Perry Baggs, the longtime drummer for Nashville cowpunk crusaders Jason and the Scorchers, has died. He was 50 years old and had been in failing health in recent years, spurred by a lengthy battle with diabetes.
Baggs was born in Nashville on March 22, 1962.
Jason and the Scorchers is credited with shining a national spotlight on Music City’s non-country scene. Led by Jason Ringenberg, the band formed in 1981, fusing classic country with punk flavor. The group was signed to Praxis International, headed by Kay Clary, Jack Emerson and Andy McLenon.
“As the drummer for the original Jason & The Scorchers quartet, Perry Baggs’ role in creating their intense chemistry may have been less obvious than that of the other members but was no less vital,” explains Clary. “Along with his ability to whiplash between sincere loping country and punk-frenzied beats, he also wrote two of the band’s catchiest songs ‘If Money Talks’ and ‘White Lies.’ He was the kind of person for whom the phrases ‘wouldn’t hurt a flea’ and ‘never met a stranger’ were invented to describe. Nashville won’t be the same without his sweet presence.”
Over the years the band’s activity has waxed and waned. Baggs left the group in 2003. Ringenberg went on to become the popular kids entertainer Farmer Jason.
In 2007 The Scorchers played a pair of reunion shows at Exit/In to benefit Baggs.
In 2008 the Americana Music Association honored the band with its Lifetime Achievement Award. The reunited group released the 2010 effort Halcyon Times. Baggs contributed harmony vocals to the project.