(From an interview with Mark Bryan of Hootie and the Blowfish)
In 1990 or 1991 my band, Hootie and the Blowfish, was together and touring around the clubs around the southeast on the weekends. And I got a tip from one of my college DJ buddies that the drummer from Dash Rip Rock was coming in to play at the club in town in Columbia with his new band, Cowboy Mouth. So I went out to see them. That was on a Sunday or Monday night or something like that.
It was me, the guy who told me about the show, and one other person. And they played like they were playing in front of 3,000 people in a big club. They killed it. Fred was climbing around the club. They absolutely blew me away.
So I asked if they wanted to come open for us the next night in Wilmington at The Mad Monk. And they did. There were 33 people there that night. And again, opening for us, they still played like they were at Wembly Stadium. And Darius Rucker was like, “I never want them to open for us again. I’ll never play AFTER Fred again.” But he of course did. They just absolutely blew me away from the moment I saw them live. I must have seen them over 100 times since then. - Mark Bryan
(photo L-R: Mark, Fred, Harry Shearer)
It's OFFICIAL! Client Rich Redmond (studio and touring drummer for Jason Aldean) is having his 2nd Annual "Rich Redmond's CRASH Course for Success - Drummer Weekend" Oct 31-Nov 2nd, 2014 in Nashville! 72 hours of immersive education, workshops, a rhythm section to perform with daily, LOTS of door prizes, special guests (TBA ASAP) and a chance to perform at a famed Nashville nightclub on the final evening. You will be treated to daily catered meals and the chance to mingle with your drumming heroes. Email: Josh.Mighell@gmail.com for info and to register. To ensure a quality experience for everyone, we are strictly limiting attendance. Reserve your spot soon because these slots will go FAST.
“What sticks out in your mind the most about the recording of the album ‘Sports’?”
Actually what stands out the most is the amount we spent on swordfish. At the end of that session we had a $7,000 swordfish bill. When we were overdubbing at The Record Plant (in Sausalito), every night we would order six or seven or eight swordfish dinners. I don’t know. We ate tons of swordfish. So good.
I was shadowing Cowboy Mouth as they played three shows in two days. First it was Jazz Fest in New Orleans on Friday afternoon, then a concert at Republic in NOLA that night, and finally a show in Biloxi on Saturday.
Backstage at Republic before the show, I mentioned to drummer and lead singer Fred LeBlanc that I was probably not going to take pictures that night. I had gotten some great shots at Jazz Fest and would be shooting them the next night in Mississippi. At the time Fred just nodded and said OK. I later found out that he decided this was a challenge.
The band was maybe halfway through their set when I ran to get my camera. The audience was jumping, singing, laughing, shouting … sometimes simultaneously. Eventually, at Fred’s urging, they climbed over the front barricade and pressed up against the stage, stretching their arms in front of them to seemingly try and grab the energy that was coming from the band.
At the end of the show Fred stepped off the stage. He was dripping with sweat. On his way to the greenroom he paused, smiled at me and said, “I see you’ve got your camera out.”
You win again, Mr. LeBlanc.
“Your switch to traditional grip. You have a very in depth blog analysis of this.”
It’s a hard thing to write about. Because it’s subjective, when I’m talking about the reasons why.
Matched always felt tight to me. You know what I mean? I played 28 years matched not really knowing any better. That’s just kind of how I grew up playing. But as my senses kind of became more acute and I started paying attention to movement and economy of motion, I started to look at the things that are holding me back a little bit. And that brought me to the grip. I started realizing that matched was getting in my way a little bit. Not only that, but I felt kind of tight. And even though I couldn't play (that way yet), when I held the sticks with traditional grip, I felt this openness kind of take over.
And then the other thing I noticed, as far as timing, match is a very linear movement. And I really try to place all of my note attacks purposefully. It’s almost like archery. You’re hitting a red dot in the center. The red dot’s this big, so you don’t have to hit the center of the center. You have a little wiggle room. But since I’m trying to hit it exactly where I want it each time, I noticed that with match it’s so economical and linear that the note would get there kind of before my brain wanted it to. So I almost needed the distance that the stick traveled to take longer. And traditional has that sort of rounded path to it. It’s not as linear. It’s like a backhand in tennis. It’s kind of a half-circle. Ben Sesar New Drums
(Talking with drummer AD Adams of Louis Prima Jr and the Witnesses about their new album, "Blow".)
The other meaningful moment (while recording the new album) was when I was laying the drum track down to "That's My Home".
While tape was rolling, and I was actually laying the track down, I SWEAR I could feel the presence of Louis Prima (the elder)! In my head, I could hear his voice, offering words of encouragement: "Thatta boy!" "You got this, kid!" "Yeaahhhh, that's real nice.. "!!
I nailed the track in one take. When I got up from my kit, I was bathing in my own teardrops. My snare drum was wet, my eyes were swollen, and my cheeks were streaked where the tears had been rolling down my face.
I walked into the control room to absolute silence, as all eyes were upon me. Louis was grinning ear to ear. "What d'ya think?" he asked. At that point I just broke down completely! We all knew it had been NAILED!!! I was spent!
Trembling and sobbing, I excused myself to the upstairs lounge for some "recovery" time.
I felt compelled to call my mother for some reason ... maybe just to share this powerful moment with the one who drove me to drum lessons all those years ago. As soon as she answered, she could hear the trembling in my voice and asked me if I was OK ...
"Yeah, Mom ... I sure am ... and thank you for everything!"
A half hour later, I was still visibly shaking. - AD
I first met John Thomas Griffith at a club called Ziggy's in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in 2011. At that point I had been working with the band for only a month or so. We hung out before the show so I could interview him for content for social media and their website. This also became a get-to-know you session. Among other things, I talked about our son, Max, who is a special needs child, and how he plays in a baseball league for kids with special needs called The Miracle League of the Triangle.
John Thomas said, “Wait here a second.” And he left the room. He came back holding a small, wooden bat. A big baseball fan, John Thomas had just taken a tour of the Louisville Slugger factory and got a mini-bat as a souvenir.
He said, “I want Max to have this.”
During the show that night he introduced “Everybody Loves Jill” by saying, “He isn't here tonight, but his parents are. This is for a kid named Max who likes the color red.”
There are a number of egotistical, high-maintenance people in the music business. John Thomas Griffith is not one of them. He and the rest of the Cowboy Mouth organization have class and heart.
On Tuesday night, August 12th, I am speaking to the Social Media Marketing Raleigh Meetup group in Raleigh, NC. I'll be explaining what I do for my clients to help increase their social media numbers and overall fan engagement and how these same techniques can be used by individuals, organizations, companies, etc. As of this writing, there are five spots left. You can reserve one at the Meetup page.
This graph shows the post reach on Facebook for a new client when I started work with them. I am happy to say that you can see a difference between when the previous company was handling their social media and when I took over. Even better, the band's management and fans noticed and have been enthusiastic about the change. At this event I will talk about what I did differently from my predecessor and how you can implement these same strategies regardless of your business.
Last week I had my first in-person meeting with client Kim Wilson of The Fabulous Thunderbirds. What was supposed to be a 15 - 20 minute conversation became a discussion / interview lasting over an hour. Text and / or video clips from that will be posted soon on the social media properties for the band as well as those of Bands To Fans.
One surprise from the discussion: Kim is restoring old guitar amplifiers. Some he keeps for personal use and some he sells. He said that, although there have been many advances in the world of music technology, modern amps just do not have the same quality of sound as the ones made 40 or more years ago.
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See the full list of Bands To Fans interviews