When The Ramones fired off the first shots in the Punk Rock revolution back in 1975, they were a reactionary movement. Disgusted with the radio's state of corporate rock and disco, they attempted to recreate Phil Spector's 20-person-strong wrecking crew hit factory with three chords, two amps and a cloud of dust. By the time they did their victory lap on the Lollapalooza Tour in 1996, the Ramones had successfully given music a teenage lobotomy, despite never having a hit record.
A year after The Ramones gave birth to punk rock, Bruno Esposito, the one man band known as Lone Wolf, came into the world. By the time he was in grade school, he knew he had two paths: music and food. While his food was good enough to become the sous chef for mango-gang leader Chef Allen Susser before he hit 25, Esposito's true calling is music. He knocked around Miami's punk scene for years, before distinguishing himself as the stand-up bassist for local psychobilly quartet The Van Orsdales.
After his tenure on the greaser circuit, Esposito relocated to Georgia to attend luthier school. His childhood hobby of fashioning guitars out of kite strings and shoeboxes transformed from a passion into a profession, as Esposito quickly fashioned a line of banjos out of cigar boxes and chewing tobacco cans.
Esposito has taken punk's DIY ethic to a new level. Rather than drag a drummer or a drum machine on the road, Esposito bangs out a straight 4 beat on a kick drum ala Joe Buck Yourself. But while Buck screams about tractors, Esposito's Lone Wolf character vocals are a low simmering guttural growl. Lone Wolf doesn't need to scream at his fans. He's too busy picking out lines on his home made banjo or deciding how many shots of Jim Beam to down before launching into a Robert Johnson-influenced gut-bucket blues.
Eric Clapton may have popularized "Crossroads" but if you can afford a junkie nurse, chances are you've never actually gone to one and dared the Devil. Lone Wolf may be playing small clubs, but that's only because the Devil is ducking his challenge. The Devil knows Esposito can make a ragu out of his hooves and horns and braise his tail in a wine reduction. The Devil knows Esposito can ride a 10-speed 75 mph down a mountain at daybreak, miss the tour bus, and still make a gig 400 miles away. The Devil knows Esposito could make the fiddle of gold Charlie Daniels got off him, and Esposito doesn't need to wager his soul - or his pizzeria in Costa Rica to get it.
But every night on the bandstand, Lone Wolf is wagering that the Blues he loves is still worth singing in a society that values music less than Satan does. If that's good enough for Daddy, that should be good enough for you to go to Churchill's tonight.