I’ve been a fan, and raved about Hillstomp for years. When I was in Portland, OR years ago I stumbled across them playing. The band Hillstomp is a duo consisting of Henry Hill Kammerer and John “Lord Buckets” Johnson. These two men have not forgot their roots. After the concert they spent over an hour making conversation with all of their fans. The positive vibe these two men put out is incredible. Henry sold Hillstomp swag as John connected with supporters. The concert was at Crow’s Feet commons in Bend, OR. They had well over 500 fans watch them play in twenty degree weather. Hillstomp is a band who is known for original material, and energetic live performances. I actually had a hoarse voice the next day from singing along with them, they didn’t disappoint!
In 2001 these two men met in Portland, OR, at a solo show. When John first met Henry he was drawn to his musical talent when he heard him playing the guitar. The music these two create is country blues rock. “Blues has a negative connotation among a lot of younger people, Henry says. Henry and John do not look like the typical blues bands with the tattoos, and a hipster country persona. “With all respect, a lot of blues music kinda sucks. It’s the same uninspired, unoriginal 12 bars. It sounds like a cover band, and that doesn’t appeal to people. Blues doesn’t have to suck. Ninety-five percent of the blues is crap; the other 5 percent is what I’ve chosen to devote my life to” Henry says. At one point Hillstomp almost came to an end. “We were just kind of worn out on it,” John explains. “Worn out with each other, didn’t really know what we wanted to do and if it was still going to have legs or not. Fortunately we took a break at just the right time. And within six months, we were like, ‘Dude this sucks. I want to play again.’ We missed each other and we missed playing. So we were off for about a year exactly, and then we started writing and playing again.” Now over fourteen years together they still stick to the same style of music while using a homemade kit consisting of a plastic buckets, a bbq lid, spoons, and an old washboard. John first learned how to play music at a very young age using a soup pan, a bucket, food boxes, and a bbq lid. At this young age he didn’t have his own drums. “I’d certainly banged on drum kits before and knew how to put them together,” says John, “but I’d never been a drummer.” When John and Henry first started they didn’t have drums, but they found a solution because they have such passion for music. At the beginning Henry also worked at a Portland restaurant were they gathered objects in the kitchen to bang on instead of using a typical drum set. They’ve created their own songs, practiced, and have created magic, “It feels as exciting and new as it ever felt” says John. They tour up and down the West Coast, and I highly recommend you seeing them for yourself. For the latest tour dates, songs, and swag visit their website at http://www.hillstomp.com.