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Rick Wood's Photo I'm a music lover and architect in St. Louis -- and a veteran member of the Twangfest Twang Gang.

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‘If you let great players create, you end up with much better music’ A pre-Twangfest interview with Deano Waco of Deano & the Purvs

flickr.com/photos/seanbirm/6249510799 / Sean Birmingham

Hailing from Chicago and Austin, Deano & the Purvs meet in the tough-to-define middle of loud rock ‘n’ roll and hard country.

The band features members of the Waco Brothers — Dean Schlabowske (guitar/vocals), Joe Camarillo (drums) and Alan Doughty (bass) — along with Bill Anderson (acoustic guitar), Pete Stiles (mandolin) and Jo Walston (vocals) of the Meat Purveyors. The musicians are no strangers to Twangfest; they’ve all played the festival in St. Louis and the SXSW day parties on numerous occasions. But this year’s Twangfest marks Deano and the Purvs first official appearance as a band on a stage in St. Louis. They’ll be at the Blueberry Hill Duck Room for Night Two of Twangfest 16 on June 7.

Last week, I caught up with Deano by email to learn what he’s been up to.

Rick Wood: How and when did you guys meet up?

Deano: I first met the Meat Purveyors in Austin at SXSW in 1995. Cherilyn [diMond] used to have a day party at her house, and she invited Jon [Langford], Tracey [Dear] and I to come by and play a few Wacos tunes. We did, saw TMP [Texas Meat Purveyors] and were predictably blown away. Jon then recommended that Rob Miller sign them to Bloodshot and he did. Insurgent country history made at a backyard BBQ!

Whose idea was it to put this band together?

About six years ago, again at SXSW, I asked Pete [Stiles] to fill in for a missing Jon Rauhouse at Dollar Store’s Yard Dog gig. The idea was hatched over that drunken evening but took a couple years to come together.

Given your scattered locations and schedules, is it hard to coordinate a string of tour dates?

We’re not interested in lengthy touring. The idea of the Purvs is to go where we’re wanted, not tour for the sake of touring. I pay for all of the recording and so far, we’ve just given the music away. There’s no record company to placate. In a sense, I suppose there’s no ambition either! But writing, recording and performing good songs for a small number of people that truly appreciate what we do is ambitious enough.

Where is this current tour taking you? Who are you playing with?

We’re playing just three shows. After Twangfest, we play a house concert in Milwaukee, then at Fitzgerald’s in fabulous Berwyn, just outside Chicago. Both the St. Louis and Chicago shows are with Kelly Hogan, who’s out supporting her fantastic new album and has poached Wacos/Purvs drummer Joe Camarillo for her all star band!

Lots of people in St. Louis know the Waco Brothers and the Meat Purveyors from previous Twangfest lineups. What can they expect from this current band?

Expect the muscular backbone of the Waco’s with the sexy technique of TMP! Seriously, my writing is in a similar vein for both the Purvs and the Wacos…I think fans of either TMP or the Wacos will come away happy.

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