For those of you who are familiar with the dirt-ridden underbelly of American rock and roll, you will no doubt have flirted with the music of raucous soul-screamer Barrence Whitfield, and his very ‘savage’ league of merry men.
Barrence Whitfield & The Savages rose from seemingly nowhere in 1984 with their self-titled debut LP. These rockers were not amateurs, however. Barrence had been playing for years in local rock and roll bands, only to be discovered by none other than Peter Greensberg who at the time was playing for The Lyres. These two powerhouse performers, along with other previous members of The Lyres, joined forces and enjoyed years of making music—all the while achieving masses of critical acclaim for their wild stage shows—before going their separate ways but a few years after the release their debut record.
After a long and lonely twenty or so years, Barrence Whitfield and The Savages have finally had a long-awaited reunion, and will be hitting Australian shores for Bluesfest and Cherry Rock, as well as playing a slew of shows around the local club scene. Ella Jackson caught up with Barrence after he landed in Melbourne to talk music, his band’s reunion, Ding Dong Lounge and Cherry Rock011.
On the reunion, Barrence explains that the idea came about when Ace Records in the UK reissued their debut LP Barrence Whitfield & The Savages. Guitarist Peter Greenberg remastered the record, and when he and Barrence got together to do this, the nostalgia got to them in full force, making a reunion seem inevitable.
“Something just struck both of us at the same time, like, we should do this again … we need to reintroduce rock and roll to the people who have the headsets on their iPhones in and aren’t doing anything … it’s time for them to take [their headsets] out and get back into rock and roll.”
The new album that he and The Savages are working on is due out next month. As Barrence prattles on about the new record, it’s obvious that he is extremely proud of it. Fittingly titled Savage Kings, it was recorded in Cincinnati, Ohio. “Home of the great King Records,” Barrence adds, with a more than a glimmer of excitement in his voice.