The Swamp Tigers to say goodbye at the Old Feed Store

The Swamp Tigers to say goodbye at the Old Feed Store

The Swamp Tigers to say goodbye at the Old Feed Store
Dakota Holden

One of Southern Illinois’ favorite rockabilly and honky tonk bands, The Swamp Tigers, will be coming to a close. One of the last performances in the area Saturday at the Old Feed Store in Cobden has officially sold out.

Nightlife had the pleasure of talking with all members of the band about their memories and future endeavors.

What started as a four-piece band with original members Josh Plemon (vocals) and Zachary Kemp (drums) turned into a trio after their move from the Carbondale area. Andrew Staff took over the role as frontman, Chad Schaeffer joined as the new drummer, and Blake Bramlett continued on the upright bass.

Throughout the band’s years of playing, The Swamp Tigers developed a tone of their own, providing a fun mix of rockabilly, honky tonk, country, and surf music. Songs, keys, and lyrics are all burned into their heads without ever needing a set list to play to the crowd.

In 2016 they released their second full record. The album, “To Sing a Life”, was recorded at Hi Style Studios in Chicago and was released at the Old Feed Store.

Though the group has been playing for nearly ten years with a growing fan base, their families have all grown as well. Balancing family, work, and music is no easy task, but with the recent decision to come to a close, they are looking forward to having time back with their families.

Andrew Staff is currently attending Covenant Seminary in St. Louis part-time.

I’ve got so much going on with seminary, work, kids, and a wife, it’s getting hard to keep it all going,” he said. “I can’t be up until two in the morning on weekends. It’s not a financial necessity anymore.”

Though the band is coming to a close, Andrew has no shortage of fond moments with the group.

“We opened up for REO Speedwagon which was cool,” Staff said. “Even though it was a weird thing, it’s one of those things you kind of always remember. We got to play with one of my favorite bands The Bellfuries. Getting to play with Chuck Mead and play with the Bottle Rockets. There have been so many cool moments, it’s hard to say.”

After the band’s final few shows, Andrew will continue to play music at the Hope Church of Carbondale as the musical director and play more recreationally with people he hasn’t had the opportunity to.

“I’m looking forward to playing music however I want, whenever I want, and not with the pressure of making money while doing it,” he said.

For Blake Bramlett, the little things mean the most. Whether it’s an inside joke or seeing Andrew getting smacked with a beaver tail, the ability to share the moments with the band

will missed.

“You learn over ten years of playing music, the music is the back burner to our friendship. It is more about enjoying each other,” Blake said.

Currently, he is working on a musical project with his wife, Jordan Bramlett. They are fixing up a new group that will go public in the new year.

Chad Schaeffer runs The Practice Pad with his wife Jamie Schaeffer. Since the band announced their close, Chad has been steering his efforts toward the business. Most recently, he started a new percussion ensemble at the Practice Pad that will perform four shows a year.

Chad said, “I’m just weighing some options. I enjoy playing out. But right now, I’m focusing on our business a little bit more. We got a lot of stuff changing at the shop.”

He, like the other members of The Swamp Tigers, will miss being able to see each other consistently.

“We are all are great friends. That’s going to be the biggest thing that I’m going to miss,” Schaeffer said. “Our social life consisted of gigs. They weren’t all fun, but at least we got to hang out as friends.”

Their last full show in Southern Illinois has sold out at the Feed Store in Cobden.

“We are looking forward to the Feed Store,” Schaeffer said. “Josh Plemon will sing some songs. That will be fun. I’m sure Jordan (Bramlett) will get up and sing some. I think Kevin Ohlau will sit in and play. There will be a lot of surprises. It’ll be a good show.”

If you weren’t able to get tickets for the Feed Store performance, there will be two more opportunities to catch The Swamp Tigers. You can see them at Dry Ground Brewing in Paducah, Dec. 15 or a part of the Ivas John Blue Christmas at the Varsity Center, Dec. 16.

The Swamp Tigers want to thank Southern Illinois and the fans for all of their love and support over the past ten years.