I’ve been obsessed with Randy Rogers Band latest Live at John T Floores Country Store titled Homemade Tamales. This band over the last 10 years has gone from strength to strength and this live album is about as good as contemporary Texas Country Rock gets, I am always aware that my Hank 3 Outlaw friends might think Randy Rogers is simply heading to main stream, and it is what it is, but what it is as far as I’m concerned is first class! I chased him down a few times in my travels, saw him solo with Wade Bowen at Gruene Hall, what a magical night. I stood at his tour bus for so long as I had a copy of Texas , the Chucks Wagon song I mention him in, and his manager came at, he got Randy, we chatted as I fumbled over my words, but tried to tell him how inspired I was by him. As a result of my stalking, the sheriff got to know me, and that came in handy, as it was sold out and even my best Australian accent did not get me in , but the Sheriff took pity on me , and let me stand down the side in the no Loitering section, and I watched the show through the chicken wire, under a full Texas Moon with Randy and Wade trading songs an stories, and all the Texans singing along word for word, I was just transported, to what felt like home. It was a strange and wonderful night. I got the song Dancing with you Tonight from being right there, and it’s on Lipstick and Sin .I was travelling over there with Kinnon Holt and an ex. It was the best and worst of times, best music I ever played with Kinnon Holt, he is an Outlaw!, and the relationship, well, that’s where I got Lipstick and Sin from, everything gives you something. I might not be [laying a hell of a lot right this second, but on this Sunday Morning, with the kids playing in the background and after a great feed of fresh of the grill Pancakes, Randy Rogers is playing live on my TV, and for today, this is as close to Texas I’m goning get.!!!
Since the Bungendore Country Festival straight after Tamworth, I officially have not done a show, not including one warm up gig for the recent Warning reformation. It has been a long time between drinks. I have been hard at it with The Wagon for 7 yrs, but it just finally got to me, and I needed a break, line up changes, constant money struggles, all led to a lack of direction, confidence and motivation. With that spinning around in side of me, I just put the guitar down, and parked the Wagon in the barn for awhile. Maybe it was the sickness and death of Dad all of last year, same time as having a two year old and a newborn, who knows, but I aint been right , that’s for sure.
When my father died, there was only one man I could think of to do the funeral, and that was Greg Hirst. Greg was a man that for me and my recovery taught me that Christianity was living the principles, not just preaching them, and he was a preacher, so I was impressed. I was a lost soul, and went to the Street Level Community Church for sometime to unlearn a lot of the crap I got from Sunday school and bad High School information. I was baptised by Greg, in the sea, in the middle of winter, a moment I will never forget. I never stayed at the Church long term, I went back to Recovery and found my spirituality there, but Greg has always been in my heart. He is the president of the Brotherhood motorcycle Gang, and he is a strong advocate for Motorcyclists of all persuasion. One of the ways they got the message out was hosting the Silverwater Bike Show, and this year was it’s 20th Anniversary. Warning, my first band, a Texas inspired Blues Rock Band, played there for nearly the first 10 years in one way shape or form, and Greg asked if we would be interested in playing this one seeing it was a special event. I said I was still in touch with Pietro and Mark, and would see if they were keen. Well as it happened, they were. Pietro’s had been a Shakespearian actor and singer for the last 10 years,and Mark was playing in Cash Only, a Johnny Cash tribute band. When I put it to them, they were up for it, but a few realities has to be overcome first.
I had not played lead guitar properly, since then, I had gotten into the habit of hiring talented Gun Slingers, (best choice I have ever made!) so getting my chops up to scratch was my biggest fear. Pietro had not played drums since, and even though he had a custom made Sleishman Drum Kit, made by Don himself, it had been stored under his mothers house for 10 years, and bits needed to be found. Mark was ok, although it did take some convincing him to pull out his Leo Fender G&L basses for the occasion, he had been keeping those for his son.
At first practice we met at my place, got out the old tapes and video’s and went through them, it was fun. Hearing the raw passion and drive we had back then in our early 20’s was a good reminder of the power of a young man’s dream. We then had a bit of a jam, and even though it was fun, it was along way from where we would have to be to pull this off.When it was over my wife even asked me , “What did you think?” sort of questions! That’s when the work began. I started each night back on the pentatonic scales, sitting in front of the TV going up and down that next, building the speed, and the organic memory again. It’s like a meditation. we would meet and practice eventually taking it to a studio so we could turn it up LOUD, and it felt better and better. We had a little warm up set for friends, and it was much better than the three of us thought it could be. Our hopes were high.
As show day approached we felt as ready as we were going to be. It was only one set, it was a bike show, so I played to the Choir , (sorry about the pun!) and kept it to Stevie Ray Vaughan, Johnny Winter, ZZ Top, Rory Gallagher, Thorogood, Gary Moore, Buddy Guy, Georgia Satellites and BTO to name a few.
Bike shows are simple set ups. Stage= Back of a Truck. PA= Usually good, , bikers want it loud, and Phil (soundman) had been there for 20 years, he did us proud. Audience= They are there for the bikes and Cars, we are just back ground music, no ones claps, I learnt years ago off Bob Montgomery, lead singer and bass player for Grog and Grumble, to look at their feet, cause if their toes are tapping, then you are doing your job!. It certainly free’s you up to just shut up and play, and that’s what we did. Before we knew it , it was over. Was nice looking out and seeing my wife and boys there. Over this year, while I been taking a step back, being a Dad, is all that has really mattered, and coming home every night to this beautiful family, is a gift I get given daily. It has it’s challenges, but all in all it pumps my blood. At the end of the set, we hung around, shot the shit so to speak, and all just drove off like you do, but we had smiles on our face. Mark Andrew’s, Bass Player has been my friend since we were 16, Peter I met when I was 22 yrs old, and to just be in their company, have a laugh, and make music, loud Rock and Roll, for people who like it that way, well it doesn’t get any better than that.
Where it goes from here, who knows, but for a moment in May, we were Rocking the House, Texas Blues Style and it was fun. Thank you Greg Hirst and all the good folks at The Brotherhood. The world is a better place for you in it, and last year, when my family needed a Good man , for a good man down, there was no other name that even came close.