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Bottle Rockets 

Saturday, Aug. 5; Blueberry Hill/Duck Room

It's been a slow summer for Bottle Rockets watchers. The boys from Festus have basically been taking the warmer months off, and frontman Brian Henneman has seized the opportunity to write some new songs -- which, of course, means that the group plans to record them at some point in the future.

"Well, that's the idea. I don't know if anybody else in the record industry thinks that's a good idea," Henneman says with a hearty laugh. "That shit changes from day to day."

Henneman has a right to be a wise guy with regard to the record industry, having sat through the demise of a few label deals before finally winding up on the Universal-affiliated Doolittle label.

"We got some good new tunes," Henneman says of his recent work. "At least, I'm happy with the few I've come up with so far. I don't know if it's a totally new direction, but let's put it this way: It ain't the rock-album stuff (as was the case on 1999's Brand New Year). It ain't even necessarily country, either. I've been heavily into the Lovin' Spoonful lately, so maybe we're turning in that direction."

Unfortunately, it's unlikely that many of the new songs will make their debut at the Duck Room show, only one of three (the others are in Columbia, Mo., and Chicago) that the band has scheduled right now. Bassist Robert Kearns will be detained in North Carolina until the day before the gig, so they only have time for minimal preparations before playing -- which, in the Bottle Rockets' case, is hardly a problem. Look for the shows to be loose and spontaneous and to feature what Henneman sardonically calls "the greatest hits."

"Being an acoustic show, anything goes -- it's a free-for-all," he says. "We've been known to do crazy, ridiculous things at those. I'm really happy with our acoustic shit, though. We've done it in most of our biggest cities, except St. Louis, so that's why we're doing it here. The Columbia and Chicago shows are going to be electric. Actually, it would be just as easy for us to do it electric here, too -- we'll have all the shit in the van anyway. But it's like, this will be fun; it will be cool."

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