Q&A: Slim's Owner Celeste Lucas on Cornbread, Cornbreds, and Marrying for Cornbread

Slim's Last Chance Chili is opening its doors to toothless grinners and the music that feeds them.

When Big John Hamhock, the lead singer of local band Bullitt County, approached Celeste Lucas with the idea of a holding an all-day festival called Cornbread Fest at her bar, Slim's Last Chance Chili Shack, Hamhock envisioned a fest that would have something for "anybody with a pompadour, trucker hat, or mullet." Lucas thought the name Cornbread was more than appropriate, in a couple different ways, for her club, which books rockabilly, country, and several varieties of alts. Cornbread (the food, not the fest) is a summer favorite they make from scratch, she says, plus, "I was thinking because it's all kinda country, hillbilly kind of music, inbred...cornbread," she says, hitting the right rhythm between the two.Just two weeks after Slim's PBRBQ, Lucas' festival this Saturday brings together eight bands—from Guns of Nevada and Bullitt County to Hartwood and Gun & the Damage Done—for an all-day celebration of keeping your cornbread moist. Here, Lucas (also the owner of the neighboring Pig Iron Bar-B-Q) talks about Sonic Youth, courtship, and raising a family with a pair of businesses on her hip.SW: Do you remember your favorite piece of cornbread?Lucas: The first one I liked, my husband [co-owner Michael Lucas] made, and he's the one who came up with the menu here. It was always a little bit dry, so he made it good. I think (he made it) at my house when we were dating, 12 years ago. He cooked for me constantly. That's how we ended up together, I think. He was the chef at Hattie's Hat, and I was a bartender at Lock & Keel Tavern, and he would bring me dinner all the time. Food was definitely the cornerstone in our relationship, and also the drive to open Pig Iron and Slim's.How about the first good show you went to?I would say it was Sonic Youth and it was Union Station on Fourth and Jackson. It was just the coolest place to see a show. I want to say in the early '90s, maybe '89.How did you get from Sonic Youth to rockabilly?Well, rockabilly isn't all we do here. But we tend to get coined that way. Both my husband and I were punk rockers. We grew up that way, and progressed into alternative country. He kind of turned me on to it. Here we try to keep it just music that we love. It ranges. We don't go for the rap or the industrial music, but we do a lot of rock and roll, country, and punk rock.You have two kids and two businesses. How do you make it work?Four kids then, right? I don't know. It's a lot of work, but it's like anything. I wish I'd known this when I was younger, but if you're passionate about something and you love it, you can totally do it, no matter what it takes. You just do it. And if at some point we didn't love what we did, maybe it would be a lot harder.email@seattleweekly.com

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