Educated, celebrated, high-voltage rock primitivists, Jucifer started out as a low-budget garage band in a sleepy college town. Drummer Ed Livengood and guitarist Amber Valentine first performed as a duo in 1995 at an outside keg party in their hometown of Athens, Ga. After a few tries with full bands, the two solidified simply as a duo. They used the name “Satan’s Cheerleaders” for a while, but changed it to “Jucifer” (a play on O.J. Simpson’s and the evil one’s nicknames).
Livengood had a sloppy red-sparkle drum kit with two cracked cymbals. Valentine had one old guitar amp and one very beat-up bass amp linked together. They knew about eight or nine songs — including a Go-Go’s cover — and they played the set three times in a row (until Livengood fell over, drunk and exhausted).
Twelve years later, they’re signed to major metal label Relapse, touring the country in their own huge RV, performing in cool clubs and big music halls with an oversized, custom-made blue acrylic drum kit and a frightening array of amps — literally a “wall of sound” — comprised of seven or eight Ampeg SVT cabinets and about 25 large-size guitar amps of various makes.
Jucifer released a debut titled Calling All Cars on the Vegas Strip, on their own imprint, Crack Rock. It was remastered and released in late 1999 on Capricorn to much acclaim.
After the success of Calling All Cars, Capricorn started to wobble and all plans went on hold. By mid-2000, the band had a new album’s worth of material ready to mix and release, but the situation at the label became even more grim, so the band waited. Under a special arrangement, Jucifer eventually left what remained of Capricorn for the newly established Velocette label.
“The shit hit the fan and we were stuck,” remembers Valentine. “Although we were anxious about it, we wanted to wait to release the second LP until things looked alright. In the meantime, we decided to make an EP.”
In 2001, Jucifer went on to record seven tracks for what would become The Lambs EP. The full-length I Name You Destroyer followed in 2003.
The last five years have been a non-stop world tour for the two — during which they developed and refined their unique techniques and on-stage deliveries.
Livengood manhandled his battered gear like an angry, inebriated John Bonham. Playing through an arsenal of distortion effects and amplifiers, Valentine cranked out a frightening range of frequencies and noises, providing a wash of “bass” and “guitar” sounds. The riffage was tremendous.
In 2006, they inked a deal with Relapse Records and released a new studio album titled If Thine Enemy Hunger. It features some of their strongest, most methodical recorded work to date.
“The subject matter that we’re dealing with has a lot to do with stuff that’s from a long time ago,” says Valentine. “We wanted to use traditional recording techniques in a nontraditional way to get a more massive sound with less actual tracking. It’s all really stemming from the voice and the guitar and feedback and little things like that.”
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