Tattoo artist Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins was a poet, a prankster, and an innovator, who picked up the art form while hopping freight trains across the US. He became a legend for his dedication and creativity — traits mirrored by the musical acts featured today by Sailor Jerry Presents. Scott Biram, who performed in the series on November 8 in Aspen, Colorado, plays guitar and harmonica, sings, yodels, and, in the blues tradition, stomps his foot. Using a stompboard, he sends that sound through two giant 18-inch subwoofers. Biram is part of a tradition of musicians who, with their innovation and freakish talent for performing on multiple instruments (often simultaneously), carry forth the spirit of the one-man band in new ways. We got together with him to compile this list of our favorite “one-man” acts.
“I kinda evolved into the one-man band thing,” says Scott Biram, aka the Dirty Old One Man Band, who began his career playing in punk and rock bands before developing a side solo career. “I started out just stomping my foot on the stage, then I started stomping on my mic stand. I just kept adding speakers, and experimenting with different stomp-board setups. I’ve gone through about five different designs over the years.” But even for a seasoned one-man band, Biram noted the challenges of going it alone. “After my other bands broke up, my solo stuff started to need more bang. I wanted to keep touring. I wanted to play in rock clubs still, but as a solo performer it was hard to get any gigs like that… I needed to build more of a presence.” Despite the challenges he’s faced, Biram has got it down. “Nowadays, if a four piece opens for me, there’s a good chance I’m just as loud as them, if not louder.” For the Sailor Jerry Presents show, Biram performs with Molly Gene: One Whoaman Band.
Click through below to check out all of our one-man band picks.