Backstage Confidential: Brent Amaker on naughty bits and prison performance

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Brent Amaker & The Rodeo: Year of the DragonBrent Amaker & The Rodeo: Year of the Dragon (Fin, 6/4/13)

“Death Is Always Near”

Brent Amaker & The Rodeo: “Death Is Always Near”

When you’re on the road as much as Brent Amaker, you’re bound to see some unusual things. And when your typical show includes burlesque dancers and “whiskey baptisms,” things can get downright weird. Here the country-western front-man shares a few stories about travelling with The Rodeo.

What’s your wildest and/or weirdest backstage/tour experience?

Most of our backstage tour stories involve some sort of unexpected disaster, like when we were playing the beer garden at Monsters of Rock in Europe. I had an urgent need to use the facilities and was completely unaware that the band had taken the stage. It’s not uncommon for them to start the show without me, because I normally make an entrance following some instrumental music.

But this time the guys were stuck playing two chords for 15 minutes while I took a load off. The band kept the music going while Ben Strehle (rhythm guitar) ran off stage to hunt me down. But before he could find me, I realized what I had done. I’m not sure the band has forgiven me for that one yet.

What’s the strangest or least conventional venue that you’ve played?

It’s hard to choose between this swanky hair salon we played in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and a maximum-security prison in Antwerp, Belgium. Both were very strange. But because I’ve been inside a hair salon before, this one’s gotta go to the prison. Following our set, the warden hosted dinner and inmates served us steak. Once our stomachs were full, we were given a private tour of the place.

The warden was very proud of his collection of vintage prison-movie posters (most of which were lesbian exploitation films). Who the hell puts prison-movie posters up in a maximum-security prison? And they were everywhere. The guards took our passports when we entered the prison gates; I was happy to get mine back and get the hell out of there.

How many naughty bits have you seen in your day?

I don’t keep count, but enough to know quality product when I see it. Less than John Stagliano, I suppose. More than Kermit the Frog.