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Ready for their close-ups: Black Tusk
Black Tusk, on the highway to hell (photo by Geoff L. Johnson).

When you think about it, there's a correlation between playing music and acting. Whoever you are, however you're feeling that day, you've committed to getting up there and putting on some sort of performance.

These nebulous lines are further blurred with this week's debut of "Truth Untold," the video from Savannah trash-metal masters Black Tusk. It's a track from their new EP Tend No Wounds.

The clip, which the band will screen for all their hometown homies during Friday's (Aug. 9) show at the Jinx, finds Jonathan Athon, James May and Andrew Fidler humping it to get to a show at "The Shack." They hitchhike, they steal a car, they wheedle, whine and act generally wacky. And, many PBRs later, they make it to the gig and tear the roof off the place.

No surprise, the guys are truly funny.

Lensed last month here in Savannah, "Truth Untold" came about because of a chance encounter between the band members and a crew from Tytan, the Tybee-based video production company.

"We just happened to meet them in the airport when we were flying back from a festival one time," reports Athon, the trio's bass player. "It was 'Wow! It looks like you have really expensive cases, and so do we! What's in yours? Ours has music gear.' 'Oh, ours has film gear.' And we ended up having a mutual friend. We ended up just shooting the shit and making a video. It was fun."

The hitch-hiking signs in the video ("Anywhere But Here," "Will Headbang for Wheels") originated with Geoff L. Johnson's promo photo of the Black Tusk guys sticking out their thumbs behind a cardboard signing seeking "Hell." That, in turn, was inspired by a famous photograph of band hero Ozzy Osbourne.

The six-song Tend No Wounds was produced by Kylesa's Phillip Cope, a longtime compadre from the trenches of lowcountry metal.

"We wanted to do something that was not as involved as an LP," Athon says. "We like to keep it fresh. It's something that we can put out, and make it look cool, have it a little bit more rare. It's fun for us to do, because you don't have to devote 11 to 12 songs; we wrote these and we felt that cohesive amount of songs was done. I was like 'I'm not going to write any more, I don't care who tells me I have to, I'm just not gonna do it.'

"That's kind of how we always have done it. If we feel like putting out a split 7-inch with our buddies, we put out a split 7-inch with our buddies."

Up next for the bearded bros in black is a month of European dates – from Sweden to Spain to Poland and the Czech Republic.

Athon says he loves these shows.

"The fan following over there is a lot more devout than in the States," he explains. "People here tend to flake out quite easily. I think it's one of the reasons it's so hard for touring bands these days – 'You're playing on a Wednesday night? I have to work in the morning.' Well, it's like 'These dudes are working tonight. If you don't support 'em, they're not going to be able to come back on a weekend so you can have fun.'

"Over in Europe, that's their whole thing for the week, or the month: I'm going to this show. It seems like they're just more hardcore into the music. Being a fan over there is almost a profession sometimes, I think.

"I think it's the same way I feel when bands from over there come here. 'Man, you guys are cool, it's different, I'd like to sit down and talk with you.' It's kind of cool so see the different cultures enjoying the same thing. It's kind of cool to break down a barrier over something as simple as music."

Half notes

Craig Tanner and City Hotel's Corey Chambers are the sit-in guests for Sunday's Savannah Songwriters Series, at the American Legion hall on Tybee. It starts at 6 p.m.

• Legendary composer, arranger and musician Tom Scott will headline the 2013 Savannah Jazz Festival Sept. 28 in Forsyth Park (free).

Among other things, Scott and his fusion band, the L.A. Express, backed Joni Mitchell during her jazz-influenced commercial heyday (Court and Spark, Miles of Aisles). He will direct and solo on a Big Band set with the Savannah Jazz Orchestra.


For the complete schedule, see