Every region in the United States has its own unique little sound. You’ve got New Orleans with its Jazz and Creole. Then you have L.A., for example, which is super big on hype and glam, (only the biggest and brightest for L.A.). New York has its art rock scene and the Pacific Northwest loves its sad, sad, oh sooo sad, soft-handed ballads. What about Georgia? Or more specifically Athens, Ga.? Sure you have REM, but that is so long gone. I was curious to find out what was going down in the land of peaches.
Jucifer is what’s going on y’all. When I first heard the name Jucifer I said to my self, “Oh good lord not another crappy punk rock band trying to convince everybody that their hard rocking devils with a taste for the booze.” To my absolute shock I found myself delighted by the band’s sound and make up. What we have here is a duo of guitar rock stylings that is up to par with Black Sabbath and the Melvin’s. Jucifer is comprised of one man and one woman. It’s an Adam and Eve situation in this band folks.
Guitarist, G. Amber Valentine and Drummer, Ed Livengood have found themselves a nice little niche in the world of rock that has the potential to bring down rock as we once knew it. That’s right, one guitar and one drum set is all that Jucifer brandishes live. Valentine, besides being a total 1960-ish cat woman look-alike and total fox, plays her guitar like it was on fire and she is desperately trying to pound out the flames. I’m not trying to stereotype here but most girls don’t play like this man. It’s like a method out, mad, Hell’s Angel biker’s ghost has possessed the body of a beautiful young little vixen and her guitar. It’s kind of scary in that tingly sort of way. “It’s pretty much just me fucking with stuff until it sounds the way I want it to sound,” she explained. “My best friend is my guitar and three amps.” With her wall of speakers and hot licks-a-smokin, she also has a pretty enchanting voice. She follows the fine line between sweet girl vocals and screaming so hard her lungs and kidneys are in danger of popping out.
Valentine is not the only force to be reckoned with in this duo; Livengood is not too shabby himself. His physical appearance and drumming reminds me of Keith Moon, Metallica’s Lars Ulrich and Animal from The Muppet Show all gooped up into one thrashing mass. “I’m not seeing anything, I’m not seeing anybody,” Ed revealed. “Even when my eyes are open I’m seeing spots.” He hits so hard that he has actually broken bones playing live. Holy shit if you have broken a bone while playing you were either really drunk and fell off the stage or your doing something oh so right that it challenges human physical capability.
Live it’s all rock, but on the albums Calling All Cars On The Vegas Strip (recently re-released by Capricorn) and Lucifer’s newest release, The Lambs EP, you will find the hard-pounding rock mixed with samples and clean guitar overdubs. The overdubs don’t take away what you would get live oh no! The live show and the recorded stuff are two very different experiences. The albums are really well done and not pretentious at all. The recordings almost remind me of the Melvin’s mixed with a little Victory at Sea, with a wee dash of electronic pop. “Something that we decided long ago, our sort of ‘credo’,” Valentine continued, “is that we do whatever the fuck we wanna do.” That’s not a bad thing in this particular situation. Lucifer puts subtly aside though when playing live and gives you a 2001 version of Phil Spector (a wall of sound).
Jucifer has at one time considered a third member. “We tried a bass player once, but because I had my sound worked out to compensate for the lack of low-end, suddenly there was way too much bass.” I for one am very glad that Jucifer is and will always remain a duo. There is something to be said for the stripped down rock assault sounds of guitar and drums. It’s the roots of rock don’t ya know! If this sounds like your deal and you are into bands like the White Stripes, or if you want to hear what Black Sabbath would sound like if Ozzy possessed a gorgeous girl, then go down to Berbati’s Pan on Sunday evening and check them out. Take note of this: she plays with three amps and one distortion pedal. That’s pretty cool actually!!!