Cult favourites WhiskeyDick return to the UK this March to blow minds with a double barrel blast of dreadnaught shredding and hillbilly bellowing that makes you want to knock back a shot, stand up tall, and holler “Oh-Hell-YeeHaw!”
The Fort Worth duo carry on the Texas traditions of super-powered guitar slinging and clever songwriting that make lone star music a worldwide curiosity, except Reverend Johnson will remind you more of Dimebag Darrell than Billy Gibbons and Fritz remains more lyrically akin to David Allen Coe than Robert Earl Keen.
WhiskeyDick’s live show is a true spectacle: two giant, tattooed, mean-looking dudes saunter on stage and sit down on 2 chairs, then pick up acoustic guitars and proceed to amaze everyone by generating more power than a full band by means of Fritz’s deep, rich vocals, Johnson’s unapproachable acoustic guitar heroics, and their triumphant songwriting.
It’s their approach to music and the message they carry that’s resonating with the legion of Dimebag Darrell’s fans and viewers of hit tv show ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ which has resulted in the duo’s song ‘Drunk As Hell’ fast approaching 1 MILLION views on Youtube.
WhiskeyDick release their best of album ‘Welcome To YeeHaw County’ 24th April 2015 via record label Rusty Knuckles. We spoke to Fritz ahead of their forthcoming UK Tour.
MJ: Welcome to the Classic Rock Show, Fritz. How on earth does a name like WhiskeyDick come about, firstly?
F: Thank you. Man, I appreciate it. Yeah the band name. Well, we kind of did some drinking a couple of nights in a row and we were playing some shows and didn’t really have a band name, this was about ten years ago, a little more than ten years ago, actually, and after one night of the heavy drunken debauchery, we had a couple of names floating around in our heads and we knew we liked whiskey, and we were on our way to a show, actually, and I was sitting in the back seat of the vehicle and it just kind of hit me and I blurted it out real loud as we were going down the road. And actually Reverend Johnson (Whiskeydisck’s lead guitarist) wasn’t really happy, didn’t really like the name right off the bat, but kind of stuck after a couple of minutes and then kind of I called the venue right then and said we’re coming, we’re ready to play, and we’re Whiskey Dick and it just kind of stuck. And here we are ten years later with the same band name.
MJ: We’re talking via Skype and I can’t help noticing a poster behind you of the big man himself Hank Williams. I guess you are a big fan of Hank and of country music in general. I dare say there’s a Doc Watson photo or poster somewhere in the Fritz household.
F: Yeah, there is one out in the studio somewhere. This is a gift. I am a huge fan of the [Hank Williams] Senior and we come from metal roots but we always loved our Country [music] that we’ve grown up with and it’s kind of a way of life around here, where we’re from, so kind of born and bred into it.
F: I tell you, I’m very heavily influenced in the old country stuff, Hank Williams and Waylon Jennings, and I think a lot of it comes from growing up and listening to the music on old vinyl records. Wasn’t just the old country, but it was Allman Brothers and Bob Dylan and a whole slew of amazing artists growing up. And I think that my vocal range was more in that register, you know, with the way I have a very low twang, I guess, I think I mumble, [laughs] but the old sound and kind of really honed in on that. So I try to surround myself with all of the music that I’ve been influenced by my whole life. My writing style and all that stuff and taking shape and mould it into my own. But there’s always a little piece of Hank Senior in my head and Waylon Jennings floating around there too. Heavily influenced by those guys and the way they lived, they lived their music. So that’s what me and Reverend do. We live every minute of it. So, the night I spoke it and it kind of goes hand in hand.
MJ: You share song writing duties?
F: Yeah. The way we write, you know, we take life experiences that we’ve lived through, you know, and take them and sometimes alter them a little bit so they don’t sound so drab or anything. But you know, things that we’ve lived through and come out alive still, are amazing, some of the stuff that we’ve gone through and try to take some of that and use it to our advantage and our music. And I think that’s another reason why when we play live it’s more of an emotional thing for us because we’re really tapping into some stuff that we’ve been through all together and being apart and being together we’ve gone through a lot of stuff. And to me, real good soul music, music from the soul, is good for the soul. And we try to incorporate that as much as we can in our music. Because I mean it’s all we do. We live it and then we write about it. You know? That’s the way they did it back in the old days.
MJ: “Drunk as Hell” written some few years ago now, has really came to prominence on the back of having been on the soundtrack to “Sons of Anarchy” episode. For a two-piece band to get a song on a mainstream TV show, tell us about how you felt the reaction yourselves?
F: You know, it’s still kind of shocking. Just for them to even contact us and want to use our music was mind-blowing to us! We’re just two dudes and you know for someone, for anybody, for that matter, to take something that we’ve written from in here in our souls and our hearts and actually like it enough to want to use it for a show was, we were floored by that, you know. We’ve always been a two-piece and so it’s just the two of us and kind of look at each other like, wow! [laughs] I don’t think some of it has even set in all the way yet, you know, all together, how far we’ve come and just doing it with hard work and lots of hard work and sticking with it. And fighting through whatever it is that comes our way and got to overcome all of that stuff. So I think as a two-piece we’ve been able to do that pretty successfully.
F: We try to mix it up and do a little bit off of every album. We’re doing a lot of songs, like I think four songs and five songs in our set from our Drunk as Hell album which is our third release that we released in 2010 and “Drunk as Hell” is actually the title track of the album. So, that one we always try to incorporate in our set just because it’s fun to play and the people seem to really like it and relate to it. We have a couple new songs off of the Devil’s Boots album that we’ve really been playing live a lot, “Yee-Haw” is one of them and it’s another acoustic metal kind of feel to it, over here in the States we call it like a Southern Metal groove kind of song. There are some songs from our Wicked Roots album which is our fourth release that we released in 2012 and that was more of an acoustic-driven song. There’s no distortion or anything on that whole album. “Murder Love Song” is one, “Mountain Town,” from the First Class White Trash album. And we do “Train Riding and Gun Totin’” [laughs] and that one is always good because it gets everyone moving and wanting to drink some beers with us. So we try to mix it up a little bit. This tour we have got a compilation album that we’re putting out called ‘Welcome To YeeHaw County’, only released over in the UK and it’s 13 songs and I believe we’ve got at least 3 songs from each album. So we’ve been playing a lot of those songs, too. We’ve got some old songs that we’re going to pull out that we haven’t played even in the States in a while and as we realised the other day, as of right now we’ve got 74 original songs so we’re trying to weed through them all and pick out the ones that we really want to focus on and play them to the best of our abilities.
MJ: You were over here in August/September last year . What are you looking forward to most when you come back to the UK?
F: We’re really looking forward to getting back over there and playing some music and meeting the people and having a good time. It’s what it’s really all about, you know? We’ve had a boost of fans from our last tour online and stuff and a bunch of them are planning to come out to a lot of the shows and we’re just really looking forward to meeting the people and playing and putting on a good show for them and really kind of putting our foot down and saying here we are, we hope you like us, and let’s have a beer. That’s the goal of ours, to frequent over there and tour over there as much as we can. It’s a new area and we’ve been touring the States here for almost the last five years pretty much non-stop. And it’s a whole other world over there. The first time we went over we absolutely fell in love with everything about it. So we’re really looking forward to getting back over there and putting on some good shows and having a good time with everybody and raise a little hell.
MJ: Great to finally hook up with you Fritz. Good luck with the UK Tour and the compilation album
F: Yeah, I believe we’re playing, we haven’t really set everything in stone yet but we’re already trying to come back in the fall.
F: Just want to thank you for having me on and really, really appreciate it and we’re looking forward to getting over there and playing some good ole southern acoustic metal/country hillbilly yee-haw music. We are going to have a lot of new merchandise with us on this tour. Some hats, some shirts coming with us and some of the new compilation album which we’re really happy about. Just looking forward to getting over there and doing out thing, man. And like I said I really appreciate you having me on, MJ.