Big Boss Sausage started as a novelty act with comedic intentions, but developed into a formidable band, whose music ran the gamut from hard rock and blues to funny, tear-jerking country ballads. Big Boss Sausage, formerly Serf Cowboy Solution, pursued independent ways to express its music. Sausage on the Mountain, where the band performed at the Hidden Valley resort in Vernon, NJ, in 2001, was the successor to the group's previous annual three-day summer event Rampage on the River in Barryville, NY. The band underwent numerous personnel changes since its inception in the early '90s, but at the beginning of 2001, Mingo Lodge (aka Matthew Checkur) was joined in the group by his brother, co-founder, and co-songwriter Dmitri Thomas (aka Thomas Checkur), both hailed from Woodbridge, NJ; bassist Les Keil, from Brooklyn, NY; and drummer Bill Muchler, from Chatham, NJ. Serf Cowboy Solution (later renamed Big Boss Sausage) released its debut CD, A Night of Hard Liquor and Venison Balls, recorded at Black Bear studios in Vernon, NJ, in November 1998. The band debuted under its new name in 1999 at the Heater's club on High Top Mountain, NJ. The band changed its name to avoid confusion. People had thought the group was a country band, which conflicted with the music it was playing, and also, there was a German heavy metal band called the Surf Cowboys.
The group originally formed in the early '90s when the Checkur brothers joined bassist Keith Kahill and drummer Bob Stoll. After a few months, Kahill left the band for personal reasons. The band has since gone through 17 bassists, but bassist Les Keil, who came on board in 1996, and Stoll performed on the group's debut CD. The late Larry DeBari (former guitarist with Blood Sweat and Tears, Phoebe Snow) produced the CD and also sang on it and played various instruments. Drummer Bill Muchler (formerly of Laskan) joined in 2000.
Comedy always played a part in the band's music and in its live act, too. Both brothers stood six feet, seven inches. While there was no inherent humor in that fact, their height often garnered some laughs when added to the group's wacky costumes and antics, which have ranged from the guys wearing high school cheerleader outfits to donning basketball uniforms. Lodge came up with the original concept for Big Boss Sausage after performing for fun in a band called the Cockadoodle Dudes in New Jersey. Early on, Big Boss Sausage concentrated on doing covers of Johnny Cash, Jimi Hendrix, Pearl Jam, and Radiohead, but soon discovered they could get more mileage by playing original songs about things that mattered to them personally. The Checkur brothers then started to take a decidedly different approach to songwriting, which gave the band its distinctive mix of humorous country and dark, hard-driving rock. ~ Robert Hicks, Rovi