Monday, May 21, 2007

DBT Interview by MaddyC - Mobile, AL 4/21/07

Mornin', y'all. Welcome to a special Monday DBT post. This one has been in the works for a few weeks now and I am very proud to finally get to post this on AAW.

Our good friend MaddyC recently scored an on-bus interview with Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley while she was working with Jenn Bryant on DBT's merch booth during a show at The Soul Kitchen in Mobile, AL.

Below, you'll find Maddy's blog about the occassion mixed with a few pictures she took. At the end of the blog you'll find the interview. Maddy did a great job! Looks like we've got a rock journalist on our hands!! (I just wish my Final Cut Pro editing skills were as good as Maddy's interview skills. :-D)

Give it a read and listen and be sure to drop by Maddy's MySpace page and leave her a comment telling her how awesome she is..... and you better tell her how awesome she is... she's got several hundred big brothers and sisters who are most of the time drunk.... mean drunk... so, go tell her how awesome she is and there won't be no problems, got it?


Almost Famous

I was ten years old when I first saw Cameron Crow’s Almost Famous. Ever since that day I wanted to do what William Miller, essentially Cameron Crowe, did with the fictional band Stillwater. I wanted to hang out with rock stars. I wanted to interview them. I wanted to work in the industry. I wanted to see backstage and the tour bus. But most of all I wanted to give back to music. It’s helped me so much in the past that I figured I had to find a way to pay it forward.

Long Strange Trip

This whole long trip actually started about four weeks ago with one email. I sent one email to Jenn Bryant, of DBT web-mistress fame, to ask if she needed help selling merchandise at a festival show in south Alabama, honestly thinking that the answer was not going to be in my favor. I had absolutely no hope in what I was asking, so I guess that’s what contributed to my initial shock when the answer was not only a “yes” but a “hell yes!” I ran through my house screaming, “I’m going to work for the Truckers, Momma!! Can I go? Can I go?” Needless to say the answer from my mom was also a yes. I had a date with destiny in Mobile, AL at the Zewtopia festival. I was going to be working the merchandise booth with Jenn. It was all set into stone. But then we were hit by a pretty big blow.

News came straight from the horse’s mouth: Jason Isbell is no longer in the Drive-By Truckers. Wow. I was away for the weekend, and I came home to a multitude of emails. I was shocked, just utterly dumbfounded. I cried. But then, like all people should, I coped. I realized that I can support Jason’s solo doings just as much as I could have if he’d still been in the band. And that was that. Jason’s off doing his solo thing and the Truckers are doing just that, trucking on.

In the meantime I told everyone I knew about what I was going to be doing for Spring Break. I was working with my dream band, and in my opinion that was a hell of a lot better than any trip to the beach. When I say everyone, I mean it. But the person that got me to writing all of this right now was JPW, the author of the awesome Alabama Ass Whuppin’ Blog. He’s been a long time fan of the band and has a few more connections than I do. So he pulled some strings and greased some wheels and got me an interview with the Drive-By Truckers. Wow! JPW sent me the set of questions James Lipton asks his guests on Inside the Actor’s Studio. I thought this was awesome. I didn’t have to step on any toes asking questions about Jason Isbell and his departure or the new album or anything else mundane like that. This was amazing. I was in heaven. Dreams were coming true left and right, and I think something had to bring me back down.

The news came slowly and not to mention rather late. Zewtopia was cancelled. There was something about a miscommunication between the promoters and performers. At any rate someone wasn’t getting the money they were promised, and it was over. I was devastated until I found out that a bar in downtown Mobile had scooped up the Truckers for a show on the same night! Jenn reassured me that everything was cool. I’d still be helping her just in a different place. So the countdown began, one week. That one week was probably the longest I’ve ever experienced. I mean ever. But Friday finally rolled around, and it was time.

Going Down South

It’s a 251 mile drive from Birmingham to downtown Mobile. I drove while my mom rode shotgun. We always have the best road trips with the best soundtracks. For this one though I chose one that was heavy on The Credence Clearwater Revival, Hank Williams and some Johnny Cash. I also threw some Dexateens, Lucero, and of course the Drive-By Truckers just for good measure. It was amazing hanging out with my mom. We have this really cool relationship. And it still amazes me how much she supports my love of music and my aspirations to work in the industry. But at any rate we had three hours in the car, and that’s a very long time for a new driver. But we made it alright and at a reasonable time. We got to our hotel, a historic building in the heart of the historic and arts district of Mobile. It was beautiful. There was a “green” arts festival going on about two blocks from the club and the whole town was a buzz. We ate and then I got the call from Jenn. I was to come to the back of the club in thirty minutes to start the process.

I got to the club at about 7:30, and Jenn was waiting for me with a backstage pass and a smile! She’s as awesome and more than you hear about, I swear. But by the time I got there she’d done most of the work, counting and labeling. I just helped with the set up of the table. Then it was time to head on to the bus for my interview! It was cool. I was so afraid I would just lock up and be really shy and nervous, but I surprised myself with the confidence I had. I was Cameron Crowe. I was invincible. And I was a rock journalist for those 5 minutes I was asking questions. The interview went pretty quick, but that wasn’t the extent of my experience at all. I just sat and listened to all of the hilarious jokes and thoughtful insights that spewed out of Cooley, Patterson and the EZB. Then Shonna made an appearance. I swear she’s sweeter than apple pie all the time. I met John Neff momentarily, too. It was just cool to see them all so up close and personal like that. And I can’t forget the crew. Matt D and his mutton chops, Josh, and a few other names I can’t remember at the moment. I was a part of the crew. Working for the band, the youngest roadie in Alabama no doubt. Then it was show time. Doors opened.

The Show I’ll Never Forget

There’s one thing you have to know about Drive-By Truckers concerts: The fans are amazing, strange, and drunk people. And that’s cool with me, but I don’t think I realized the extent of all of that until I was working with Jenn. We were selling shirts left and right, and the CD’s were going like hotcakes. People who had no idea about the band were showing up just to hear some good music. The whole feeling of the crowd was good. The opening act, the Uglistick was ok, but honestly nothing to write home about. Then came the main event, eventually. The boys and Shonna left the crowd hanging for a good little time, while the guy running the house music was messing with them, too. But by the time the band came out the whole crowd was pumped! And they were ready to rock. With John Neff on guitar, the whole thing was complete. But don’t get me wrong, it was a different experience for sure. A bit rougher, a little meaner sounding than I’d ever seen live, but they all seemed happy to be grooving off of each other. The whole vibe with the crowd and the band and the music was amazing and you could feel it pulsing off the walls and possessing people who were new to the scene. Patterson was rocking harder than ever, and John Neff was really coming into his own. The encore was loud and the whole crowd was just bathing in it. I think my ears are still ringing a little bit. In all truth the best show I think I’ll ever see. And definitely the show I’ll never forget.

The Aftermath

When all the music was over the fun part came. People who knew nothing of the band before than night were buying up shirts and CD’s and the 40 Watt DVD. And I even got to make a few dreams come true with some signatures. Shonna and Patterson both came up to me after the show to ask me how I liked it. Shonna wouldn’t stop thanking me for the help. And Patterson was calling me darling and just generally giving love and thanks for what I’d done for them. I felt like a part of that band for the day. An honorary member. And that had to have been the best part. Paying it forward and the rewards and rewarding feeling that comes with that.

Jenn was amazing though. I don’t think I could ever thank her enough for the opportunity she gave me and for inviting me back sometime soon! And JPW, too. I am in debt to everyone who made this Saturday happen for me.

Thanks as always,





Anonymous said...

Great writing, lady! You put me right inside your experience, and I had a good time there too!

Anonymous said...

(J. was good enough to explain to me that I needed to use the Youtube, so I finally got to see and hear it.)

I liked the interview a lot--good questions, great answers, lots of fun.

Encore! (With questions designed by Maddy.)

The Dixie Butcher said...

We now how yet another nickname for Cooley:

"The Sheriff".

Nice job, Maddy! And thanks for the hard work, too!

AAW said...

"The Hicktown Sheriff sings this song, do-dah do-dah"

Perfect, Dixie!