Press for Put Here To Bleed:


Steve Stav at Ink 19 interviews Mike D - Sept 2003

Ink 19 Review: 10-03-2003

   Mike D.'s I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House may have the best band name in modern rock, but that wouldn't mean much if they didn't have the music to back it up. But they do. This is ferocious alt-blues standing proud and tall, coming across like a more elaborate, less hipster-oriented White Stripes playing AC/DC songs. I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House serve their hard rocking cowpunk with passion and wits, all the while fiercely avoiding stupid masculine posturing.

   The fact that celeb gunslinger Charlton Heston is referred to as a ''cold-blooded, old-blooded, sick ass man" and a "rifle totin' whore" is more than enough to endear the band to me. But more important is the music. "Twerp" offers some of the best cowpunk this side of the Hangmen (whose long overdue sophomore studio album is due early next year), "Hayward, CA '76" ends with a shimmering, aggressively sludgy jam and "American Fuck Machine" totes some amazing hard rock riffage.

   Both snob-hipster rockers and trailer park misogynists are given one solid middle finger by a band delightfully avoiding musical and ethical compromise. Put Here To Bleed could prove to be one of this year's finest albums, and I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House to be one of the most self-respecting, entertaining and smartest bands out there today, seemingly unable to do anything wrong.
--Stein Haukland

POP MATTERS, 9-04-03

   Nashville schtickmeister Toby Keith might sing about the Angry American, but he's got nothing on Portland, Oregon's Mike D. As the singer/chief songwriter/visionary for the band I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House (what a name for a band), he's not afraid of hiding his rage, and he doesn't let up for a second. He hates rock stars, the National Rifle Association, and most of all, he despises President George W. Bush and his cadre of cronies. A former member of the US Army's 101st Airborne Air Assault division, Mike D. says, "I would gladly give my life for a righteous cause. However, making Dick Cheney and Halliburton richer doesn't make me feel any freer or safer . . . It's time to be heroes and not fucking bullies." His band's music channels that rage into some absolutely ferocious, country-fried Southern rock, and their latest album, Put Here to Bleed is one of the angriest albums we've ever come across in the past couple of years.

   Sounding like the Drive-By Truckers' Patterson Hood with a really bad throat infection, and coming across as stubbornly liberal as Steve Earle, Mike D. rasps his way through eleven songs, ably supported by his ace four-piece band, who deliver a pummeling blend of country, hard rock, and barroom blues. And man, is this dude pissed. When a guy writes a song entitled "American Fuck Machine", you know you're in for an interesting ride. On that track, with its '70s hard rock riffs and swampy harp playing by David Lipkind, Mike D. tears at the United States government, snarling, "Lies are getting told over and over again / I'll just pray to the white god on my TV / And I won't say a word or think for myself / Hell gets rationed out to unclean things like me". "Twerp" is aimed solely at Bush and what his arch-conservatism is doing to the world, as Mike D. snidely says, "I plan to spend the apocalypse drunk and passed out on the floor". On the vicious "Things That Fail", he takes aim at "Old bastards with a pro-war attitude and them same old bastards on Viagra", while the anti-war ballad "La" takes on more of a rough-edged, hymnal tone, while still choosing not to mince words one bit.

   The real keeper is the tune "Dear Mr. Heston", a scathing attack on the NRA. You'd think it's just another left-wing anti-gun rant, but as it happens, Mike D.'s younger brother was killed by another brother who was playing around with a parent's gun at home, and when you listen to the song, it becomes a powerful indictment of American gun culture, easily one of the most emotionally charged songs of the year: "Josh said I know where mama keeps the gun / She won't even know that it's gone / I took a class and I got my license / Now my little brother will never know the love of a girl / And he'll never drink a cold one / And he'll never see another sunrise / And he'll never damn sure damn sure fire that gun / Dear Mr. Heston / If you ever saw a 12-year-old boy's brains splattered on a kitchen wall / Well you'd hang your head in shame / You rifle totin' whore / Cold blooded old blooded sick ass man".

   Some comic relief comes in the form of "The Ballad of Courtney Taylor", a very funny attack on Mr. Dandy Warhol himself, as Mike D. not only lays into his fellow Portlander, but also all shallow rock stars everywhere, as he growls sarcastically, "What's that shit some salami on my deli tray? / I'm gonna leak it to the Willamette Week that I'm bisexual or gay / Cause I'm a rockstar". Drawing on his experience behind the scenes in the business, his lyrics are razor-sharp; as he admits in the band's press release, "You can really see into someone's soul by what's on his/her rider".

   If the music on Put Here to Bleed has a fault, it's that Mike D.'s voice lacks any discernable range whatsoever, and the fact that his ragged voice can barely carry a melody makes the album wear thin the further it goes on, but thanks to his excellent lyrics and his band's superb performance, this is still an album that's definitely worth hearing. Listening to it, you're struck with the realization that I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House seem to love their country more than the people who govern it lead us all to believe. No matter how out of tune it might sound, Mike D.'s is a voice that you don't want to be silenced anytime soon.
-Adrien Begrand

SPLENDID, 7-22-03

   Put Here to Bleed is another back-to-basics rock album in a few-years-wide window of back-to-basics rock albums, but no one told I Can Lick Any Son of a Bitch in the House's lead tumbler Mike Damron that some basics are less fashionable than others. Of course, I can hear Damron's "think I give a fuck?"-style grunt right now. So there you have it.

   Basically, Damron likes Southern rock and political heat, even though he's more Neil Young-left than Lynyrd Skynrd-right; he likes bluegrass, mud, Johnny Cash, Social Distortion, buck-toothed guitar wails, blues and solid, warm production. He's assembled a top-notch band with Portland, Oregon regulars Flapjack TX on drums, Mole Harris on bass, "Handsome" Jon Burbank on guitar and, most notably, David Lipkind on harmonica -- not a skinny kid with a penchant for blowing, but a real master of the instrument whose powerful, almost abrasive style adds gasoline to the fire on tracks like "Twerp" and "American Fuck Machine".

  Damron's whiskey-and-smoke-fed voice consistently fits his mood -- backwards-looking, devastatingly cynical, but staunchly independent and alive and kicking at the same time -- and the music follows suit, always in step but never lacking variety. "American Fuck Machine" takes a vicious stab at plastic culture without sounding preachy, and the punk-blues riffing from Burbank, combined with sharp-as-tacks blowing from Lipkind, adds salt to its inflicted wound. In "In the Mud" and "Hayward, Ca '76", Damron gets relatively sentimental about times, fathers and grandfathers past; the first breaks out the fiddle and the banjo to celebrate the happy memories, and the second mourns their loss with a drunken blues stomp reminiscent of Jack White's early work. "Dear Mr. Heston" and "The Ballad of Courtney Taylor", besides naming names, work themselves into a steaming fury over issues other hip priests won't touch; the first romps along to a spitting NRA indictment while the second attacks celebrity cred in a letter addressed to the Dandy Warhols' Courtney Taylor. But maybe "Things That Fail" expresses Damron's worldview best: after a list of semi-spoken failing things and a hopeful conclusion that "love is the key", all set to distilled blues riffing and minimal drumming, Damron lets out in a blood-curdling wail -- "love it failed!"

   Maybe love failed, but at least rock music hasn't. By taking up an unhip cross (Led Zeppelin, Thin Lizzy, Social D., bluegrass), Mike Damron and I Can Lick Any Son of a Bitch in the House are reviving the spirit that has always been there, but has lately been ignored. The results are at once refreshing and classic.
-- Matt Pierce

IMPACT PRESS, Aug/Sept 2003

   From the get go this disc jams out. Heavy on that classic blues and rock sound with scruffy vocals and a harmonica addition that balances the rawness with ease. This album is fierce and crisp all the way through and is an excellent attempt at taking rock back to the forefront of popular music. Lyrics lean towards the tragic in "Dear Mr. Heston" about vocalist Mike D's brother shooting his other brother and then the government on "The Ballad Of Courtney Taylor" and "American Fuck Machine" which are about the corruption and inequality from those in power. The tight sound wound between these guys fit in with late night drinking bashes. "Gone As They Go," "Sixsixfive" and "La" all show off lyrical diversity and take certain risks not taken by many groups out there right now. (JC)

The Paper, 6-27-03

    Imagine the big guitar whoop-ass of Lynyrd Skynyrd or Thin Lizzy mixed with some of the most incendiary, anti-establishment lyrics since Phil Ochs, and you'll begin to get some idea of where I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House are coming from. This Portland band's sophomore effort, Put Here To Bleed, is an angry spit-in-the-face at hypocrisy and illegitimate power, and unlike a lot of what passes for "punk" these days, ICLASITH's blue-collar discontent is not made up. Their shit is for real! "Dear Mr. Heston," a harrowing tale by band leader Mike D of how one of his brothers shot the other, opens, "If you ever saw a 12-year-old boy's brains splattered on a kitchen wall, well, you'd hang your head in shame you rifle totin' whore, cold-blooded, old-blooded, sick-ass man." And when ICLASITH takes on the government, which they refer to as the "American Fuck Machine," stand back. "I love America," Mike D proudly states. "I was with the 101st Airborne/Air Assault. I would gladly give my life for a righteous cause. However, making Dick Cheney and Halliburton richer doesn't make me feel any freer or safer! We are the greatest nation on earth. This is what I tell the rednecks that tell me to 'love it or leave it.' It's time to be heroes and not fucking bullies. I hate fucking bullies." Wellsaid. Put Here To Bleed is, without a doubt, one of those records that has renewed my faith in rock.


8.2 out of 10.
    There are those who do (Jayhawks) and dirty blues (Bob Log III) better, but few can mix the two seamlessly with redneck, populist politics as well as Mike D., front man for Portland, Ore.’s I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In the House. The band’s second offering, Put Here to Bleed, crudely recorded on a home set-up, nevertheless yields a pristine-sounding mix, juxtaposed against muddy guitars, lunch-box aluminum harp and Joe Cocker-as-testosteroned-Dixie Chick-on-speed vocals. “I’m an American Fuck Machine,” Mike D. (no relation to the Beastie Boy of the same moniker) growls on the disc’s second track, a grungy shuffle that, unfortunately, segues into a poorly advised ballad full of sickeningly bovine la-la-las. Put Here’s dirty, low-down appeal grows like kudzu over the rest of the song cycle, mostly hitting (“Gone As They Go”) and sometimes missing (the aforementioned “La”). Hinterlands poetry not trying too hard “To Be Good” (a ballad highlight), and that’s as it should be. --Will K. Shilling

HIGH BIAS, 6-29-03

    Portland's roots rock thugs in I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House put one of last year's most unexpected pleasures out last year with the debut album Creepy Little Noises, and now they're back with Put Here to Bleed. Head SOB Mike D. (who did time with that notorious combo the 101st Airborne before his stint as a rock & roll miscreant) unleashes another strong set of songs from his working class psyche, full of spit and bile—indeed, he's even angrier than before. "Dear Mr. Heston" takes the NRA head to task with righteous fury ("If you ever saw a 12-year-old boy's brains splattered on a kitchen wall/Well you'd hang your head in shame") and little subtlety ("You rifle totin' whore"); other targets of his disgust include popular alternative rockers ("The Ballad of Courtney Taylor," a less-than-flattering look at the Dandy Warhols bandleader), blind patriotism ("American Fuck Machine"), an apparently personal vendetta ("Twerp") and, well, pretty much everything about the American system ("Things That Fail"). He also finds the wherewithal to roll his characters around in the mire of self-loathing in "Hayward, CA '76," "Sixsixfive" and "La," all of which are unnervingly affecting despite a complete lack of sentimentality. "Gone As They Go" and "To Be Good," while hardly uplifting, interject a surprising tenderness into the broiling anger, just enough the keep D. from seeming like a sourpuss. The band backs up his plainspoken treatises with tough, no-nonsense rock & roll that maximizes his rootsy melodies while slathering them with enough gravel to ruin an undercarriage. Speaking of gravel, D. seems to prefer it to mouthwash; his shredded throat gives each line an authenticity that prettier singers would kill for. This is one songwriter who sings what he means and means what he sings, and this is a band as long on honesty as it is on talent. Put Here to Bleed was put here to wail. -- Michael Toland


    Breaking open a fecal pinata stuffed with a multitude of odorous musical genres of today may unleash many styles that appeal to many people. But whatever the flavor, it's really only a different hue of the same shit. So much music today is contrived and thought up by vacuous A&R reps for the express purpose of dazzling the consumer with eye candy in order to shift units and swell balance sheets. The fatal flaw is always in the music itself, which becomes an afterthought that survives only in its current climate with no reverence for the music of the past and no room for expansion into the future. So what makes Put Here to Bleed refreshing is the grafting of rustic folk and blues flavors onto a core of punkish angst that manages to elude becoming mired in cliches.

    Leadoff track "Twerp" starts quietly, kicking into a raw blues romp with wailing harp, dominating drums and frontman Mike D's scratchy howling. "Dear Mr. Heston" is as angry as you might guess from the title, with a quick two-step beat and accusatory lyrics railing against gun nuts and, funny enough, reminds me of John Mellencamp. The flair for politically charged lyrical commentary is a thread that runs through Bleed, providing a lineage back to the likes of Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan. The abrasive "American Fuck Machine" revolves around a gutbucket roadhouse riff, staccato vocal breaks and machine-gun drumming to deliver its spite for the ideal Republican America, complete with perfect tits, religious predominance and blind patriotism. Scathingly character-assailing, though very simple, is "The Ballad of Courtney Taylor," which takes aim at the dramatic frontman for fellow Portland natives the Dandy Warhols.

    With Put Here to Bleed, I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House has honed a sound that contrasts with most everything out there. A heady mix of punk, blues, folk and sharp witticisms, the songs deliver a strong punch for a band on its way up.

--Aaron Archer


    Flying one of the best band names ever, I Can Lick Any SOB has established itself as not only one of the best live acts for your money, but also as the underdog in the Portland music scene.

    Fronted by Mike Damron, 'SOB plays growling alt-country rock and roll. Its dirty. Its lo-fi. And its ass kicking. The drums groove, the guitars rage and the harmonica (which normally I would veto) makes the song in many cases. Thank David Lipkind who throws down the harp with 'SOB and other Portland acts like Nann Alleman's Spigot.

    This is SOB's second album, and lyrically takes on many hot political topics. Dear Mr. Heston tackles gun control. The song's lyrics pack emotional punch along side the friskiness of the music. Hot stuff currently, especially with the attention Michael Moore's Bowling For Columbine documentary has been receiving. This song is the musical equivalent.

    The Ballad of Courtney Taylor is a low down gruff rocker which takes a shot or two at The Dandy Warhal's Courtney Taylor. Some much needed shots at that. The Worhals came up out of the local music scene and since signing to a major label, have been, well, rock stars. A great song for its trashy breaks. I can't imagine many women not shaking their asses to this.

    On Things That Fail, Mike D calls out a plentitude of things wrong in the US today. Despite pointing out the grievances, he ends with "Its all in the words we sing. Love is the key," That's a nice touch.

    I love the album cover art. It's a continuation of the art featured on the back of Creepy Little Noises, 'SOB's first release. This time the "boxer" is going to lick the grinning specter of death who is wielding stars and stripes boxing gloves. Punch em Rocky.

    Anyone unfamiliar with 'SOB, should pick up a copy of Here to Bleed to jam along side your Horton Heat and Hank Williams III. And make sure to play it loud. They didn't make this disc to fall asleep to. And anyone familiar with them should already own this disc.

    OK Ladies. Hit the showers.
--El Mako

WESTWORD.COM, 04-24-03

    Nineteenth-century colonialists spoke patronizingly of the Noble Savage. Today we have the Enlightened Redneck: Mike Damron, singer/ guitarist of the Oregon quintet I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House. Scrapping the sad-sack sensitivity of the Gram Parsons/Townes Van Zandt school of country-rock, Damron and his boys rip out a bluesier, ballsier brand of wistful jangle and rustic twang. But don't let the alt country tag send you packing: Put Here to Bleed leaks buckets of smarts, distortion and pure punk soul. In the album's anti-gun hootenanny "Dear Mr. Heston," the morally senile NRA president is informed: "If you ever saw a twelve-year-old boy's brains/Splattered on a kitchen wall/Well you'd hang your head in shame/You rifle totin' whore/Cold-blooded, old-blooded, sick-ass man." The burly, bearded Damron comes across like Michael Moore fronting Lynyrd Skynyrd. And not unlike Moore, Damron is no ivory-tower liberal; he speaks of firsthand pain in first-person terms, a thinking man trapped in a body -- not to mention a whole culture -- of testosterone-pumped machismo. With plainspoken grace and a Texas drawl, he tenderly growls his way through lines like "I hate everything/Kings and being poor/Guns and burnin' crosses and evils knockin' at my door" and "I hope we're angels/Not just put on earth to bleed, not just a cancer/Not just disease, not just anger."    

    The music is tucked somewhere between Steve Earle and the Afghan Whigs, peppered with stubbly riffs and bleak, black heartbreak. In fact, "Things That Fail" steals the distinct drumbeat from the intro of the Whigs' anthem "Gentlemen," and the disc's opening cut "Twerp" could have been a hidden track at the end of Earle's Transcendental Blues. Other songs, like "American Fuck Machine" and "Sixsixfive," are meaty slabs of outrage and open-chord bashing, while "To be Good" is the album's mournful, gut-chilling ballad.

    Most alt-country today is made by hipster dilettantes and fake-hick opportunists, but I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House sticks out like a rusty nail, pricking egos and deflating pretension. And, in Damron, the whole genre has acquired a new songwriter of conscience, intelligence and brusque -- even savage -- honesty.

    Mike Damron's bluesy/country outfit is back for another fight. I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House is like a ballroom brawl that never ends. It seems like only a couple of months ago that I was reviewing their debut, Creepy Little Noises. Now with their sophomore album out on In Music We Trust again, Damron has honed this style of raucous rock to his own art-form. Mike states that his influences range from Steve Earle to Lynyrd Skynyrd to Thin Lizzy. This all adds up to an energetic set of music and that's what Sonofabitch delivers on his new album. He takes a political approach on some of the songs like "Dear Mr. Heston", an anti-gun song. It really is Mike's voice that makes his band stand out from others. His vocals are twangier than Merle Haggard's and rougher than Joe Cocker's. At times, Sonofabitch is totally rocking like Jackyl and other times Mike has his foot totally in the country sound. It's a refreshing album that isn't all that unique but there is so much heart in Damron's music that it more than makes up for it.


   Sounding something like a Southern refried sloppy combination dinner containing slices of Alice Cooper, The Replacements, and The Pogues...this band is a barroom lover's delight. The band is led by singer Mike D., a man who can out-rasp even the raspiest of singers. His drunken sing/growl is the main focal point of this band's music...although the songs themselves are impressively strong. Though the band is based on Portland...they sound more like a band from Georgia or Alabama. The band's no-frills rock music is stripped down, honest, and goes down easy. This album took a couple of spins to sink in. These guys don't sound anything like other bands on the In Music We Trust label (!). Good downhome rockin' music. Top picks: "Twerp," "American F*ck Machine," "Things That Fall," "Sixsixfive." (Rating: 4+++)


   With the roar of an overdriven Gibson and crackle of harmonica, I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In the House kicks off their next bombastic song. Which song? It doesn’t really matter. They all sound just about the damn same. But that’s missing the point of this group entirely.

    Portland-area rockers ICLASITH (the name comes from the biography of early 20th century boxer John L Sullivan) present us with a presciently spot-on look at problems like gun control, US warmongering, and out-of-touch bloated rock stars that is just right for the times we’re in. The unusual thing about it is that ICLASITH is pure heavy 70’s blues-rock, a combination of Paw and Jon Spencer, that would seem to be the least likely sounding group with these sorts of convictions. Main man singer/songwriter Mike Damron leads the show with an attitude, having seen things firsthand with the 101st Airborne Division and witnessing the accidental shooting of a brother in his home.

    Obviously the album possesses an interesting contradiction, combining progressive sociological views coupled with its retro 70’s southern rock and swagger. This is odd enough for a band with the name and sound therein. Even more unusual, the brilliantly named ‘American Fuck Machine’ has a go at the US government, ‘Dear Mr. Heston’ rails on everyone’s favorite former actor and current NRA nutjob..all of this from a guy who was once a member of the US armed forces. Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is an unusual record.

    Even though the album doesn’t vary as much musically as it does lyrically, Put Here To Bleed is sort of a one-trick pony, but with a pretty substantial trick.

OREGONIAN, 04/18/03

Redneck yet reflective, Southern rockers howl
    Southern rock: A phrase that brings to mind the bourbon-soaked specter of Lynyrd Skynyrd, the mutton-chop mayhem of the Kentucky Headhunters, even the hayseed parodies of latter-day inheritors like the Drive-by Truckers and Southern Culture on the Skids. Historically, it's been a "love-it-or-leave-it" genre, inspiring intense loyalty and furiously righteous criticism in equal measure.

    Out of the kudzu and into the fray leaps Mike Damron, frontman and spiritual leader of Portland band I Can Lick Any S.O.B. in the House. (The unwieldy moniker is drawn from the title of heavyweight boxer John L. Sullivan's biography). On the sophomore CD release, "Put Here to Bleed," Damron and company explore little musical terrain that wasn't already visited in the debut. But much like Skynyrd before them, this band knows what their people are thirsting for and serve it up time and again in ragged, redneck-and-blue glory.

    That said, it would be a mistake to simply label these guys Stars-and-Bars-flag-waving bumpkins. Sure, the album brims with the sort of chord changes and buzz-saw anthems only a Southern-fried fanatic could love -- "Twerp" and "Things That Fail" being the two examples printable in a family newspaper. But it's also marked by songcraft that mirrors John Cougar Mellencamp's prairie populism at its most compelling.

    "Dear Mr. Heston" is the tale of a man who, having lost his 12-year-old brother to a self-inflicted gunshot wound, angrily rails at the NRA president in futile grief, while "Gone as They Go" is the ballad of a guy whose wife and kids have left him, but with a twist: He's chillingly decided that if he can't have them, neither can anyone else, and writes her parents to tell of their fate. The irony kicks in full-throttle on "The Ballad of Courtney Taylor," a needle-sharp attack on rock's inherent ridiculousness as seen through the prism of the Dandy Warhols' outrageous frontman.

    The goods are delivered in Damron's rasping twang, a character he never departs that blends "Let It Bleed"-era Mick Jagger with AC/DC's Bon Scott and Skynyrd's Ronnie Van Zant in an unholy trinity of reverence and cynicism.

    Southern sonic origins aside, "Put Here to Bleed" may well be one of the most anti-Bush administration statements heard this year, which alone makes it worth hearing during a year marked by armed conflict, political wrangling and grassroots protest., 04/03

    If Americana or Roots rock ruled the world, this band would be the authority. Appropriately named, "I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House," while being one of the longer entries in the Webster dictionary, can conveniently be found between to the words "ache" and "nasty." With the "I'm not taking no crap from anyone" vibe, dressed in tattered cowboy boots and with a box of cigs within reach at all times, this band won't leave you wanting for aural stimulus. They have got the balls of all out hard rock and punk, the twangy gun-tootin' grit of Country and the spankin' delivery of the blues. Any way you see it, this album (Put Here to Bleed) is one to covet.


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Put Here To Bleed

Creepy Little Noises