The Outsiders

The Gleam reminisce about their creepy rural childhood

Someone should. The trio's just-released sophomore record, Lookout for Evils, is a great leap forward from Chisago County in terms of songwriting if not spirit, which is baked into their DNA. A recently divorced father of two daughters, Johns sings with a cry in his voice on such tracks as "Morning Horses," "Got What'cha Wanted," and "Witches -N- Winos (Never Been Better)," adding a dark dimension and emotional weight to the band's slapdash sound.

"This one strips away more of the boozin' and the party, and you're left on the corner in the gutter after the bar," says Johns. Which slightly lowballs it, for Evils rips, careens, and croons like a post-alt-country mini-classic, leaving the distinct impression that the Gleam are in it for the long haul—as illustrated by the fact that Bon-Bonnie, their fifth drummer, is apparently sticking around.

"Our last drummer before him couldn't take it," says Wreck. "I threw a beer bottle at him and it ricocheted off the snare and hit him right between the eyes and the glasses, and that was it for him. He was done. He rode his bike into the darkness and that was the last we ever saw of him."

As the Hex's country jam eases into a slow-burn gin-and-tonic slumber, the boys go outside for a smoke. On the sidewalk, Johns says goodbye to the wife of a friend who is off to Nashville to pursue his own music dreams. He wishes her good luck, and she tells him to keep doing it, keep writing songs, because she believes in the Gleam. Just then, Rosie waddles out the door. From inside, the sound of someone murdering Kitty Wells or Patsy Cline hits the night.

"While she's dying in there, I'll be in here," says Rosie, heading to her car with a copy of the Gleam's new CD.

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