Chuck’s Wagon Drum To New Beat

Chuck’s Wagon Drum To New Beat


Country rock band Chuck’s Wagon has announced renowned studio, touring and drum manufacturer Dave Sleishman, will fill in behind the kit for this weekends gig at the Sydney University, Rock N Roll & Alternative Market – 12noon Sunday December 2.

In a major coup for the band; Dave a 2nd generation drummer, has more than 25 years experience in all genres of this craft and when not performing with country music award winning artists including Luke O’Shea, currently runs the Sleishman Drum Company, founded in 1978 by his pioneering father Don.

Some of the best musicians in the world have embraced Sleishman Drums including Roger Taylor from Queen who has been playing their revolutionary kits since 1993, whilst the company also supplied Ben Elton and Brian May with a kit for Queen’s smash hit musical “We Will Rock You”

Chuck’s Wagon lead-singer Chuck Stokes, said the addition of such a highly professional drummer like Dave to the band’s backline at such short notice following last weekends departure of Simon Wale, was indicative of just how gifted Dave is and Sunday’s show is absolutely one fans should not miss.

Chuck’s Wagon has just released their latest studio album “I Play Country” and returned from touring the US before playing the market, then gearing up for a domestic tour of New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland prior to next years Tamworth Country Music Festival.

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Chuck’s Wagon Change Lineup



Australian country rock band Chuck’s Wagon has announced the departure of their drummer, Simon ‘spoons’ Wale, following the completion of their sixth highly successful tour of the United States.

Wale, a flamboyant backline heavy hitter had been a prominent feature of Chuck’s Wagon for several years and toured internationally twice with them, whilst also featuring on their new album and CMC film clip, I Play Country.

Always a crowd favourite, the drummer gained notoriety and his nickname after playing a show in a Colorado biker bar, using kitchen salad utensils after their roadie left his drum sticks behind in another city.

Chuck’s Wagon lead singer- songwriter, Chuck Stokes said that in the lead up to Tamworth 2013, the band faced the arduous task of finding a replacement drummer, but ‘The Wagon’ would roll on as they continued the transition from outlaws to a mainstream country band.

Stokes said the new album and title track, I Play Country was now getting solid airplay in the US heartland of country music and Sydney based lead guitarist, John Wardle had mesmerised audiences abroad and was set to do the same at next years Tamworth Country Music Festival.

In recognition of their growing domestic following, Chuck’s Wagon will also feature on the festival’s band CD and are still set to tour New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland before heading into Tamworth for a week of shows that country music lovers really shouldn’t miss.

For more information, bookings and interviews, contact: or visit their website


I can’t remember when I even wrote last. What gig I got up to. It doesn’t really matter. They blur together, it’s a shame really. Places should be more memorable than that. Maybe they would the further you go up the food chain, better the transport, better the hotel, better then venue, but from what I read that does not seem to be the case.

I know we did our first three shows in San Antonio. The first show at Beethoven’s has been as good as it probably got. Good crowd, a beautiful place, and people that look forward to seeing me every year. That recipe always works, for anyone Imagine. The Barriba Cantina was fun, downtown San Antonio, playing for tourists. Not what I am into really, I like playing music for people that live here, that grew up on this music.  The Mix, Sunday night.  It is always fun at the Mix. They always smile when I walk in. “Here’s that crazy Aussie  again. Do you live here yet? “No, not yet, still thinking about it” You should move here” Yes , I know, I love it here” This has happened the last few years at least every time. Band was ok this night, rough, songs still unfamiliar. Still trying to figure each other out. Like any job people to together. Working together is the key,  that seems to be a mixture of intention, awareness and organic synchronicity. Firstly you have to want to make it work. Have the intention that you are going to connect with folks, find that place in you, that is open to meeting with that place in them, that’s open to meeting with you. If that sounds confusing, well doing seems to be just as hard. That’s why good music is a mystery .  If this doesn’t happen, then its just notes thrown together. Can be played perfectly, but if it ain’t got no soul. Ain’t got that swing, then it’s all elevator music. And the worst thing is sometimes, you can be so on it, it’s pouring out, effortlessly, everyone connected, feeling good, and then the next show, sometimes the next set, boom, gone, back to four strangers again going through the motions.

We drove to Austin to play the Legendary White Swan. Crushing, no-one showed for the first hour. Then three people showed, fortunately all fans of this band, and we played for three hours straight!, the difference one person make when they are dancing is incredible really. One moment you are just rehearsing, playing for yourself. We were filming it, and even that wasn’t motivating enough, as we were playing like shit. Then one woman walks in, starts dancing, and then we lifted three gears. Thank God, it was killing me.  Hard to fight of the thoughts “Why am I here?”” I have come all this way” “For what?” Power of positive thinking cannot hold a candle to moments like these. They’re familiar to me. If you play independent Country Music, insist on pushing the envelope, traveling making records, film clips etc, then you are going to come across wilderness occasionally. Blank stares, you are from where? “, “Why the hell ‘all playing this joint for?” It’s as though unless your famous, with record company backing, why would you possibly want to travel all this way to play to us . The thing is, this is  my grumpy old man insurance policy. When I started Chucks Wagon, it was to make sure that before I was done, that I had really had a shot. Make some records and travel. When I started , travelling was all around Australia, that was as far as I was thinking. But 5 years into Texas and six tours later, I can still wonder why we are here. But I keep coming now, to try to get on some good support tours, Randy Rogers, Charlie Robinson, open at Floores Country Store, Gruene Hall, Billy’s Ice. Get the songs heard by fans of Texas Country, as really, when it comes down to it , that’s what I am. A Texas Country Music fan. If you could get this at home, I probably wouldn’t leave home, but you cannot, nothing even close. Driving through West Texas is simply my favourite thing to do, listening to Whiskey Myers, Reckless Kelly, Micky and the Motorcars. Heaven.

We have been doing some driving this week. Seeing I am only here a short time due to Jen being home , pregnant, and looking after little Marshal, I need to get back home, so this trip, we are playing every night. This week we headed to Houston, played Cactus record’s , which was cool, sold a few records, the Australian thing drew some people in. Then we supported Mike Stinson, great Honky Tonk man, was fun to open for a talented country singer, and it was a great night. Had fun driving home at 3am taking pictures by the La Grange sign.

Then it was Ft Worth, another long drive to play  for a few people, but we had some fun, played ok, hard to keep the spirit up, then we slept at Justin’s, cool local dude that looked after us, thankyou mate for the love. I slept in the Freak Van to keep an eye on the gear, and there was not to much room left on the floor! As we couldn’t get three nights in a row, we headed back to Hunter Texas to play Riley’s Tavern, have played there for four years, and it was fun and probably the first gig were the band hit its stride, pulled back, played softer, more restrained, could here each other and the people loved it. I was grateful we played well here, because Riley’s means a lot to me. Headed back to San Antone, as we had to swap the Freak Van over for the drive back to Dallas, and the Velvet Elvis was a great Bar, and once we got past the calls for Slayer and Freebird we settled into a fairly decent night of country rock and roll. Band not bad, not great, but we did ok.

Back to Austin, an early set at the Hole in the Wall. Great venue and we had a lot of fun. The Bulls Ball bag I have been using as a tips jar has been paying off, especially since I have been introducing it as Valerie, the cross dressing Bulls Ball Bag! Told people if they rub it, kiss it and stuff money in it, that it will bring them good luck! It worked, and makes for some fun at a show to lighten the mood. After the Hole in the Wall we dropped in Antones to wind down, and relax before crashing and heading to Colorado. Great fun in such a legendary Joint.

Last night, played Midland Texas to play the Blue Max. Small crowd, great sound, awesome gig!!! Felt better there than Riley’s, and a great warm up for the Colorado shows. Good people to. Thankyou Erica for the Chilli and hospitality! Can’t wait to come back y’all.

Now it’s 9am, got four hours sleep , and it’s time to drive to Colorado. Raton Pass here we come. Pueblo tonight. Bring it on…

First Show, New Tour.

First show under the belt, amazing it’s been the fifth year playing Beethoven’s.It is such a lovely place, friendly people that shower  me with their warmth every year.Thank you for Jeff Smith from Hickiods fame for always getting us in there, and the staff at Beethoven’s for having us back each year.

Nothing is like a first show. Was great having John Duer sitting in. Three sets is a big ask for anyone to learn, but after playing with John and Kevin Wright at SXSW, I just knew electric bass was right for this tour. It has always been Tomcat Miller who played with us, and we had some awesome times on the road, but the Chucks Wagon sound is simply more electric these days. The first show always lets you know what work needs to be done the next morning. There is nothing like playing live to highlight all things unforgiving. In saying that, all in all it was a great show with a good vibe. We played a lot off the new album. Burn it down, I Prayed Today, I Play Country and Miss Texas Tonight, all sounded good. We finished on Texas, and that bought the house down. Folsom Prison and Good Hearted Woman and Working Man’s Blues were the Kings of the Covers. It felt good, that’s what matters. It’s all that matters really, especially when you along way from home, away from family, from your home. Music is funny that way. It’s a feeling, not perfection. You get the feeling right, the rest follows.

Today was spent getting things together. Amp repairs, getting pedals, leads sorted, all ready to Rock and Roll. Thanks to Johnny and Co at Rock Monster for sorting all that for us. Cool store in San Antonio. Guitars, Amps and Action Figures!

John Duer says you don’t get paid to play music, you get paid to lug gear! Sure do miss David Turner when I’m over here. He sure takes care of all things road when we are home, and he is sorely missed when I ‘m in Texas.

We hit Walmart today for clothes, jeans, western shirts, cheap as chips! Amazing what you can sort yourself out with in there. The guys hit Whataburger for lunch, but the German food at Beethoven’s is the go!

The other habit you got to get early on the road is slowing you pace to fit the crew. All in, one in takes some getting use to. Finding air to breathe , in the van, before and after shows, crashing out, it’s a skill. You have to all throw in together to get around and finding you own space in a crowd takes time, but it’s amazing watching how everyone does it there own way. Some longer than others, but every one gets there in the end.I am very grateful that Simon Wale our Drummer has mad two Texas tours now. Heart and Commitment. Having John Wardle here on guitar, well that’s the icing on the cake.John has been God’s gift to this band. I needed a smoking gun when I was going to release this record, had no idea who I was going to get , and then out of the blue, John showed up with Jason Walker to a gig. Jason went off and started a family, John joined the band. Hopefully, the rest will be history.

The only downside with the money we get, is that I couldn’t have Stephen James from San Marcos sit in. Stephen recorded a lot of the album, and he has done two tours, and a gentlemen and scholar. John and Stephen would have been a match made in heaven. Never know, might happen yet.

Tomorrow we are heading out to Bussey’s flea markets.Go there every year, always find something cool. My best score there is an old school Scorpion Belt Buckle , $ 5 bucks. Last year I paid $500 for my USA Strat I use at home.It was a cool bargain. I sure miss her right now. I played this Mexican Strat tonight  that I bought last year, but the necks not right, but as I don’t play lead, she played perfectly . Lizard Boots, 40 bucks! so who knows what we will find this year.Might even drop into the Snake Farm! Ray Wylie Hubbard sings a great tune about that place, spooky!

3.34am, time to stop writing , and try to slow down, reading No Country for Old Men on this trip. Good having a road book. Last year I was here I read a Hank Williams Bio, that was cool to.Reading brings my jumbo get of a mind to a slow decent, then it’s pass out time.

Till tomorrow my friends.




Texas or Bust

Hard to know were to start, Had so many things run through my mind, just sitting here with all this white noise. Just watched a recent Bruce Springsteen clip, and while I’m typing this listening to Neil Young. Two magnificent men, they chased it down early, relentlessly, and now have the courage to write the truth at a time when many of their peers are tirelessly reliving passing glory, and writing songs best left to twenty something’s who still believe it, Wished I had chased it down early, didn’t seem to have the courage. You would think now, sitting here heading to Texas with a new album, number four for this current adventure, and sixth trip to Texas selling my wares, that I must have found that courage. I don’t think so. I think I’m doing it cause I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t do it. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful. Chucks Wagon has gone further than I ever imagined, further than my humble western suburbs beginnings, but I never dreamt about that, I dreamt about making it big, seeing the world, being able to do it at “that” level. At my age I know it’s passed me by, but I don’t live from there. I live from it is still possible, one song, one good show, and  who knows? Just before I left I saw the final cut of our latest film clip, ready to be sent into the CMC . it looked great, I was surprised, as it was an act of God it even got made. With the expense of the album, a film clip so quickly was a pipe dream, now it’s a reality. Love it when the planets line up.

People have been asking me if this records better than Lipstick and Sin?, Am I happy with it? It is hard to tell, when you write it, it’s a clique, but you are literally to close to it , when it’s your vision. I really wanted to record it Texas, to try and capture some of that wild hospitable spirit I feel when I am there. I always loved America from when I was a kid. My Dad worked for Qantas when I was young and we made several trips there, L.A., Disneyland, Sam Francisco, Hawaii, a few times. I loved it, Club sandwiches! We got room service in San Fran, I was young, was ill, my mother ordered a ham sandwich. When it came it had an inch of ham in it, they took a picture of it! My mother simply couldn’t believe you would waste so much ham on one sandwich. I even think she pulled some of the ham off and saved it.

Hawaii as a kid was awesome, and the two times we went, I bought back skateboards better than anyone on my street, even in my school for that matter. I felt like a God. I have a strong memory of sitting on the plane the first time that we flew. My mother sat in the middle of me and my sister. I imagine we were scared, but she held both of our hands and sang leaving on a jet plane by John Denver. My mother struggled throughout my childhood with feeling low, and covering it with hot stones, but when we travelled she was happy. When she would sing, holding our hands, I felt it was all ok, just for now, and she was happy. I think it’s why I always feel happy when I fly now. Feels good to be heading somewhere other  then home. A chance for something new to blow into your life.

Now Texas is a love affair that started for me from Westerns when I was a boy. John Wayne of course, True Grit! My love of Cowboys goes back before I could remember. My mother tells me I use to rock back and forth when I was a toddler to Gene Aurty  on the T.V.  As I said, I have no memory of this, but something must of stuck. I have felt at home there, from the first moment. Colorado would have to fit into this equation to , as for the last four years we have made the long drive, and I have met some of the best people on earth there.

So here I am going back again, new record, same dream. Have a great band , and we are ready. Gigs booked, all ready to go from the first day we are there. All a warm up for Tamworth to, with this record I am hoping we get something going. Will keep y’all posted from the road.