Runka, runka, three chords and a cloud of dust!
The Georgia Satellites were one of the most ferocious bands of the 80’s and what set them apart from the other 10,000 groups who cranked their amps up to 11 was that their wild riffs and tanked cries came from a band that, from the start, understood it’s place in rock tradition and fought hard to solidify it with each recording.
The story starts in the early 80’s at Hedgen’s, a "country club for the spiritually impoverished and emotionally destitute" , as chief songwriter Baird would later identify it. Bassist Keith Christopher, Drummer Mauro Magellan and Guitarists Rick Richards and Dan Baird were playing on the Atlanta circuit in various bar bands such as the Hellhounds, the Brains and the Woodpeckers. These bands would gradually morph into the original Georgia Satellites.
#1 fan and road manager Kevin Jennings, sold an EP of early Satellites recordings to an independent UK record label, Making Waves and the EP, Keep The Faith, provoked an extraordinary reaction from the UK music press, which, in turn, woke up the previously indifferent stateside music industry. The stand-out track on the EP and most peoples introduction to the band was Keep Your Hands To Yourself which was swiftly culled from the bands eponymous debut major label release on Elektra and became a runaway grammy nominated hit, both LP and single only being kept off the respective #1 slot’s by Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet and Living On A Prayer. A second hit single, Battleship Chains, solidified the LP’s platinum success.
Where the Satellites really earned their reputation though, was with their live shows. All those years of three sets a night, paid dividends as their live performances laid waste to audiences across the States and in particular Europe, which took the band to it’s collective heart, a love affair that continues to this day.
Two more Elektra LP’s, Open All Night and the remarkable Salvation And Sin, plus a track, Hippy Hippy Shake, on the Tom Cruise movie soundtrack, Cocktail, followed, but by the early 90’s, all those years of incessant touring had taken their toll and the band split.
Dan Baird forged a successful solo career with Rick Rubin’s Def American, scoring major hits with the album Love Songs For The Hearing Impaired and single I Love You Period. A second LP, the critically acclaimed Buffalo Nickel, followed and Dan also developed a career as a highly sought after producer.
Post Satellites Mauro played on both of Dan’s Def American albums before taking time out to raise a family and concentrate on his other interests. Keith had also returned to the fold for the Def American recordings and like Mauro played on both ‘Love Songs For The Hearing Impaired’ and ‘Buffalo Nickel’. After recording ‘Buffalo Nickel’, Keith went on to join Kenny Wayne Sheppard’s band and play on a multitude of sessions, including Ayo's 2006 double platinum debut Joyful.
In 2001 Dan returned to live performance, with the Sofa Kings, a band that featured hot shot guitarist Ken McMahan. The shows producing the live album, Redneck Savant. Dan also found time to record and tour as part of the alt “supergroup”, The Yayhoos who also featured Keith Christopher and long time Dan sparring partner Terry Anderson. The Yayhoos line up is completed by Eric "Roscoe" Ambel. The foursome have released two albums to date, Fear Not The Obvious in 2002, following it in 2007 with Put The Hammer Down.
2003 saw the release of a compilation of Dan and Georgia Satellites unreleased gems - Out Of Mothballs - and Mauro put out an album with his other band The Crashers - Love School. Dan, Keith, Mauro and Ken hit the road for the first of a sucession of tours which were documented on the 2005 double live set - Feels So Good.
In 2007 the band decided to take some time off to concentrate on writing and to recharge their batteries. During this period, Ken had his first child and decided to spend some time at home. His legacy and importance to the band are stamped all over the live cd and dvd set - Fresh Out Of Georgia - which will stand as a worthy testament to his time with the band.
His replacement is none other than Warner E. Hodges, also guitarist extraordinaire with Nashville legends, Jason And The Scorchers. Warner is probably the only guitarist capable of matching Dan's intensity chord for chord and proved to be the missing piece in the Homemade Sin jigsaw. Long term friends, Dan had co-produced Warner's 2007 debut solo album - Centerline.
February 2008, Dan, Warner, Mauro and Keith embarked upon the recording of Homemade Sin’s debut studio album. Recorded in Nashville the fourteen tracks on ‘Dan Baird & Homemade Sin’ represent the first new Dan Baird studio album since ‘Buffalo Nickel’.
The album was released in Europe in May 2008 to rave reviews and was playlisted by BBC Radio 2's Bob Harris, an American release scheduled for 2009. Live audiences got to hear the new songs for the first time when Homemade Sin, joined the Quireboys on a highly successful package tour of the U.K. and Scandinavia. The band were back in Scandinavia once again in October with one veteran (and by all accounts highly jaded) music journalist giving the band a SIX out of FIVE star review and proclaiming the show to be the best gig he’d seen in over twenty years!
Can you give me an amen?