Mister Husband’s dear friend Scott Sturtevant (otherwise known as Slim the Drifter) passed on about a month ago while we were down South. He died of cirrhosis at 46. I never knew him, since he had hightailed it back to Bakersfield long before I met Jeff in Arkansas. I’ve been hearing about him for years, though, and the house has always been filled with a variety of Slimiana — videos, recordings, spray-paint art, and various side projects they collaborated on in the mid-90s. (Slim is staring out at me from an 11×14 print stacked against the wall as I write this, actually.) And lately, I’ve been reading Jeff’s posts about him.
The more I know about Slim, the more I wonder why he isn’t mentioned in most SoCal punk histories (much the way Falling James isn’t). He did his time in Skinhead Manor before returning to Bakersfield and eventually morphing into a cowpunk before becoming pure rough hewn roadside Americana. At least he appears in the ‘Bakersfield Sound’ Wikipedia entry.
The more I dig through the artifacts, the more amazed I am at his talent. He was formidable, and deserves to be much better known. (His capacity for sin was as formidable as his talent, though, and I suspect it largely accounts for his obscurity. Think Townes Van Zandt. There are worse comparisons for Slim. In fact, if there was ever a meth-and-bourbon lovechild of Townes, Johnny Cash, and Tammy Wynette, Slim was it.) There’s a full upload of his Karaoke Cowboy tape here, and there’s more to come where that came from. It’s well worth a listen, even if you’re not usually into dark, inflected country that’s not really country, and there are several of you who I think might particularly like it. (Bakerina! Shannon! AKMA! George! Scrivener! Logie!)