Steering Ships with Empty Bottles, usually shortened to S.S. WEB, hail from “the booze-soaked, frozen tundra of Milwaukee”. All that booze and freeze has had a dark influence on the team of Henry Berger (vocals and acoustic guitar) and Cris Bissell (washboard, percussion and backing vocals). They rip out punk riffs on front porch instruments, seamlessly blending rock, country, and blues. Meanwhile, Henry’s lyrics, typically about drinking, or bad women, or drinking on account of bad women, are devastating. On “One Last Gasp”, from their recent album Revenge, When it Matters Most, Henry reveals his only weakness with the lines: “They tried to stick me with a switchblade but my skin just bent the steel / They tried to beat me black and blue but I stood strong like a bull / They tried to get me with that old .45 but that bullet didn’t make no dent / But that mean little woman with the ruby red dress, she made me weep to death.” All told, an S.S. WEB show is an experience that will make your feet stomp and your heart break at the same time.
S.S. WEB are prolific, with four full length albums and a handful of E.P.s and compilations released in just over seven years. This amount of output would be impressive for any band, but considering S.S. WEB also spend most of every year on the road all over America (and occasionally beyond), they seem to have an inhuman amount of go-get-’em.