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Scott H. Biram feature

| June 30, 2006

Scott H. Biram
Road Tested

There’s a point during “18 Wheeler Fever,” one of 14 songs on Scott H. Biram’s new record, Graveyard Shift (Bloodshot), where the Texan admits “Well it’s been sung about a thousand times/that old song about a truck driver’s life.”

Appearing: 7/21 at Abbey Pub (3420 W. Grace) in Chicago.

So knowing this, why does Biram insists on reviving the theme yet again on Graveyard, his second Bloodshot release and fifth overall?

“It’s kind of like the redneck aspect to it,” says Biram, who is at an Austin car wash having his tour van cleaned when IE reaches him. “It’s kind of like a sub-country genre or something.”

Plus, Biram believes there are obvious parallels between professional drivers and a one-man DIY band like himself, who travels the country to make a living the old-fashioned way: pounding the pavement. That means many twilight hours spent watching the blurry yellow lines of the road zoom past. “Drivin’ on the road all the time, I uh, kinda feel like a truck driver a lot of times, going into the next town all the time and unloading the equipment. I gotta play a show; they don’t have to play a show, but I don’t have to stop in the chicken coops either . . . the, uh, weight stations,” he says, clarifying the driver lingo. “So I got that up on ’em.”

Whatever the reason, Biram won’t dismiss the song topic anytime soon. You can bet his next record will have a couple truck drivin’ songs, and the one after that as well. He’ll likely always have some sort of deep-rooted connection with the same big rigs your average driver hardly notices sharing the road with. After all, it was an 18-wheeler that very nearly ended Biram’s life.

On March 23rd, 2003, Biram was driving his pickup truck on the undivided, four-way Highway 123 in Central Texas, near his former home. A car stopped in front of a semi, forcing its driver to swerve into oncoming traffic and put his tractor and trailer on a 75 m.p.h. head-on collision course with the first thing in line: Biram’s black Dodge Dakota.

“He rattled my bones,” Biram says with a painful chuckle.

The impact was so vicious it knocked the front axle off the semi and left Biram buried under a heap of gnarled metal with bones poking from his body, his right foot folded in half, bleeding lungs, and his small intestine torn from his colon. The official injury report included two broken legs, a broken foot, a broken arm, and a foot less of lower intestine. He spent six months in and out of the hospital, during which he had roughly 13 different surgeries and countless rods and pins inserted. “I’m a robot,” he says, laughing. “In Louisiana they call me the Bionic Redneck.”

If you think this sounds exaggerated to make a better story, consider the photographs posted on Biram’s message board (under the aptly titled “Hit The Road” section) that show his ride mangled and flattened like it was part of a monster-truck rally. Now consider that despite the fact he wasn’t able to walk until six months after the accident, Biram played a live gig at the Continental Club in his hometown of Austin less than six weeks after telling the Grim Reaper to fuck off.

Trevor Fisher

To read the rest of Biram’s gory tale, grab the July issue of Illinois Entertainer.

Category: Features, Monthly

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