by John Tarpley
After you've recovered from an overdose of family at Christmas, but before you start resting up for New Year's, how 'bout a break for debauchery? When Smoke Up Johnny called it quits in early 2009, fans of barroom guitar-rock mourned. The group's success relied on simple formula, front man Alan Disaster told me back in 2007 when I profiled the band: "We play good-time music. We play late at night. Everybody gets drunk." And as it turns out, it's a formula that hasn't died easy. Instead, Smoke Up Johnny has joined a handful of beloved local bands (Ashtray Babyhead, Mulehead) in a kind of purgatory, where the group's effectively over, but still alive enough to play the occasional concert. Tuesday's occasion is the long awaited release of Smoke Up Johnny's second album, "Shit Faced on Life." With song titles like "Sunday Beer," "If It Ain't Wrong" and "Too Loud for Louisville" and a sound that continues to marry the best of Thin Lizzy and The Dictators, it's the post-Christmas gift to give yourself to tide you through the dark days when SUJ is on hiatus. Brother Andy and His Big Damn Mouth, the reigning Times Showcase winner (register at arktimes.com/showcase11, local acts) and perhaps the heir to SUJ's barroom throne, is just days away from the official release of "Hells Angles," the band's latest collection of earworm-y songs of sex, drugs and murder.