Former Twin Town-alum Charlie Pickett is one of the opening acts for garage rock legends The Sonics on March 1, 2014 in the Mainroom. Read up on Pickett's backstory from his 1980's heyday:


The case of Charlie Pickett is one of rock and roll's classic stories of almost-was. He still averages a half-dozen shows a year, and while he's grayer and a bit paunchier, his seamless fusion of blues, country, and unapologetic rock and roll maintains the same abandon and intensity it possessed in the early Eighties. That's when he, guitarist Johnny Salton, bassist Dave Froshnider, and drummer Johnny "Sticks" Galway segued from being strictly a cover band and reinvented themselves as Charlie Pickett and the Eggs. Their debut album, Live at the Button, released in 1982 on the local Open Records label, became an instant classic and garnered a coveted rave review from England's esteemed music weekly Melody Maker.

The Cowboy Junkie Au-Go-Go EP followed two years later, drawing kudos from respected rock scribe Robert Christgau of the Village Voice. By the mid-Eighties, Pickett ruled the local rock scene. His reputation and talent that took the band members to Minneapolis, where they were signed by Twin Tone Records, home to the likes of Soul Asylum and the Replacements. Route 33, Pickett's first and only album for the label, was well received but never reached the wider audience that the label and band had hoped for. So Pickett went back to touring. Signing with another South Florida label, Safety Net, Pickett and Salton recorded one final album, The Wilderness, enlisting a high-profile producer, REM guitarist Peter Buck. Unfortunately, like its predecessors, The Wilderness failed to sell. Discouraged, Pickett called it quits following a final tour in 1988 with Salton, Galway, and new bassist Marco Pettit.  

Pickett went back to school, earned his law degree, and began practicing commercial litigation. Then in 2008, Bloodshot Records, whose roster includes Ryan Adams, the Waco Brothers, and the Mekons, contacted Pickett, offering to release a best-of package. Bar Band Americanus includes 17 songs from his old albums and two unreleased tracks. "The nice part of it was that Bloodshot reached out to me," Pickett says proudly. "It was really great. That was a connection from way back and I'm grateful for that." That connection germinated with a 1985 concert Pickett performed in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which was attended by a local college kid named Rob Miller — later Bloodshot's cofounder and current co-owner. 

"That Charlie Pickett show was one of the essential elements in my brain getting around how punk and country could get in the pit and fuck each other up, and I wasn't even aware it was happening," Miller maintains. "That cross-genre, big-bang era of music when it seemed that possibilities were everywhere, organically, without forethought or afterthought. It's not a stretch to say that Charlie Pickett and the Eggs — and a few other bands like X, Knitters, and the Meat Puppets — made Bloodshot possible. It gave me a template upon which to build an outlook. To me, his music has held up really well against so many others."

[Lee Zimmerman, Miami New Times]