After a short period playing his original compositions and covers in his band Shakespeare’s Riot, son of an Illinois pig farmer Jason Ringenberg moved to Nashville and formed Jason and the Scorchers, a band that has been a major influence on alt country. Combining country and rock covers with original music, Jason and the Scorchers played it all like a punk band – except with country twang and outfits that crossed Porter Wagoner with the New York Dolls.
There first release came in 1982, followed by an album that made many best of lists in 1983. Another alt-country album came in 1985 along with worldwide tours. From this 80’s success the band gained a cult following that has lasted for 30 years. Unfortunately, their sound was too country for rock radio, and too much rock for country radio, and the band got little airplay.
By 1989 the band tried an album that was more rock oriented that was not well reviewed. This led the band to their first disbanding, and Jason Ringenberg would move on to his solo career.
In the early 90s Jason and the Scorchers reunited to tour and record. The band returned to a more country sound and released more albums in the 90s before disbanding again. In 2010 the band reunited one more time to record another album and tour.
Jason and the Scorchers were ahead of the wave of alt-country and Americana, but their influence can be seen in the following round of alt-country and Americana bands like Uncle Tupelo, the Bottle Rockets and others.
Photograph: Paul Natkin/WireImage