Song of the Week

EHSDA Song of the Week: Locked Out

Lockout/tagout issues are a big concern for employers. Proper lockout/tagout practices and procedures must be implemented to protect employees from the release of hazardous energy. The EHSDA Song of the Week reflects that challenge with a little-known alt-rock gem from 1994, Big Chief’s “Locked Out.”

Big Chief was formed in 1989 by several veterans of the Michigan hardcore punk scene, including singer Barry Henssler, who was in the Necros. The group merged Black Sabbath-esque riff rock with funk, releasing several singles in the early ’90s before their debut album Face came out on Sub Pop in 1991. Their second album, 1993’s Mack Avenue Skullgame, was also on Sub Pop before they signed with Capitol Records.

The band’s third and final album, Platinum Jive: Greatest Hits 1969-1999 (the joke being that these were all new songs by a band that had only been around for five years), was their major label debut. They leaned into the hard rock sound popularized by fellow Michiganders The Stooges and MC5, while working in some funk elements as well. “Locked Out” is a menacing, heavy song that thunders along and seemed like a good fit for fans of bands like Soundgarden.

However, the band couldn’t get any traction. The video for “Lion’s Mouth” got some play on MTV’s 120 Minutes, but Big Chief got lost in the shuffle. They toured with the Cult and the Goats, but like many artists signed to major labels in the post-Nirvana gold rush, Big Chief ended up disbanding a few years later. The band has been long forgotten to the sands of time, but there were a few of us who enjoyed them back in the day.

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