WTF is ‘Hobocore’?

The Goddamn Gallows return to Dayton

By Gary Spencer

Photo: The Goddamn Gallows will perform Sept. 24 at Blind Bob’s; photo: Michael Sinapi

Bluegrass, folk, rockabilly and Americana music might seem like odd bedfellows for a band with a punk, metal and hardcore background. But this fusion of seemingly disparate styles has earned a band originally based out of Detroit known as The Goddamn Gallows a distinct reputation as a group with few quality contemporaries or rivals. The music often plays at a fast pace with a sneering punk rock attitude, but it almost always crops up with an instrument like a banjo, accordion or upright bass that throws usual musical expectations off pace, and has seen the band getting tagged with labels such as “Americana-Punk” or “Hobocore.” It seems The Goddamn Gallows would have it no other way. According to Gallows’ member TV’s Avery, it seemed that there was no other way the band’s sound could have been.

“We all liked different music and couldn’t compromise,” Avery says. “Our inspirations are varied, everything from Scandinavian black metal to East Coast hip-hop. We just interpret the melodies through our chosen medium, like Wu-Tang on the accordion.”

Indeed. A listen to any of their of their five studio albums reveals a guessing-game hodgepodge of melded musical styles described above, or old timey musical instruments in the mix of what otherwise might be seen as a straight forward punk song. But this unique sound of theirs wasn’t something that was meticulously planned or conceived. In fact, The Goddamn Gallows’ sound has been the product of both evolution and chance.

The band left Detroit in the early 2000s and did whatever it took to survive while honing their musical craft, including living in abandoned buildings and storage units. The band self-released its first album in 2004 entitled Life of Sin, which showcases the Gallows at their core sound—twangy, punk-influenced rockabilly that they later dubbed “Gutterbilly,” an apt description of both the band’s musical style and lifestyle as well. With the release of their next album in 2007, the band decided to load up a van that they used to both tour and live out of, playing roughly 300 shows a year at any city or venue that would have them. All the while, they were building up a reputation for their dirty, no-f-cks-given, everything-and-the-kitchen-sink sound as the band began picking up new musicians along the way, adding some unusual instrumentation and musical influence that made The Goddamn Gallows begin to really stand out among their peers.

These days the band’s lineup consists of Avery (accordion, washboard, drums), Joe Perreze (banjo, vocals), Mikey Classic (guitar, vocals), Fishgutzzz (upright bass, vocals) and Baby Genius (drums). Sight unseen, one’s mind might boggle at how all those seemingly opposing instruments sync up song for song, but listening to tunes such as “Y’all Motherfuckers Need Jesus” or “Pass the Bottle,” it all goes together like peanut butter and jelly. Last year saw the release of The Goddamn Gallows’ newest opus of depravity entitled The Maker. This newest album has put a slightly more obvious emphasis on their guitar-based roots, yet still remains true to their one of a kind vision that sounds like a drunken, evil, gutter punk version of Emmet Otter’s Jugband but with loud guitars—a sound that seems to have more and more bands jumping on the bandwagon.

“It’s a little bit harder than its predecessor Seven Devils,” Avery explains. “I guess we were missing our punk and metal roots in a scene that is now inundated with banjos, mandolins, doghouse basses and the most heinous washboard.”

On a similar note, Avery explains the band’s fierce, DIY punk rock aesthetic that has been in place ever since the band self-released their first disc over a decade ago on their imprint Farmageddon Records, when the style of music that The Goddamn Gallows have pioneered over the years was far from en vogue.

“When we started this, there was no market for it,” Avery says.  “We were too punk to be bluegrass, too fast to be rockabilly, too ugly to be popular. Farmageddon Records was the vanguard to build and cultivate this scene. Believe me, we’ve been trying to sell out for years.”

The band’s relentless touring and rep for being a hellacious live act have apparently paid off. The Goddamn Gallows’ surging popularity in conjunction with album and ticket sales means the group no longer has to live in squats and has slimmed down their tour itinerary to only 250 shows a year, including a recent first tour of Europe that reportedly was a smash with audiences there.

“The crowds were spectacular and enthusiastic, with even a few sold out shows,” says Avery. “The welcome we received without having toured there before was very moving.”

As for the band’s upcoming performance at Blind Bob’s in Dayton, Avery says attendees can expect what they bargained for—gnarly tunes to booze to, unpredictability and plenty of punk rock attitude.

“They can expect to have one of us spit directly in their mouth,” Avery jokes. “You can’t get that from a CD.”

The Goddamn Gallows will perform on Thursday, Sept. 24 at Blind Bob’s, 430 E. Fifth St. in downtown Dayton. Blacklist Royals and The Devil’s Cut are also on the bill. Tickets are $8 in advance. Doors for this 21 and over show open at 9 p.m. For more information please visit the

Reach DCP freelance writer Gary Spencer at

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Gary Spencer is a graduate of Miami University and works in the performing arts, and believes that music is the best. Contact him at

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