You can laugh at Hank Card of the ever-popular Austin Lounge Lizards if you want, but don't judge him.
That's his job.
"I think one of the reasons we've made it so long is because we never tried to make [the band] our one and only career. Because of that, we could take it a little less seriously and have more fun with it," says Card, who will be performing the group's wacky blend of bluegrass, country and comedy with his fellow Lizards on Friday at Fort Worth's McDavid Studio.
In Card's case, that other career is his job as an administrative law judge for the State of Texas.
"We clear cases for other state agencies -- licensing cases like insurance agent's licenses, driver's licenses or electrician's. We do rate cases for utilities and ...," he says, continuing long after my eyes had glazed over, rendering me incapable of taking notes.
So Card's day job is as serious as his band, which has been entertaining audiences across the country for more than 30 years, is frivolous. Consider, for instance, that that man with the gavel in his hand is the author or co-author of numerous beloved Lizards songs that bear titles like Jesus Loves Me (But He Can't Stand You), Strange Noises in the Dark and the title track from the band's 2006 album, The Drugs I Need.
But as different as his two professions are, they do occasionally intersect.
"Every once in a while, someone in court will say, 'I've seen you somewhere else,'" says the singer-guitarist, who is one of the founding members of the group that also includes Conrad Deisler (guitar, mandolin and vocals), Darcie Deaville (fiddle, mandolin and vocals) and Bruce Jones (bass and vocals).
On Friday, fans can expect to hear a set of old favorites sprinkled with a few new ones from the group's next album, Home and Deranged, which Card said is scheduled to be released in late April.
Says Card, summing up the Austin Lounge Lizards experience for both band and audience: "Conrad and I still enjoy songwriting and creating new stuff, like on this new album. It's fun."