time, with drinks pouring and music blaring!
Chelsea’s Cafe | Starts at 11:00 pm
(Athens, GA weekly)
Thursday, September 12 at Green Room: LEE BAINS III & THE GLORY FIRES Gritty, bluesy rock and roll mixed with smooth, twangy R&B. Featuring former members of The Dexateens.
(online music site)
Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires’ Fall Tour Dates in Further Suppport of “There Is A Bomb In Gilead”