Watch the Band of Heathens Cover Chuck Berry at SXSW 2017
On Friday night (March 17), during their set at SXSW 2017, the Band of Heathens covered Chuck Berry's song "You Never Can Tell" -- an ironic choice considering that Berry died on Saturday afternoon (March 18).
Readers can press play on the video above to watch the Band of Heathens, joined by folk-country singer-songwriter Zach Schmidt, play "You Never Can Tell" at Hotel Van Zandt in Austin, Texas. BoH keyboardist Trevor Nealon opened the group's rendition of "You Never Can Tell" with a killer riff, while Schmidt tackled lead vocals as the rest of the Heathens jammed along.
Sometimes known as "C'est La Vie" or "Teenage Wedding," Berry's "You Never Can Tell" was first released on the musical icon's 1964 album St. Louis to Liverpool, though it was written while Berry was imprisoned in the early '60s for violating the Mann Act. Released as a single, "You Never Can Tell" earned a spot in the Top 20 (No. 14); it's been covered by Emmylou Harris (she earned a Top 10 hit with it in the late '70s), John Prine, Chely Wright, Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter and many more.
Berry, born on Oct. 18, 1926, in St. Louis, Mo., died on Saturday of natural causes. Ultimate Classic Rock reports that St. Charles (Mo.) County police responded to a medical emergency around 12:40PM on Saturday, where they found Berry unresponsive. Although they “immediately administered lifesaving techniques,” they could not revive the 90-year-old Berry; he was pronounced dead at 1:26PM.
Berry was a Grammy Awards Lifetime Achievement Award winner, a member of the Blues Hall of Fame and one of the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His influence on rock music — and, really, music in general — can be summed up by a quip from the late John Lennon: “If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry.’”
The Band of Heathens released their newest album, Duende, in January. For the record, the group brought roughly 40 songs to the table; they recorded about 20 of them, mixed about 15 of them and selected 10 to fill the project’s track list. As fans listen, the band's Ed Jurdi tells The Boot, “you’ll hear that this is a band; this is a very collaborative effort.”
“Part of what I think makes the band great is, if someone has a really good idea, and it’s solid, and someone else challenges it and they make a valid point, it’s sort of like, ‘Okay, well, you know, how are we going to get to where we need to get to with this?'” he explains of the Heathens’ process in the studio. As long as a band member can defend their theory, and it seems sound, “there’s a lot of trust in terms of letting people follow their ideas.”
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