It was amazing. We spent a little over two weeks out in Dripping Springs, TX fully submersed in the album. We meshed really well with Israel and Ted and I think it shows.
I read that the album title came from an old amusement park that some of you grew up near. I have a serious love for all things theme park. What are some of your best memories of that park before it shut down?
Yeah, Visionland was a theme park in Bessemer, AL. Despite its many, many faults there were some good times had there. The Rampage (their wooden coaster) was pretty cool when it worked.
Visionland seems likes its gone down more of a psychedelic vein than your last LP. If you all had to pick one person in the band as your spirit guide, who would it be and why?
Haha. I think we’d probably outsource that job.
Word on the street is you’ve done around 600 shows in the last three years. What effect does all that time on the road have on you personally and on the music you create?
I’d say more than that. It’s hard to say how effected I am by it. Too far in it to know, I guess. It gives you a lot of material to write about, though.
Finally, what are you all listening to in the tour van lately and who gets to control the dial?
We’ve been listening to a lot of Gerry Rafferty, Faces, Kendrick Lamar, Wu Tang, Mel Tillis, and Blaze Foley. Typically whoever is riding shotgun also DJ’s. Keeps it fresh.
1.) We see you’re recording with the good people at Dial Back Sound. What’s that experience been like?
Bronson of Dial Back Sound is the most professional sound engineer we have ever worked with. He knew just how to set us up when we started to record our second album “The Dial Back Boogie.” He took us in straight from the road when we got in late at night and said, “Alright you boys are used to playing late sets on the road so let’s get ya tracking now”… and that first night we tracked 4 songs and 3 were keepers. It was also super humbling to have Dial Back regulars like Jimbo Mathis sit in on our original song, “Major Minor Rip Off” and dig our style. Lastly Matt Patton is a really stand up guy and made sure we were set up for the experience and he even got us backstage at a Drive By Truckers show back in our home state of CA before we even set foot in Dial Back just so we can meet him and have a good time! We already recorded our next EP at Dial Back on this tour and pretty much plan to exclusively record there.
2.) When can we expect the next EP to drop? When it comes to our next EP it’s already in the mixing and mastering phase in the hands of Bronson at Dial Back. Our second album is only a few months old so we might take a little time to release this next EP but we feel like we’ve stepped up our game even more returning to Dial Back for the second time.
3.) How’s the tour going? This Manifest Destiny Tour 2017 has been a blast! It has been pretty unreal to have returning and new fans come out to our shows and actually request our original songs! We don’t get that much in CA. This is our fourth official tour and also our longest at six weeks and we could not be happier with all the turn outs. Usually we just love touring the South but adding the East Coast has been way worth it!
4.) What’s everybody’s go to gas station food?
When it comes to gas we just hit whatever is cheapest and we love our late night Waffle House trips.
5.) What’s been spinning in the van this summer?
Music in the Pope-Mobile is always on random from the phone of whoever is driving… but I’d say we play a lot of Road Kings, Legendary Shack Shakers, Hank III, and Reverend Horton Heat… and the occasional Unknown Hinson singalong!
Interview: Extension Cord | Live photos: Frank Martinelli
1.) You just played a gig at Club Garibaldi in Milwaukee. How’d you like the city? Honestly, it was our favorite city on the Midwest run we just finished. You can’t throw a rock without hitting a cool neighborhood bar, which is convenient because beer is the base layer of our food pyramid on the road. Everyone we encountered was incredibly friendly – especially the fans that brought us our first-ever taste of fried cheese curds. And it’s hard to imagine a better spot to unwind post-show than on the banks of one of the Great Lakes.
Word on the street is, you’re heading out with the Old 97’s on tour. How’d that come about?
We are, and we couldn’t be more excited. Coming from North Texas and making the type of music we do, the 97’s are pretty much our biggest heroes and influences. We sought them out for guidance early on, and have gotten to know a few of them a little bit since then. Earlier this spring, we were one of the openers for their second annual Old 97’s County Fair festival in downtown Dallas, which is where I think we really won them over.
What’s the band playing in the van on the road these days? Is there a timeshare going on with the radio?
Fortunately we’re all pretty easygoing and have pretty diverse tastes. We call our trumpet player DJ Round-Up because he takes control of the radio most of the time. What’s on at any given time depends on our mood, from studying up on classics like Marty Stuart and Dwight Yoakam, reliving our youth with NOFX and Offspring, letting out some aggression with Metallica and Pantera, breaking the monotony of a long drive with some comic relief from Creed or Limp Bizkit. We have a big collection of cassettes, but there are a handful that never leave the van, among them Social Distortion’s “Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell,” Blink-182’s “The Mark, Tom and Travis Show,” Green Day’s “Dookie” and a George Strait box set.