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S.S. Bountyhunter

S.S. Bountyhunter 
Cornerstone Festival, Bushnell, Illinois
July 2000
by Nolan Shigley and Tricia Krull.

After seeing the S.S. Bountyhunter show at Cornerstone 1999, I immediately became a believer. The theatrics of the show (for example, there was a member of the band whose sole purpose is to play the nunchucks and threaten the crowd) and John's insane performance was all that I needed to purchase their album. The album is a day in the life of a bounty hunter, which may sound a tad dark for most Cornerstone goers, but there is a theory behind the album and the band.

I was fortunate enough to speak with the John (the head bounty hunter) backstage during Cornerstone 2000. After this interview, you may become a believer, too. We stared off discussing their new album, Serpents for Eggs, that will be released on Velvet Blue.

Nolan - There's more of a new sound to the upcoming album. Are you losing a lot of the surf sound?

John - Yeah, we've pretty much put that particular guitar sound, all of the surf stuff, aside. We still work in that field, but we're getting into deeper moods and music and deeper atmosphere as we create songs that create visual imagery, a certain scene that might take place.

Nolan  Are you keeping the eerier, darker sound?

John - Yeah, it is getting more eerie and more dark, not real eerie or dark, just enough.

Nolan - I know there was a concept behind the last album. I remember purchasing it for simply the cover art (a female lying dead from a gun wound). Can you explain that for me?

John - Sure. First off, we'll start with the name of the band. It's S.S. Bountyhunter. The S.S. stands for serum seed, which is our paraphrase for the Holy Spirit. A serum is an antitoxin. It's something that cures an illness that you have in your body and the seed is something that is planted inside of us. It's the serum seed. The more it grows, the more that the serum can work against the human illness in our bodies. That is what the Holy Spirit is.

A bounty hunter is someone that receives a bounty by either bringing someone into captivity or putting someone to death. The S.S. Bountyhunters are bounty hunters that are controlled by the serum seed, the Holy Spirit. The serum seed directs them as to what things either need to be brought under captivity or put to death. By doing those things, the S.S. Bountyhunters receive a bounty.

The cover illustrates in the background this group of bounty hunters who have obviously hunted down a woman that looks like she would never have any reason to be hunted down. What that represents are the things that you would never think, things that look innocent, that you would never think that have to be put to death. But, that is the case in a lot of people's lives, that there are those things you would never guess - because they look so innocent, so harmless that you would never think to ever put them to death. The thought of it would never make any sense at all. So that is what the album cover means.

Nolan - I'm guessing the lyrics go along the same lines as the cover art?

John - Yeah, and the lyrics are basically a testimony of the life of an S.S. Bountyhunter. All the way down to the song "The Arsenal," which talks about the different weapons that are being used. It's not using Scripture about the armor of God or anything, because that's been so overdone.

Nolan  I understand the first album took a couple years or so to write and record.

John - Yeah, it took two years to finish the other one and it's been three years since we started writing for the new album, but we had to take about nine months off for one of the members to have a baby and get settled in with that. So, we are going to be reestablished after Cornerstone and things are going to be a lot different. We are going to put more into this and it's going to be one of the most important things in our lives.

Nolan This is your tenth year at Cornerstone. I understand you have brought a different band here before.

John - I was in a band called Clay. Clay was labeled as a hardcore band. I've always been a really creative person, but I was extremely limited on how I could use my creativity. When that broke up, I had a vision for S.S. Bountyhunter that I felt God was giving me. So I'm so grateful I have the freedom to be creative and do things with music that I really want to do. Josh Plemon and I are pretty much the core of the band and we work together so well. We were in Clay together. We have always had similar musical interests We have history with the classic Christian music scene with the Crucified and Breakfast With Amy and all the beginners you know.

Nolan - Are you going to be doing more shows in the near future?

John - Well, after Cornerstone we don't have anything planned until we reestablish ourselves. We really want to finish the new album.

Nolan Shigley is also a writer for Opuszine, a webzine devoted to independent music and cult cinema.  All of his reviews can also be found at
 Copyright © 1996 - 2000 The Phantom Tollbooth
lan Shigley is also a writer for Opuszine, a webzine devoted to independent music and cult cinema.  All of his reviews can also be found at