There are a lot of musical cliques in the world- groups of people so infatuated with a particular band that they subconsciously create their own underground culture of like-minded people rooted in the same desires, rituals, and habits. Juggalos and Dead Heads are top-of-mind examples, but the concept applies to any band with extreme fans such UV Hippo’s caped crowd of crazies and Cosby Sweater’s sweater-wearing supporters. These people never miss their favorite bands’ shows and, even if they go alone, their band-family is always there waiting for them. Becoming part of a musical clique is never intentional or deliberate; it happens naturally over time and is fueled by love for, and dedication to, the band.
The Cross Canadian Ragweed Clique
From 2006 to 2009 I was a part of the Cross Canadian Ragweed underground music clique. The alternative southern rock outfit seemed an unlikely opener for the George Thorogood concert where I first heard them play, but all it took was one hour to realize just how rock-n-roll they were. Cross Canadian’s songs covered everything from jealous hearts to addictive habits to lovers in love and they did it with high energy and passion. Front man Cody Canada was particularly magnetizing with his modern outlaw, grimey image that paired a sexy southern drawl with dirty shoulder-length hair, lots of tattoos, and chunky silver rings and earrings.
As I began to follow Cross Canadian Ragweed, I found myself surrounded by the same group of people at every show I attended. There was a group of die-hard fans from Cincinnati who always arrived early enough to hold the coveted front-row-center position, as well as the older couple who had been committed for so long that the band knew them by name, gave them shout-outs during the concert, and often invited them on the tour bus at the end of the night. This was the Cross Canadian Ragweed clique and it felt like family in the audience, even if we were all basically strangers.
All Good Things Must Come To An End
I abruptly left the clique in 2009 when Cross Canadian Ragweed released what would eventually become their final album, Happiness and All the Other Things. A total disappointment to any trained ear, the record felt like it was methodically manufactured from a formula, rather than crafted from experience, proficiency, and passion. It lacked the distinct country-tinged rock-n-roll vibe that previous works embodied and signaled rocky waters ahead for the band.When Cross Canadian Ragweed inevitably split in 2010, official press release statements cited drummer Randy Ragsdale’s need to be at home with his family as the group’s reason for calling it quits, but later interviews implied Ragsdale’s tension with guitarist Grady Cross also played a part. Canada and bassist Jeremy Plato promptly started a new band with guitarist/vocalist Seth James, keyboard player Steve Littleton, and Drummer Dave Bowen (Chris Doege would eventually replace Bowen on drums); they called themselves Cody Canada & The Departed. After releasing a tribute to Canada’s “Red Dirt” musical heritage in Oklahoma called This is Indian Land, the band truncated their name to be known simply as The Departed. Last November they released their first original album, Adventūs.
The Departed will headline The Vogue on Thursday night and the dormant Cross Canadian Ragweed fan inside of me is bubbling over with questions. Will Canada still be the charismatic front man and practiced guitarist he’s always been? Will he still be as easy on the eyes as he always was? In what ways will The Departed be reminiscent of Cross Canadian? How will the music be different from what Cross Canadian fans long-time fans are used to hearing? Will I see my old CCR clique?
Whether you were previously a part of the Cross Canadian Ragweed clique or not, come to The Vogue on Thursday for a boot-scootin’ good time. The Departed is a safe bet for anyone into southern rock, alternative country, and a dead-sexy front man.
Check out the video below for “Worth The Fight” that follows The Departed around Austin during SXSW earlier this year and RSVP to the official event page for their stop at The Vogue this Thursday.