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Lucero Co-Founder Brian Venable Likes Barbecue on First Dates

"'Lucero got their name from a Spanish-English dictionary. They're sort of like The Replacements, and they've been on the road forever.' I think that stuff is mandatory. You know, you try to be a little informative, maybe get in one funny part or tagline or whatever, and then put where we're playing."

Awesome! Thanks, Lucero co-founder Brian Venable, you've just helped me write my article! Over the phone from Indianapolis, the affable 37-year-old guitarist punctuates his Southern drawl with a dry chuckle. His band has played well over 1,000 shows, maybe even 2,000, in its decade-plus existence, and Venable has done about as many interviews, it seems. Sometimes he lies, he says. Sometimes he tells the truth. Sometimes he spouts gibberish.

"I did an interview for the Houston something-or-other, they were like, 'Are you scared of clowns or do you like clowns?' I was like, 'Mmmm . . . depends on if they're armed or not.' I don't fuckin' know. 'Who's your favorite superhero?' 'My cell phone.' I coulda just said 'Batman,' but sometimes when you say 'cell phone' it's more memorable."

So why do interviews? "You want your name out there. Like the White Stripes — a lot of people were like, 'I've read about them a whole lot but I haven't seen 'em.' You wanna be known, I guess. That's what helps sell records and puts people in the seats. A good interview might hopefully get like five or 10 people to come to a show."

All right, then, so here's the informative part: Lucero's from Memphis. They're twangy and rootsy enough to be an alt-country band, but the raspy vocals, 'tude, and dark sentiments are pretty punk rock. They sing about chicks and booze, mostly. Not necessarily in that order. I don't think they sound like The Replacements hardly at all. Maybe Ryan Adams a little bit, when he was all kinds of fucked up. Or Wilco when they rock out. I can see them on a twin bill with Dead Confederate, maybe. Lucero hasn't released an album since 2006's Rebels, Rogues & Sworn Brothers, but that's about to change. They're finishing up a new one, which should be out this summer sometime. It'll be their first for a major label — Universal. It's got lots of horns on it. Venable thinks some fans will hate it, but the band thinks it's "so fucking cool" (the songs, not that some of their fans will hate it). Actually, no — Venable doesn't care if some of their fans hate it, because if they do, they should "go start a band that sounds like our last record." They'll be playing a lot of new songs live, so you'll be able to decide for yourself if you hate them or not.

Okay, here's a funny part: "We just did some kind of TV show in Austin for South by Southwest, and this lady, she was talking about how her dad pulled a lot of trim in the '70s. And then we were talking about barbecue for first dates and she was like, 'Aww, it's too messy,' and I was like, 'Yeah, you don't wanna get any barbecue in your trim,' and I expected laughter and everybody's just looking at me. I'm like, 'She said trim first. She started it!' They were all like, 'I cannot believe you just said that.' 'Why, she said it?!'"