CC Adcock, Keith Frank and more punch up an unexpected Road House remake

Muscular guy with open shirt
Jake Gyllenhaal stars in the Amazon/MGM remake of Road House Photo courtesy Amazon/MGM

In cinematic history, the juke-joint showdown has its iconic moments. John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd’s Blues Brothers absorbed shattered beer-bottle shards behind chicken wire at a country bar by daring to do the Spencer Davis Group’s R&B rave up “Gimme Some Lovin.”

A decade later, teenaged Charlie Sexton belted out John Hiatt’s “Tennessee Plates” while Geena Davis’ barroom predator sleazed his way to the wrong end of a parking-lot bullet from Susan Sarandon in Thelma and Louise

Then there’s the campy 1989 Patrick Swayze vehicle Road House, where Jeff Healey choogled through Creedence’s “Travelin’ Band” while Patrick Swayze laid waste to corrupt townies at the Double Deuce Bar.

Add an improbable entrant to the canon: Lafayette’s C.C. Adcock and the Lafayette Marquis throwing down the new original “Poke Chop” while MMA villain Conor McGregor goes mano a mano with star Jake Gyllenhaal in an unexpected new remake of Swayze’s Road House.

“We went down to shoot in the Dominican Republic, usually shooting from like 7 at night until 7 in the morning,” says Adcock. “It’s the final scene, the big bar fight, and there’s hundreds of people on set, because there’s dozens and dozens of coordinated stunts, there’s knives, and a guy coming through the ceiling on fire, and a boat coming through the back of the stage, just crazy stuff going on. It takes hours to block out and rehearse in slow motion to make sure everyone knows what they’re doing and everything’s well coordinated and no one gets hurt. After four hours of waiting and rehearsing we started shooting, and everyone on set clapped when it was over, because we got the first take off smoothly.” 

Man rips through chicken wire while a musician plays on stage
Conor McGregor, the “Road House” remake villain, rips through chicken wire while CC Adcock and the Lafayette Marquis perform.

It isn’t Adcock’s first foray into Hollywood. He’s amassed a TV and film résumé that includes work on HBO’s In True Blood and Treme, as well as Matthew McConaughey’s Killer Joe. The Road House gig came Adcock’s way via Randall Poster, a venerated music supervisor whose credits include Skyfall and the iconic School of Rock. (In outtakes from School of Rock, Jack Black and the cast filmed a heartfelt plea to Led Zeppelin’s surviving members to grant them a license to use Zep’s “Immigrant Song” in a pivotal scene.) 

“Imagine negotiating for something that they know you have to have,” says Adcock. “The way the music game works in movies is as music supervisor; it’s a two-tiered job.You have to be creative and help the director with the scenes by putting in cool music and DJing the film, essentially, but then you have to have the relationships with the publishers and the writers and the record companies to go out and secure licenses, on not only the composition but the master (recording). If you have “Jambalaya,” which version of “Jambalaya”? You’ve got to get in touch with Hank Williams’ estate to get “Jambalaya,” but do you want the Rodney Crowell version or the Misfits version? You gotta figure out a way to get those rights and negotiate that.”

Adcock’s experience and connections on that front helped give Road House a Gulf Coast dance hall soundtrack. Rockin’ Dopsie Jr. & the Zydeco Twisters landed three performances, including a version of Lil’ Bob & the Lollipops’ South Louisiana anthem “I Got Loaded.” 

Adcock’s frequent collaborator and duet partner Tommy McLain recorded a new version of his mainstay “Jukebox Songs,” as well as a fresh take on the Bobby Charles/Fats Domino/Dave Bartholomew classic “Before I Grow Too Old.” 

“Randall Poster was insistent on staying true to the roadhouse vibe,” says Adcock, “and using real songs by real people who’ve played real roadhouses.” 

That’s where “Poke Chop” comes in. It’s a co-write with Keith Frank, with the song’s insistent hook based off an accordion riff Adcock first heard Frank play at Hamilton’s in the ‘90s. Add a shot of Adcock’s tremolo, a Bo Diddley beat and a nonsensical chorus in the tradition of “Louie Louie,” and it’s the perfect groove for Road House’s signature melee. 

Lurking underneath the surface for good measure is the subtle subplot of Adcock being a stand-in for MMA champion and local hero Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier, who broke Conor McGregor’s leg one minute into their 2021 rematch. McGregor notoriously implied he was going to literally kill Poirier in that fight, and the war of words between the pair rages on. (When word of McGregor bulking up for his Road House role leaked, Poirier tauntingly tweeted at McGregor, “You done filming Roid House and ready to get slapped around again?”)

Give a close listen to “Poke Chop”’s insistent chorus, and here’s the story:

One shot for my get-on boy [Poirier]
Poke Chop [McGregor], he got hot
Two shots [Poirier’s two KOs of Macgregor] for my get on boy
Poke Chop he got dropped

Adcock’s swagger has always made him a bit of a rhyming trickster and rock ‘n’ roll pugilist, and the trash talk only escalates, with lines like “Poke Chop’s a bit thick,” “Poke Chop, he ain’t tricks” (Dublin slang meaning “he ain’t happening”), “Poke Chop, he got split,” “What’s up with Poke Chop?” and the repeating “Poke Chop got dropped.” 

No spoilers, but perhaps hearing that song helped McGregor get into Road House character, especially when the scene calls for him to swing a golf club in Adcock’s direction. 

“If I was smart, I would have let him hit me,” jokes Adcock, “because then I’d get an attorney and make millions, but the only problem is I’d be rich while needing a feeding tube.”

Despite its campy premise, the movie’s principals felt they had a hit on their hands — and the increased stakes helped spark multiple controversies. Road House Director Doug Liman was so incensed by Amazon Studios’ decision to nix an official theatrical release that he boycotted the premiere. Road House’s original screenwriter also filed a lawsuit claiming that in order to meet its deadlines, Amazon used artificial intelligence to mimic the actors’ voices. (Amazon denies the charge and is fighting the lawsuit.) 

Adcock, meanwhile, has questions of his own on whether A.I. was used for parts of the soundtrack. Early cuts of the movie had multiple Adcock compositions that vanished in the final version, replaced by sections that sound like his work. “Now it’s like me with more of an AC/DC beat sung by Louis Armstrong, things I can’t do,” he says. “I don’t mind losing out to another human being, another artist, but when it’s done by a machine, it feels really sinister,” he continues. “Three months ago people thought I was cuckoo when I talked about this, but the genie’s out of the bottle, and you better get yourself a genie.”

One wish was unequivocally granted: Road House is a hit. It was the No. 1 movie in the country for multiple weeks on Amazon Prime and has now racked up more than 50 million streams. 

What do those numbers mean for Adcock? “I don’t know what the metric is or what that looks like,” he says. “If I get 100,000 streams of ‘Poke Chop,’ that’s $300. If I get to a million, that’s $3,000. If I’d sold a million 45s back in the day, I’d be a millionaire. Now I hope I at least make enough to go to Ruth’s Chris a couple of times.” 

The film’s greatest impact for Adcock was its role in rekindling his love for his longtime band, the Lafayette Marquis. Auditions for the movie included a long weekend session in New Orleans, where the ensemble ran through multiple originals and covers, all live in one take. Adcock is notoriously obsessive in the recording studio — it’s been 10 years since his last solo album and 20 years since his debut — and those cuts fueled a renaissance of sorts. He now has a new album in the can, set for release later this year. 

“The only thing we’re doing is stripping it back further,” Adcock says. “It’s just a couple of guitars, drums, upright bass and a vocal. It’s the formula for some of my all-time favorite records, old Stones and AC/DC and Van Halen records. The less you have in the mix, the more powerful and loud it is. In a world that’s trickier and more complex, just make it simple like the birth of rock and roll and ’50s R&B. A catchy idea and a good performance, and we’re done. Hollywood and doing Road House is a way to pay for my rock ‘n’ roll habit.”