Tell us about your tour vehicle. Any notable breakdown stories?
I have a 2015 Honda CRV. I drive about 50,000 miles a year, this one has 85,000 miles on it. The first week I had it, I was in six lanes of interstate traffic near Tampa Florida when an 18 wheeler lost a tire tread about 150 yards in front of me. There was nowhere for me to go back to run over it. I have the parts on the undercarriage replaced.
A few months later, there was a big piece of metal at the crest of the hill on the interstate in North Alabama, I ran over it, and it slightly damaged my rear axle. Nothing very glamorous there! I have certainly had seen my share of hair raising highway antics, including spinning out with a van and trailer on the interstate on ice more than once. But now it’s just the boring old CRV.
How do you eat cheaply and/or healthy while on tour?
Buy a bag of apples. Buy some Almonds or trail mix . Invest in some good coffee on the morning of your long drive. Eat a couple of apples and some trail mix or nuts. That will get you through the morning. Fast food is horrible. Drink a lot of water.
How many strings do you break in a typical year? How much does it cost to replace them?
Dammit! You’re going to jinx me. I hardly ever break strings. Some people have very acidic sweat and destroy strings as soon as they start using them. I’m not one of those people. But as soon as my strings start to sound too dull and won’t stay in town, I changed immediately. I am one of those fortunate people that has a D’Addario and Company/planet waves endorsement, so changing strings and replacing broken instrument cables, etc., are not a big expense for me. I have probably spent $50,000 on strings and cables over my lifetime though.
Where do you rehearse?
My rehearsal space is my home studio or my home. It’s a pretty nice place to rehearse, as long as you don’t have to play really really loud and have a big giant drum kit.
What was the title and a sample lyric from the first song that you wrote?
We are Jesus freaks on mountain peaks trying to catch a buzz.
Describe your first gig.
December 1976, Skate World, Mobile Alabama. My garage band played 60s and 70s rock favorites to a bunch of kids skating around in a circle. We were paid $120, which we invested back into our sound system. And then we booked a gig across town at Skate Haven. The rest is history.
What was your last day job? What was your favorite day job?
About 20 years ago, I spent about three months delivering bread for a bakery in Nashville. To be honest, I have had very few day jobs. Since I graduated from high school in 1982, I have pretty much been employed as a musician. And yes, I am aware of how amazing that is. Hallelujah!
How has your music-related income changed over the past 5-10 years? What do you expect it to look like 5-10 years from now?
I am much better off financially now than I was five or 10 years ago. I have some songs that earn publishing income and a couple of records I produce make me some royalty earnings. I play well over 100 profitable shows a year, and play about as many recording sessions. And I produce records for a fee.
I try not to have too many expectations. I just try to work hard and build for the future. So that I have a future.
What one thing do you know now that you had wished you knew when you started your career in music?
Play the music you love. Work with people you love. If someone asks you to do something that you were very uncomfortable doing, let them know this. Don’t do things you aren’t comfortable with. But be open-minded. I have done this for the most part, but there are a few times when I said yes to something to someone older than me when I was younger and I wish I had stood my ground. The only thing that matters now is that I did learn my lesson.