What better way to send summer off than with a song about a legendary BBQ joint that hosts great live music, good eats, and plenty of Friday night controlled chaos? Sometimes the catchiest, most memorable, and overall fun songs come from a fairly simple concept. With today’s premiere, delivered by none other than The Helltones, we are blessed with all the above and then some! Grab yourself a plate, pull up a chair, and dig right in to “Black Star Pirate BBQ” immediately!

A simple, head-bobbin’, dance-worthy jingle, “Black Star Pirate BBQ” tells the story of what is quoted to be ‘the greatest secret BBQ spot in the Bay Area‘, by way of an unofficial advertisement sing-along. Sadly now defunct, the restaurant could have cooked up one hell of a commercial with this track. The surfy, slap-reverb guitars, the beachy drum beats, and the absolutely bluesy feel of the vocal melodies (both main and back-ups) make this track both an easy listen as well as one you’ll repeat a few times and likely find yourself whistling the tune to afterward. If I had to guess, this song alone could even inspire the owners of the secret BBQ spot to reopen, given the energy of the song is about as alluring as the tasty meals once served within the establishment likely were as well.

A good blues song always has its seductive factors about it, and there’s plenty to go around in the way of tantalizing vibes found from start to finish with this number. Admittedly, the more I listen, the more I find myself browsing what good BBQ spot nearest me is still open. Would probably go grab at this very moment, but don’t want to get sauce all over the keyboard as I type this premiere. But nonetheless, I congratulate you for creating such a subliminal jam of three minutes and sixteen seconds, Helltones! Stone Cold Steve Austin would be proud.

Set to soon release their upcoming album, MedusaThe Helltones invite us to the table with this single, sure to give only an appetizing taste of the main course to come thereafter. The band gives us some insight on the song’s origins and backstory of both the legendary BBQ spot in question, as well as some of the inspiration behind Medusa:

Black Star Pirate BBQ was an incredible secret BBQ spot, known only to the coolest of cats. For anyone not familiar with Bay Area geography, on the far north western corner of the East Bay there’s a city called Richmond which is situated on the intersection of the west-facing coast of Berkeley/Albany and the north-facing coast of the San Pablo Bay, a body of water north of and attached to the San Francisco Bay. At the point of this corner of land, there’s a sort of wilderness where no one lives, it’s mostly eucalyptus forest and an abandoned naval fort. If you continued driving past the fort and over a couple hills you came upon a tiny bay with a dock, a farm, and a couple houseboats. At the center of this little community was the Black Star Pirate BBQ, a fantastically weird, fabulously decorated, half indoor half outdoor restaurant with a vintage clothing store next door, owned and operated by long time restaurateur/madman Tony Carracci.

Speaking on personal experiences the band had performing at the restaurant, as well as what really began the groundwork for the song:

They had an outdoor stage and we played a ton of shows there over the summer of 2021 and 2022, and it was always such a good time. One night our drummer Cairo was like, ‘guys I got an idea for a song‘, it’s like, ‘I know a place in town where the mood is just right, the sun’s always shining and the bands are outta sight, the Black Star Pirate BBQ‘, and without rehearsing at all the band just responded, ‘down at the black star pirate BBQ!’ And thus, the song was born. The place got priced out eventually, which I think gives the song added poignancy and makes it an even more accurate representation of life in the Bay Area.

So what are you waiting for? You may have missed your chance to eat at the Black Star Pirate BBQ, but you surely haven’t missed your chance to sing along with The Helltones and be a part of the party! Be sure to follow The Helltones via their Facebook and Instagram, and keep on the lookout for the release of Medusa via their Bandcamp! The surf-soul-rock’n’roll collective is always open for business!



Easygoing weirdo with a love for life, music, art, culture, outdoors, meeting new people, seeing new places, and trying new things. Oh yeah, and I guess I never shut up about the things I love, too. That’s a quality!