Mutant-blues trio Tijuana Hercules were led by singer/guitarist John Forbes, an Indiana native who first surfaced in the late '80s as a member of the Atlanta band Phantom 309, which also featured future Jesus Lizard drummer Mac McNeilly. After a subsequent stint in Dirt, he relocated to Chicago in 1993, founding noise merchants Mount Shasta and issuing four LPs on the Skin Graft label. In the months prior to Mount Shasta's 1998 dissolution, the drummer's seat was occupied by Chad Smith, later Forbes' roommate. Together they co-founded Tijuana Hercules in early 2000, adding percussionist Mike Young to complete the original lineup. Fueled by vintage blues, rockabilly, and gospel, the group started as a cover band but Forbes' original compositions eventually moved to the fore. Young's tenure with Tijuana Hercules proved brief, however, and Forbes and Smith added horn player/percussionist Zak Piper in time to record the trio's self-titled 2001 debut EP, released on its own Black Pisces label. A second EP, When the Moon Comes Up Wild, followed in late 2002. Years in the making, Tijuana Hercules' eponymous full-length debut finally appeared in mid-2005.
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