KOOL KAT OF THE WEEK: Mark Sultan Grills Up Some Rock n Roll BBQ at The Earl

Posted on: Aug 17th, 2016 By:

popup_bbq_recordBy Geoff Slade
Contributing Writer

If the best garage bands of any era and the snarl of punk were distilled into one person, for my money, that person would be Mark Sultan, who rocks The Earl this Thursday August 18 with openers Rod Hamdallah and Paralyzer. His bands (Spaceshits, Les Sexareenos, Mind Controls, et al) provide the perfect YouTube rabbit hole for the uninitiated and fans alike. This is pure, old fashioned rock music, unadorned, except with good-natured menace.

Mark began billing himself BBQ and playing as one-man band in 2000. If you’re a fan, you may know him best from The King Khan & BBQ Show, which he formed a few years later with former Spaceshits band mate Khan.

The quintessential Kool Kat of the Week, Sultan took a break from his solo North American tour over the weekend to answer a few questions.

ATLRetro: Hey, Mark! Thanks for taking a few minutes from the road to chat withus. You’re in Texas right now, right? How’s the tour going so far?

Mark Sultan: Good, but for some whiny folks who just don’t “get it.”

According to your tour schedule, you play in Brooklyn the night after this week’s Earl show, and in Montreal (your hometown) the night after that. Will each of these shows be completely different? How about the crowds?

Each show is different in that I play each show from my heart. Sometimes things just change, for good or bad. I’m an honest person. It’s my show, but I play for the moment.

You’ve been in tons of bands but also toured extensively as a solo artist (here he is in a Russian bookstore), often (usually? always?) as a “one-man band.” Is this the format of your current tour?

I mean, I have had many ‘band’ bands, but ya, being a one-man band certainly allows for more travel. Yes, this is how I am touring.

sultanThe spectacle is undeniably badass (check this out). You clearly don’t NEED a drummer on stage, or anyone else for that matter, but is that the only reason you don’t have one?

For this particular thing, I feel the limitations of the set-up dictate the style. And I like the style. It’s just extreme rock n roll. With frills, come problems.

Do you record this way?

Depends what I am recording. If I wanna record this ‘band’, ya, I record live off the floor. But I also do full band recordings, where I am playing traditionally. I’ve done many things.

Are you currently working on any new music? Anything we can hear soon?

I am just solidifying my studio/record label Chompazoid back in the Berlin area. I will be self-releasing lots of stuff. Recording a bunch of stuff. Always do.

Are you performing career-spanning set lists on this tour?

Not really. I may slide a few old tunes in here and there, but it’s not a major concern.

24d7b1b5eec4d1515b472243ef82fdc2Do you still perform as “BBQ?”

That’s me. That’s my one-man band. But some clubs bill me as “Mark Sultan.”

How did you hook up with Atlanta kindred spirits Black Lips? Are you guys close? Any plans to collaborate in the future?

My other band, The King Khan & BBQ Show, are big pals, toured with them in 2006 [?]. When none of us were “known,” we recorded together and toured as The Almighty Defenders. We’re brothers. I may record them at Chompazoid later this year.

Say someone reading this is unfamiliar with your music, what song would you suggest they hear first?

No idea. What I have learned is that my idea of rock n roll is completely different than most folks who like shit like Black Keys, so I don’t really care if you listen or not. Especially in this age of Internet big-mouths.

Name three bands about which you could confidently say, “If you like them, you should check me out.” Better yet, “If you like them, you’ll HATE me!”

I only own three T-shirts in life: one International Artists, one Link Wray, one Heartbreakers. Add a Falcons album, and that’s a decent cross section. I hate Dion, Blueshammer. I hate the plastic version of real shit.

a0446381847_16Your Wikipedia page calls your music “Canadian Garage Punk.” Is that accurate? Is that any different from the American strain?

No. That’s just stupid?

Thanks again for taking the time to chat. Anything else you want to mention?

Sorry about the rushed answers. I’m on my way out the door to the next town!

Check out Mark and openers Rod Hamdallah and Paralyzer this Thursday August 18, 9pm at The Earl. Tickets are $10.

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Getting the Rub on Moe’s Original Barbecue: A Diabolical Love of All Things Smokey, Caramelized, Spicy and Sweet

Posted on: May 21st, 2013 By:

By Rachel Marshall
Contributing Writer

“Come find me. I have a drink for you. I call it the Adios, Motherfucker,” John grinned, and left me and my friend Jaimes to wonder what exactly goes into an Adios, Motherfucker. Tequila, clearly, but after that? Jaimes and I would find out later, but until then we continued to enjoy our night at Moe’s Original Barbeque in Midtown.

The only person I wanted at my side for a foray into all things meat was Jaimes. She is no stranger to barbecue. In fact, some of my favorite grilling adventures come from this lovely, food-crazy girl. Naturally, she was going to be my co-pilot, as we investigated the newest Moe’s location here in ATL. Boasting several locations, Moe’s never lets the success go to their head. In fact, the establishment bends over backwards to show a flexible and diabolical love of all things smoky, caramelized, spicy and sweet.

Not only does Moe’s lean on traditional, familial “there’s, like, 15 ingredients in our rub” barbecue, this current Moe’s location refuses to let go of 349 14th Street’s past. Upon entering the establishment, a large Kool Korners Gro. sign is impossible to miss, crowning the curling, copyright cursive of red and white “Coca Cola.” Before Moe’s was Moe’s, Kool Korners Grocery was a hot spot for any foodie looking for a fix of Cuban sandwichery. Our host – chef, pitmaster, and all around badass Rocketman – was pretty clear that Moe’s was not in the market to forget the deeply forged roots of 349 14th St.

The space feels like a high-end dive, a plus in my books. Never really felt that a barbecue joint should be dressed up in the trappings of fine-dining with quartet music humming through the air. No, no! The more peanut shells on the floor the better, the more I have to yell for someone to hear me across the table, the better. Now, Moe’s does not have peanut shells or decibel violation, but there is a hominess that settles in as you find your seat within the belly of the beast.

A cold pitcher of beer later, and Jaimes and I are recovering from a feast. Rocketman and John pulled out all stops to make sure we really got to taste the spectrum of Moe’s barbecue offerings. Highlights for us? The smoked wings! Not fried. Not broiled.  Not roasted. Smoking the wings brought an incredibly subtle char, and left the meat inside juicy. These scarlet gems of meat candy cannot be missed if you scoot your way down 14th St.! The St. Louis-styled ribs are a perfect balance of sauce to rub, allowing me to savor every flavor, instead of one overlapping the other. Butterfly fried shrimp and catfish can still be detected in a complimentary batter, and shine when combined with house-made remoulade. I was hesitant to try the collards, because I generally find them over-cooked and sour everywhere I go, but these collards are different. Just looking at them, you can immediately spot the difference. The collards are vibrantly verdant, and a not-so-liberally applied vinegar makes them shine. Instead of a vinegar bomb erupting and blinding my palette for the rest of the meal, I was actually enjoying the taste of collards, instead of dark green vinegar death.

The feeling I had, enjoying this food, was that Moe’s was in the market to respect the food, and broadcast the flavors. Let’s take their coleslaw, for example. Some barbecue joints will slather their coleslaw in mayo and call it a day. Moe’s does a light apple cider vinegar marinade, which maintains the texture, and avoids any mayo-cloying that can occur. Moe’s is also very conservative with sauces, keeping most of them on the side, or lightly drizzled over food so as not to mask anything. At the same time? These same sauces and rubs follow a certain barbecue tradition. You ever ask a pitmaster what goes into their rub, the best answer you could receive is a long sigh, and a laundry list of herbs and spices. A lot of the time, this sort of list won’t have measurements of quantities; a pinch of this, a bit of that, and some of that stuff over there.

Jaimes and I are on the patio, flirting with a couple of coconut pies while we smoke cigarettes, and cautiously explore the Adios, Motherfucker. John is nearby, also enjoying a cigarette the way someone enjoys a quick snack. He sits with us, and we talk about where we come from, what we cook, what we like about barbecue, and what doesn’t work. Just shooting the shit with some food philosophies, a conversational path I stumble down and cannot wait to call a past-time. There is something nostalgic about finding a good barbecue place, whether it’s a longstanding player in the food game, or a newcomer. You can reminisce on cook-outs with your own folks, or grilling with friends on a back-porch. You maintain tradition, you continue to tell a story that someone in your family (or their family) started years and year and years ago with salt, pepper, brown sugar, cayenne, a pinch of this, and a pinch of that.

If you want to find out what’s in an Adios, Motherfucker, or just enjoy some really great grub, check out Moe’s Original Barbecue at 349 14th St., Atlanta, GA 30318.

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