The clubs of Austin, TX, proved to be fertile ground in the 1990s for bands with eclectic musical influences, but the Bad Livers may have been the least-categorizable ensemble of all. The trio's recorded songs ran the gamut from traditional folk and bluegrass to blues, early rock & roll, punk rock, and eventually even trance music. At the height of their long touring career it was possible to hear music by the Carter Family, Iggy Pop, Monk, Mississippi John Hurt, the Misfits, and Slayer, all in the course of one concert set. They tapped into a base of music fans who could appreciate a mongrelized music, but the later stages of their career showed that "Americana" could be a musical category as confining as any other; the band's increasingly experimental outlook resonated only intermittently with the preferences of fans of traditional music. The Bad Livers' instrumentation was unique within the pop/rock realm: lead singer Danny Barnes played banjo, guitar, and resonator guitar; Mark Rubin played bass and tuba; and in late 1996 the two were joined by Bob Grant on mandolin, guitar, and tenor banjo. Grant replaced Ralph White, who played fiddle and Cajun and Mexican accordion with the trio.