Some artists are down to earth and others are just going through the grind. And sometimes, just sometimes, you get a feisty, old rocker.
From the gritty badlands of Texas comes the quartet of Big Dad Ritch (vocals), John Exall (bass), Cord Pool (guitar), and Timmy Braun (drums), otherwise known as Texas Hippie Coalition. The Carved Records artists from Denison, Texas have been plying their brand of music to the masses since 2004. We got a few minutes to talk to Big Dad Ritch about Red Dirt Metal, possible new music, and the connection the band has with its fans. If anyone should have had a cameo on Dukes of Hazards, it would have to be these good ol’ boys.
NRR: Thanks for taking some time out to answer some questions for National Rock Review. What’s been going on with the band, Texas Hippie Coalition, so far in 2016?
Big Dad Ritch: Drinkin’, Smokin’ n’ hell raisin! Same as 2015!
NRR: Your last album came out in late 2014. Did Ride On do as well as you had hoped it might with your fans new and old?
Big Dad Ritch: We had a good huntin’ dog once scrawny and ugly. But he’d hunt just as hard, run as fast, and bark scent and treed just as loud as the next hound. He didn’t bring us as much money as the other dogs at auction but he was still a damn good dog… Damn good dog…
NRR: As somewhat of a follow-up question, when you hit the festival circuit this year, will we hear new material?
Big Dad Ritch: At least six songs in 75-90 min set. 30-60 min, we’ll squeeze in at least a half a set of new ones. There’s always a set list but it changes usually depending on the energy we’re receiving from the Coalition or how many moonshine swigs I’ve sipped.
NRR: How did the group come together and is it easier over time to deal with band members leaving or being asked to leave or does everyone know the odds getting into any band these days?
Big Dad Ritch: We first came together to save the universe from impending doom. After saving you all, we then decided to not only save lives but fill lives with the sound of what was never before heard. The sound that is described only as RED DIRT METAL… Band members come and go, some come back, some stay, and some stay gone. Musicians understand, all 16 members of Fleetwood Mac understand. All we are and all we have is song and the song must go on. Quitters quit, let them, there is a player out there that wants to express himself who wants his or her song heard.
NRR: We’ve recently lost a few big names in music starting with Scott Weiland and Lemmy to Bowie and Fry passing as well among others. Is longevity the dividing line between being a rock legend and a guy that lived way too fast? Did any of those very talented artists have any influence in your own careers or shared the stage with you at some point?
Big Dad Ritch: My take on the matter is that the lord in Heaven woke up and wanted to rock. Reached down and grabbed some great ones. Plenty of rockin’ on Heavens door lately for sure. Sad to see anyone gone, loved ones or heroes. For sure they will be missed. They did how ever leave us something to remember them by. The legacy lives on in the one thing that will remain and that is SONG!
NRR: With the mindset of the band being what it is, would playing behind chicken wire on a small stage to a packed bar be more rewarding then playing in front of sixty thousand in a pretty sterile Cowboy stadium setting?
Big Dad Ritch: Hell, no! Tell Jerry (Mr.Jones) we’re ARENA READY!
NRR: For a new fan listening to your sonic uniqueness for the first time, is there one or two things that you’re really proud of how it comes across and hope they hear it that way as well?
Big Dad Ritch: Nope, just shut up & listen! Teasin’… It’s Red Dirt Metal, your gonna love it or hate at it. Let the hate go, shut up and listen…
NRR: More bands seem to be doing VIP deals or like you did recently, an eat and greetwith fans before a show. Is that solely a way to help offset the expense of doing business in today’s industry or is it more to show your fans how important they are especially in today’s music industry?
Big Dad Ritch: We meet with fans after nearly every show. Sign titties and baby heads. We do Christmas Barbecues, tailgate parties, and eat-n-greets. Gives fans a chance to get closer. But what you should know about our fans they are more like family. They bring us food to nearly every show. They bring deserts [like] nana pudding, sugar free cookies, and cakes as well as ribs, enchiladas… damn I’m gettin’ hungry. The money is very little, the experience of breaking bread, saying grace, [is] priceless for us and hopefully for the family.
NRR: Is there a moment, that thinking back on it now, in the your career, with the band now, that you can’t help but still feel a tad bit embarrassed about, makes you laugh about despite yourself, or just still makes you shake your head in disbelief? A Spinal Tap moment if you will, that you’d be willing to share with me?
Big Dad Ritch: Really, we’re not afraid of embarrassing ourselves, I showed my ass on Jerry Springer. My goal in life is to have more people see my ass than your face. But in reality we must know as your readers surely do. Stupid questions often get stupid answers.
NRR: Seems I didn’t know who I was talking to, (laughing). Do the big festivals like the Carolina Rebellion and say Rock on the Range have a different feel to then that just makes them a bit more special for a band like you guys?
Big Dad Ritch: The people baby, the masses, a sea of lovers of music. It’s like main-eventing Wrestlemania, outrunning everyone at Daytona, hoisting the Stanley Cup, winning the Super Bowl… For all bands top to bottom on these bills Rock Stars or working musicians I assure the feeling is the same.
NRR: How does the group go through the writing process, is it all one person doing the lion’s share with help or is it a group effort from start to finish?
Big Dad Ritch: There is no recipe, there is only soup. Add lyrics by Big Dad Ritch. Stir in music by THC. More like a sauce than a soup.
NRR: There’s a little side project that a certain bass player has going on if I read things correctly. Any plans to ever bring them out with THC or is it better to not cross the streams, if you will?
Big Dad Ritch: When they’re touring I’ll be fishin’!
NRR: When you are out on the road playing the bigger lineup shows, are you able to be music fans still and if so who would you be excited or interested in catching live?
Big Dad Ritch: Hell, sometimes we take shows just to catch the bands on the bill. Always a fan. I would open for Clutch for a ticket any day.
NRR: Is there an unofficial official drink of choice for the band, and if so what might it be?