“Clubfoot” from recent live demos
“We’re kind of like the Mt. Pleasant Spinal Tap,” laughs Stuart “Allnight” Johnson, veteran Charleston-based guitarist and songwriter, currently of psyche-rock band Allnightkungfu. “When things start sounding great, other things go wrong. We used to get embarrassed and frustrated, but really, we’re just enjoying playing and writing music more than ever now.”
Allnightkungfu have been jamming with various lineups around town for years — led by Johnson and longtime colleague/bassist “Kung Fu” Jerry Beale (also of Dewey Muggles). Their rough-edged, blues-powered blend of riffs and melodies resembles some of the heavier acid-rock of the late ’60s and early ’70s (think Floyd, Sabbath, Zep, Hawkwind, Deep Purple) with a hint of garage-born grunge.
“Jerry and I are like a unit,” says Johnson. “We’ve been playing together for a long time. We like to call what we’re doing now ‘Southern stoner-rock’ with a hint of grunge. Some of it might have a lot of Neil Young and Crazy Horse, some of it has a lot of metal and punk. It’s all over the place… with more solos than most local bands!”
Johnson and Beale recently kicked off a weekly Thursday night series of blues-rock nights at the Fiddler’s Green pub in Mt. Pleasant. This Wednesday’s full-band lineup at Cumberland’s includes lefty drummer Marc “Killer” Keller and guitarist Harry J. Morse.
“Man, Marc is a maniac drummer,” boasts Johnson. “And Harry is a terrific lead guitarist. My own songs tend to be pretty straight-ahead … and sometimes kind of cliché. He adds really cool ideas and guitar work and helps guide them to something different. The whole thing works out pretty well.” —T. Ballard Lesemann