Preview of Ponderosa Stomp 2013. (VICE. Oct 2013.)


The wedding reception of New Orleans anesthesiologist Ira “Dr. Ike” Padnos in 2000 was so amazing—featuring acts ranging from Magic Slim and the Teardrops to R.L. Burnside—that his friends persuaded him to put on another show like it. And another. And another. Now in its eleventh official year, the Ponderosa Stomp festival remains devoted to celebrating and revitalizing the careers of long-lost rock, soul, R & B, rockabilly, country, blues, and garage musicians. Dr. Ike and his small staff (known as The Mystic Knights of the Mau Mau, an homage to Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’s “Feast of the Mau Mau”) bring recognition to forgotten artists still roaming the Earth through both the festival and their multifaceted nonprofit organization, the Ponderosa Stomp Foundation.

Those of us who are not vinyl obsessives often recognize very few names on the Stomp’s bill. For every Legendary Stardust Cowboy or Roky Erickson (household names, right?) the Stomp features dozens of ultra-obscure one-hit wonders and unknown architects of rock ’n’ roll, many of them nearing the ends of their lives.

This year’s festival—which runs from October 3 to October 5 at New Orleans’s Rock ’n’ Bowl—is made up exclusively of acts that have not previously played the Stomp. “Some people, like Barbara Lynn, are so great they end up playing almost yearly—to the point where [the lineup] could possibly be perceived as getting stale,” Dr. Ike explained. Because the Stomp focuses mainly on unsung heroes of the distant past, shaking things has not been easy. “Due to old age, sickness and death, there are less and less people out there now,” he said. “People like James Alexander [singer for Lil Buck and the Topcats] have like one line about them on the whole internet. Some of these artists are so obscure that even the record collector types are like, ‘Who is this guy?’”

The Stomp’s growing reputation means that by now talent has become slightly easier to hunt down—these days, left-for-dead artists sometimes call up the good doctor on their own. In 2005, Padnos received what he thought at first might be a prank call, from Roky Erickson’s drummer Fred Krc, who helped put in motion the mentally troubled Erickson’s triumphant return to the stage, including Stomp shows in 2007 and 2008. “Ninety percent of the time there is no booking agent for these people,” Dr. Ike said, recalling the time he drove out to Jennings, Louisiana, in search of swamp-pop singer Phil Phillips who literally lived down by the railroad tracks. “This year we stumbled upon two people we didn’t know were alive,” Dr. Ike added, citing Ebb Records artist Eddie Daniels, who cut rockabilly songs like “Playin’ Hide Go Seek,” and a famous cover of Professor Longhair’s “Going to the Mardi Gras.” Padnos cold-called Daniels. “I asked him if he was the guy who cut [“Playin’ Hide Go Seek”] and when he started singing it to me I offered him the gig right then.” Daniels immediately accepted. CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE AT Vice Magazine…

Or watch this video of The Sloths performing at this year’s Ponderosa Stomp…

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