Hello out there in Hurricane Highway land - hopefully you are having a good week. If not the weekend is almost here and there is plenty of cool live music to check out. One of the bands coming to town this Friday is The Damn Quails. When the guys came through last month to CountyLine Barbecue I had the chance to meet with them. I had so much fun at that show, these guys put on one of the best shows you will see. Part country, bluegrass, blues, americana; There is a something for everyone. Bryon White one of the members of this ensemble crew was nice enough to take part in this weeks Q and A. The first time I heard their cd Down The Hatch I listened to it and thought it kept getting better and better with each song. In fact I think I played it all day in my office, making anyone who came in listen to it. Take a minute to listen to some of the videos I posted and read the interview. Come out to Hooligan's in Live Oak this Friday to see the guys.Roadside Libby is opening up the show. I wonder if I can convince them they need a tambourine player/blogger to go on the road with them. I
For those that might not be familiar with the band, who are The Damn Quails? We're a band that began as a two man singer/songwriter duo that evolved into a 7 or 8 or 9 piece group (depending on the show) of some really talented and driven musicians.
How did the band come together? Gabriel and I started out playing 3 weekly song swap shows and weekend gigs as an acoustic duo around Norman and OKC. One of those shows took place at the Deli on Campus Corner in Norman and is the only one we've kept throughout our career to this point. Biggie and Jon Knudson were some of the first musicians to start brining instruments up every Monday and following along to our mostly original set. Before we knew it, we had some of the hottest players in Norman backing us up every week and working out arrangements in front of an audience that would eventually become "Down the Hatch"
You guys have some upcoming gigs here in San Antonio and New Braunfels in May. What other gigs do you have coming up that you want to brag about? We're going to be at Gruene Hall on July 4th and Billy Bob's on July 5th, both of which are great venues for us. I love playing south Texas for a lot of reasons, especially since I'm a San Antonio resident myself now. We've got shows in Austin at Antones May 09, in Live Oak at Hooligans May 10th and River Road Icehouse in New Braunfels on May 25th as well, so there's lots of chances coming up to catch a show in south Texas.
What does the rest of 2013 hold in store for the quails? We're correctly getting some business taken care of but were planning on doing some tracking on a new record this summer and keeping up an intense touring schedule from South Texas to Minnesota.
I am sure you have had the chance to play some pretty cool venues? Is there a favorite one ya'll like to play? We've played some really incredible places and its impossible to choose. Opening for Robert Earl Keene at Stubbs in Austin was a pretty memorable venue, as well as Antone's in Austin, Joe's in Chicago, the Granada Theater in Lawrence, Greune Hall, Billy Bob's, the list goes on....
What bands or musicians do you listen to? I have a pretty varied taste in music and have played in bands of several different genres. John Fullbright's "From the Ground Up" is one of my favorite albums and rarely leaves my playlist for very long. I've also been listening to Matt Pryor's solo albums as well as his band The Get Up Kids, some old Tom Waits from the Island years, Adam Carroll's Live at Flipnotics, the new Turnpike Troubadours, old Wilco, Woody Guthrie, George Jones, Buck Owens...
When ya'll played at county line a few weeks back you played new stuff. What is the process for you guys to decide what you will release as a quails song? We don't really have one. Gabriel and I write the tunes and play them in hotel rooms or during sound check until the band is familiar enough to start playing them live. If a song works in front of a crowd, there's a good chance its going to work on the record.
Tell me the funniest road story you have? There's way too many. Shaving biggie's beard and tossing around a bunch of fake blood we got from McClure behind Billy Bob's and getting the CSI called on us is definitely a contender.
If you weren't playing music, what would you be doing? I've worked a whole lot of jobs and have a college degree, but playing music is the only thing I've ever had a passion for. It's all I ever want to do for a living in one way or another.
Best piece of advice you have ever been given. Don't let 'em see you sweat, sweaty dude. -McClure
If you had to explain what type of music you guys play, how would you describe it? Folk/Americana is about as close as I can get. Frankly, I have no idea.
If you could plan your own festival, who would you pick to play it? As many of our friends and road pals as I could pack in it, including the younger generation of folks coming out of the Norman area right now. Parker Milsap and Mike Rose, Camille Harp, Kierston White, John Calvin, lots more.
Since everyone was a startup once, can you give any smaller or local bands looking to get gigs and airplay some tips Find an independently owned bar with some cool and open minded proprietors, set up a weekly gig, and promote the hell out of it until you get a dedicated crowd that digs what you do. If you can keep people's interest and get a loyal fan base, you've won half the battle.