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Distillery Funeral Resurrects Bootleg


I’ve been out of town since Thursday, and before last week all I thought about was Russia for something like 7-weeks, and possibly more—though at this point there isn’t any real way to tell; and somewhere in the middle of that episode I failed to hear about this business concerning the Distillery Tavern having to change its name to The Double Barrel Tavern because of copyright issues with some franchise from upstate New York. For Distillery owner Paulie Kotlarczyk and his crew, there was only one thing to do: They blocked off Old Main Street and lined it with beer vendors and sofas, and threw a rad funeral party to give the Bradenton staple a proper farewell. The street party was complete with performances from Bootleg and Offshore Riot—two of the area’s most popular bands who, during their early days, Kotlarczyk frequently booked at the bar’s old location on Cortez Rd. 


It was a good farewell party, and also a celebration of rebirth. Jacqui Dunn, 27, of Bradenton told The Bradenton Times, “The Distillery's name may be 6-feet under, but The Double Barrel Tavern and its people remain the same.” 


Mark Pelam, lead singer and guitarist for Bootleg, said he was honored when Kotlarczyk reached out to book the band at Distillery one last time. “They’re awesome people,” said Pelam. “They’ve supported us and people like us, and it was great to be there to play and support them.



Bootleg stopped playing actively in 2011. Their shows were wild parties; and, for the 5 or 6 years that the group was together, Bootleg was the most popular band in town. They were popular all throughout Florida as well, and in other places like Jamaica—wherever the surf/skate/ska reggae punk party culture was big, like it was here. 


Since 2011 they’ve done a handful of gigs, and I’ve missed every one of them. Which is a shame, because I love that band. Sunday afternoon I called Mark to ask him about the show, and he said it was great. It had been over a year since their last reunion—which sold out at Jannus Live—and it was good to get together and play all of those old Bootleg songs. 


I asked Pelam, who still plays daily, if his relationship with music has changed since Bootleg stopped touring. He said, “Of course—I’ve gotten back to using music to get me through life, instead of using it for life, and I’m loving it.” 


As far as the band’s future is concerned, fans can expect a new album later this year or early 2015, which will be available on iTunes. 


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