Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, Reverend Horton Heat visit McGuffy’s

By Matt Clevenger

Reverend Peyton, Breezy Peyton and Aaron "Cuz" Persinger of Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band.

Straight from the back roads of Brown County, Ind., the Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band will roll into McGuffy’s House of Rock this Tuesday, April 26 for a once-in-a-lifetime show with rockabilly legends the Reverend Horton Heat.
Featuring the Reverend Peyton (a fully-commissioned Kentucky Colonel) on resonator guitar and vocals, his wife Breezy Peyton on washboard and vocals, and distant cousin Aaron “Cuz” Persinger on drums and buckets, the Big Damn Band are well-known for their intense live shows and their upbeat, yet soulful country blues sound. Veterans of the 2009 and 2010 Vans Warped Tours, the genre-defying band has released five critically acclaimed full-length albums and shares a record label with Clutch and Flogging Molly.
On tour with the Reverend Horton Heat, the Big Damn Band is now busy working on a new album and planning a summer full of shows including appearances at the Bonnaroo Music Festival and the world-famous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Nevertheless, the Reverend Peyton himself found some time between gigs last week and sat down for a brief interview discussing the Big Damn Band, their fiery onstage antics and their upcoming show at McGuffy’s.
How do you describe the Big Damn Band’s sound, for those who haven’t heard your music?
High energy, from the heart, country blues. [Reverend Peyton]
What is it that draws you to traditional instruments like washboards and resonator guitars?
They sound awesome, first and foremost. Resonator guitars are beautiful. The tone was an accident too – they were just trying to make something loud when they invented them. Homemade instruments are rooted in a tradition where people couldn’t afford or couldn’t get items made as “instruments,” so they made their own. It is a tradition we take very seriously and want to honor.  [R.P.]

What are your favorite guitars to play and record with?
My favorite guitar is my 1934 National Trojan. [R.P.]

Have you ever had any formal musical training?
I am front porch trained.  [R.P.]

Who are your musical influences?
I fell in love with the greats of fingerstyle country blues at an early age – Charley Patton, Furry Lewis, John Hurt, Bukka White, etc. But I love great songwriters of any genre.  The hardest thing to do is write a great song. I grew up in bluegrass country, and my granddad on my mom’s side exposed us to tons of bluegrass and hillbilly music as we would ride around. My dad really got me started playing though. He was into old rock and blues; Johnny Winter and the Stones, stuff like that.
Breezy and I listened to a lot of the same stuff. Her album collection would lean a little to the jug band end of things. Cuz grew up playing all kinds of stuff, but honky tonk country was probably the main stuff he grew up on.  [R.P.]

Do band members still live in Brown County?

We could live anywhere and do what we do, but the rural hills of Southern Indiana are where I belong.  [R.P.]

How much of your time is spent on the road?
We do 250 shows a year, between fests, club/venue tours, in-stores, radio performances, etc. A lot of time is on the road.  [R.P.]

What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
Fishing, being in the outdoors, camping, mushroom hunting, spending time with family and friends. [R.P.]

Your wife Breezy has been known to use flaming washboards onstage. Is that the craziest thing the band has ever done during a performance?
Oh man … I’m not sure how to judge the craziest thing. You’d have to ask fans about that, but I bet Breezy did it, whatever it was. [R.P.]

What’s it like touring with the Reverend Horton Heat?
We did a show with them a few years ago, and it was awesome. We knew this tour would be great.  [R.P.]

What else do you have planned for the year? Will you be doing the Warped Tour again?
Not this year, but hopefully we’ll be back on a future Warped Tour. It was such a great experience.  We made so many friends.  [R.P.]

Are you working on any albums or other new projects?
Always! We have something that will come out in the summer. [R.P.]

The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band will appear with the Reverend Horton Heat at McGuffy’s House of Rock on Tuesday, April 26. Doors open at 7 p.m., show starts at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance or $18 at the door. More information can be found online at www.bigdamnband.com or www.mcguffys.net.

Reach DCP freelance writer Matt Clevenger at mattclevenger@daytoncitypaper.com.

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