Can you talk about being a part of the holiday toy drive Sweetwater is sponsoring?

For me, that’s something new. I like that our band has these hopes to do these things, and to do it pretty low-key without a whole lot of giving ourselves ribbons for being part of it. Like, in the exact same event you’re taking your top off you can be making the world a better place. And, not over-patting yourself on the back for it. I love that.

Your answer suggests the band has thoughts of other ways to help.

The potential for positive energy is just abundant at shows where the crowd is as much a part of the show as the band. We’re going to tour in April, and we have this idea of our posters saying we’re going to have a concert, but also saying there is a pre-show cookout vibe. So, make food and bring food, and any homeless shelter within walking distance will know about this. It’s a genuine come-one, come-all party. And, we actually reach out to the come-one, come-all that nobody really means when they say so. And, you’ll probably get a hot dog if you’re not a dick.

There’s your slogan for the poster.

(Laughs) Yeah. You can probably get a hot dog if you’re not a dick. (Laughs). I hope we can do something like that.

For me, a concert in December is my preferred alternative celebration to the office holiday party. So I associate music with a lot of seasonal memories. Is there a music memory that you think of this time of year?

That’s a good one. I guess Elvis. When I think of Christmas, I think of Elvis, for some reason.

This December 20, as I understand it, marks the two-year anniversary of Hard Working Americans. As this is a band that kind of ebbs and flows in activity, what does this anniversary mean to you?

That’s a big one to me. I can remember, at the time, feeling sort of directionless. Out of ideas. Within about three hours of being in this band I thought, I’m going to be in music the rest of my life; noticing a billion doors opening at once. It’s everything I was hoping for, and extra.

Was there an understood prerequisite for the type of musician that makes this band work or was it just serendipitous good-fortune that you all found each other?

I think it was David and Chad (Staehly). I always credit them with how easily everybody gets along, how easy it was for everyone to songwrite. Everybody in the band seems like a songwriter to me. Duane (Trucks) maybe more than anyone, and he plays drums. He thinks about songs completely different than I ever knew how to; and it’s obsessive for me. I’ve learned so much about Col. Bruce Hampton from him. I remember there were some people whose names got thrown around, and the idea that they wouldn’t make (a good fit) was their reluctance to change.

So, then is the appeal that this is a get-away from the other bands everyone is in, or that this is a place to bring all those ideas from other places together?

For me, it’s to get away. I don’t talk, in this band. The good part for me is that I’m a big Chris Robinson fan. I’m a huge Widespread fan. Huge Col. Bruce fan. So, getting to be around guys who’ve been around that has been fun. I get to get out of being a talker- when you feel a connection to people that’s based on the alphabet. Which, to me, and I don’t mean to offend people that do what I do, is like a lower vibration that you’re connecting on. In our band, sometimes I still don’t understand where this collective acknowledgement of how well it’s going seems to come from. It surprises me. I feel like a fan in the front row when the roof leaves the place. I feel a part of, if only like a cheerleader, some serious fucking music being made. It’s like I won a contest.

What’s best about it?

My favorite part of being in the band is not being in charge, and having it well known that there is just no reason that I should ever be in charge. It’s not even, How come you never take over? It’s, No, no. Don’t. Ever. (laughs)

Pages:« Previous Page