RIP Chris Porter and Mitchell Vandenburg

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We are very sad to share that Chris Porter and Mitchell Vandenburg of Porter and the Bluebonnet Rattlesnakes have passed away following an auto collision. Drummer Adam Nurre was injured in the accident and is currently hospitalized.

The following statement was released by This Is American Music:

“We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn this morning of the passing of Chris Porter. We don’t know many details yet, only that he and his band were in an accident in North Carolina last night. We’ve known Chris for a bit, going back to his band The Back Row Baptists and the lovely Some Dark Holler, who we were privileged to work with, up to his current project with Porter and the Bluebonnet Rattlesnakes. But our bond with Chris went well beyond music – he was a dear friend and member of our family, quick with a smile and a quip and never disheartened by the struggles of trying to make a go in this crazy world… and Chris always helped make it a little crazier, weirder and more cosmic. Our thoughts are with Chris’ family and friends and the people who are close to the other band members who were lost and injured. We hope everyone will hug each other a little tighter today, and hold on a bit closer to those who mean something in your lives. As we make these trips around the sun, it is easy for distance to find its way into those bonds, and as Chris’ friend Will Johnson has so poignantly said, “Connect when the feeling strikes. Work on loving. Work to avoid regret. Because a lot of the time it’s hard to tell what the last time looks like.” We love you Porter, and we miss you already.”

This article is from the Austin Chronicle:

 

An auto accident claimed the lives of Austin musicians Chris Porter and Mitchell Vandenburg yesterday in North Carolina. Bandmate Adam Nurre remains hospitalized.

The touring trio, Porter and the Bluebonnet Rattlesnakes, was on the way to a gig in Baltimore after playing in Charleston, S.C., the night before.

The wreck occurred in North Carolina on I-95 near Smithfield midday on Wednesday. According to local reports, traffic on I-95 had been stop-and-go due to multiple accidents that had occurred on that stretch of highway. The RV – a converted Ford shuttle-bus – containing the Austin musicians was stopped in traffic when a semi-truck rear-ended it, killing Porter and Vandenburg. Nurre was rushed to a hospital in Raleigh for non-life-threatening injuries and, according to friends, is conscious.

News of Porter and Vandenburg’s tragic and too-soon passing rocked Austin’s music community on Wednesday night – the widespread impact evidencing just how many people their music and friendship had touched.

Chris Porter, 36, was an Alabama native who fronted the Bama bands the Back Row Baptists and Some Dark Holler, then transplanted in Austin where he maintained his solo career as a deep Americana songwriter. His 2015 LP, This Red Mountain – produced by Centro-matic frontman Will Johnson – showed off his emotionally real-and-raw songcraft. At the time of that records release, Porter told the Chronicle that his primary songwriting influence was “humans.”

“There’s a ton of them just running around loving stuff, hating stuff,” Porter said. “I gravitate to darker themes in my material, but inspiration comes from a lot of directions. Humanity gets my motor running.”

Mitchell Vandenburg (left) with Starlings, TN (Photo by John Anderson)

 

Bassist/songwriter Mitchell Vandenburg was omnipresent and unmistakable force on Austin’s stages – serving as the energetic spark plug for every band he played in. Vandenburg played upright in psychedelic string band Starlings, TN and electric with burgeoning country songstress Carson McHone. The 30-year-old Colorado native, also played with Jackie Meyers, Horti – from the Whiskey Shivers, and Matt Coughlin & the Growlers. Vandenburg, who once served in overseas in the U.S. military (playing in the band, not on the battlefield) was also a gripping songwriter who sang and played acoustic guitar.

Adam Nurre is a classically trained percussionist from Ohio who also spent time playing in McHone’s band and plays with Garner Sloan – which featured Vandenburg on bass.

Porter, Vandenburg, and Nurre all lived together in Austin.

 

I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House – PISS – (2015 EP)

PISS

While I always love getting new music from ICLASOB the reason for this album couldn’t be more tragic. Last week the world lost Piss Pissedoffherson (aka Mark Allen Rodgers), the driving force behind The Devil’s Own, and close friends with everyone in ICLASOB. While I’ve written about The Devil’s Own I wasn’t close with Piss or any of the other members so when the news dropped on social media I didn’t know what to say about it and instead of saying something trite I didn’t post about it. Beyond it being a tragedy I’m still not quite sure what I could add to what’s been said so I’ll simply let those who knew him speak:

Hey all,

Yesterday we learned that a very good friend of the band, the great Mark Allen Rodgers, aka Piss Pissedoffherson, had passed away. Mark was right alongside SOB from nearly the very beginning, with him and his band The Devil’s Own playing with us and helping us with some of our earliest shows outside of Portland. We really owe him a lot. He was a great songwriter, a genuine wildman, and he was a huge supporter of Mike’s songwriting and what we were doing as a band in those early days.

He let us crash in his crowded San Fran apartment when we were poor as could be, and it was there we met his roommate (along with a number of colorful characters) who would go on to design the cover for our Menace album. When we first started playing Vegas, he pumped us up to his brother there, who along with his friends helped ensure we had good crowds from the get go. Through him we met Red Cloud, which started an amazing relationship with those guys and started our love affair with Denver. He was the kind of guy who while on tour with us, broken down on the side of the road with a dead alternator, was content to throw rocks across a ravine with Jon for a couple of hours just to pass the time. He drug his band up to Portland in a barely running Winnebago to record an EP in Flap’s dank and dingy basement; the same place we recorded Put Here to Bleed and Menace. He once drunkenly told the Drive-By Truckers that we’d wipe the floor with them when we played together at an upcoming show, which was horseshit but still awesome and hilarious, and really we were secretly kind of honored that he would do that. When we came back from our 4 year hiatus, some of our first shows back were with Mark, which just felt right.

Some of the best shows we ever played were with Mark and his band, and while his band members sometimes changed, Mark was always there pushing it forward, singing about something sad and dark but with that wry smile that made you think he was secretly stoked about it because it made for a great song.

Like many great songwriters, he never got the recognition he deserved. It’s hard to say where we’d have been as a band, and as people, without him there in the early days and beyond. But those who knew him will never forget him. We sure won’t.

Roll on brother, and rest in peace.

I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House

That is the liner notes from PISS, an EP released by ICLASOB in honor of Mark Rodgers. The three track EP is two covers and one original:

The first song, “Piss” is a new one Mike D wrote for Mark after hearing of his passing; “Playing Dumb” is a favorite of ours that Mark wrote and recorded with his band The Devil’s Own; and finally, “The Ballad of Mark Allen Rodgers” is a song inspired by Mark, written by our good friends Red Cloud West.

PISS can be streamed below and purchased for on ICLASOB’s Bandcamp

Be sure to take the time to check out Mark’s bands as well: The Devil’s Own, Ha! The Disco Ah!, Ribbon Fix and more, some of which I wasn’t familiar with until I read the announcement for this album, which I will be remedying as much as I can over the next few days.

This where the ICLASOB crew thinks you ought to start getting familiar with Mark’s music:

Godspeed Piss, it’s obvious you were loved and your talents will be sorely missed!