Chuck Ragan is apparently an asshole, at least according to people that know him. I spent seven years in Gainesville, Fla. completing a doctorate and so I got to know a number of locals who had either played music with or worked with him and the general consensus was that he’s a pretty difficult guy to get along with. Whatever.
Chuck Ragan and some friends formed the band Hot Water Music sometime before Against Me! blasted Gainesville’s music scene off into the heavens, and HWM was lucky enough to go on tour with Alkaline Trio and enjoy something of a national following. HWM’s sound is, was, loud and post-hardcore — a lot of yelling, tight chords, sound percussion, still musical — but for some reason they didn’t really catch on at the big level. They’re a touch unrefined, and that may be the reason why. I think I’ve heard them on the radio once.
BUT. Chuck Ragan and HWM broke up sometime ... around 2006? It doesn’t matter, because Ragan has decidedly moved on from punk-post-hardcore music. He’s a folk artist now. He completely unplugged, and his projects since Hot Water Music ate the shit are utterly wonderful.
Like Rumbleseat. That there vid up there is the entirety of their sole album, “California Burritos,” the title track. Scan forward to about the 19:55 minute mark and you will arrive at the spectacular offering “Shithouse Rat,” a remarkable piece of American musical literature that perfectly encapsulates Ole Miss’ offensive philosophy this season. To wit:
Burning down on 301 like he never before
Gassing down that straight-six like there never was a floor
He was crazier than a shithouse rat, oh lord
Passed those blues at 110, the chase was on for sure
This here is Ole Miss’ offense in 2017. A shithouse rat gunning his way down Florida highway 301, which runs north-south just east outside of Gainesville. A wild Florida Man daring highway patrol to pull his ass over.
But no, they just sat there
Maybe they didn’t see him
Maybe they didn’t care
Why would you pull over this idiot? The stones on this guy.
That old boy turned around, passed him on the other side
He turned around again, and gave it another shot
Running down on 301 like he never done before
Burning up that old straight-six like it had not lots of more
He had fire in his eyes, and lead in his feet, oh lord
This man’s running a straight-six with the pedal to the floor. You catch him, congratulations. He’s outrunning you every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Especially on a rural outpost in the swamps of northern Florida.
Soon there was one, two, three, four, five, six smokies on his tail
But if there’s seven, eight, nine, ten, that boy woulda never given a hell
They tried to run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run him down,
But they couldn’t catch that old shithouse rat and lock him down
That’s the entire song. A fucking idiot daring police to pull him over. That’s Ole Miss football. Phil Longo’s offense popping off tempo drives in Berkeley then failing miserably in the second half.
We’re of course not told what happens to the shithouse rat. Hopefully he gets out of the shithouse. It probably doesn’t matter. He’s a shithouse rat and he needs to be disposed of. He’s the size of a regulation football and he smells like shit.
But he can still ruin Nick Saban’s dinner.