‘Country-Fried Rock ‘N Roll’
The Carolina rock troupe of SwampDaWamp recognizes the great Southern rockers before them while serving up their own flavor of bayou barroom blues-rock. With a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other, these guys are just here to have a good time. The rough, bourbon-washed vocals of lead singer, Gig Michaels, tread alongside the card-carrying rock ‘n roll guitars and percussion.
With beats and lyrics that speak to the everyday blue-collar American, SwampDaWamp’s third release Rock This Country is a jocular fusion of rock-country romance ballads and rowdy party anthems; a stalwart homage to the genre and it’s fans, any way you slice it.
Exclusive Magazine sat down with the Southern-boys of SwampDaWamp to discuss the new album and their current US tour, set to rock this country throughout the fall and winter months.
Your music is it’s own unique blend of Southern rock, country and blues. Who were your musical influences growing up and how many still factor into your music today? [Gig] "My older sister gave me my first vinyl album when I was like 6 yrs old of The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour. That cover and the imagery of the songs on that album changed my life forever. Eventually growing up with my older brothers music collection; Skynyrd, Savoy brown, James Taylor, Genesis, Zepplin, Foghat, Stones, basically all the good stuff! Everything I consume plays a role in my writing."
[David] "Early influences were Boots Randolph and Elvis. As I moved into my teens, they were The Outlaws, Fleetwood Mac, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Dixie Dregs, Allman Bros, Foreigner, and Bad Company to name a few, and still factor prominently in my music today."
[Michael] "Bands with vocals were my biggest influence. The Beatles, Herman's Hermits, from the British invasion. Then bands like Styx, Journey, Boston, Kansas, etc. I believe that everything that has influenced me musically factors into what I create today."
[Keith] "I like guitar players like Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page. Everything you hear and experience contributes to your art."
[Scooby] "Growing up, I listened to a lot of Doobie Brothers, ACDC, Heart, Zeppelin, and Skynryd. They all still factor into our music."
[Cody] "Growing up I listened to a lot of Country & R&B. Groups like The Judds, Randy Travis, Michael Jackson & Boyz 2 Men. When I got a little older, I worked my way into the world of Metal. Pantera, Slayer, & Slipknot are still among my favorites. I started playing the sax at age 12 and fell completely in love with Jazz. I like to think I still have a pretty broad range of music I like today. My iPod has a little bit of everything from Alison Krauss to Dave Brubeck to Killswitch Engage :)"
You’ve just recently released your third effort, Rock This Country. As an up-and-coming band, how would you describe the sound and style of your music? [Gig] "Well, I would say that our sound, however new and fresh, is familiar with our fans; I had a guy come up to me at a Florida show we played and tell me this “ I’ve never heard you guys before but after I walked up and started listening I felt like I had heard the song before, everyone of them!” So iguess our influences are there in the music. As to our style, hell we’re just a bunch of country boys doin what we do best, Having fun playing our music!"
[David] "Our sound is a combination of all our influences – we often describe it as “blue-collar rock”, but we also have a lot of folks calling it New Country."
[Michael] "The sound is BIG and the style is SwampDaWamp. But if I have to put it in a category, I guess it would best be described as Country Rock."
[Keith] "American Southern Rock-n-Roll."
[Scooby] "Our music is an eclectic blend country and rock, but we call it, Rockin’ Country!"
[Cody] "I like to think of us as Country Groove Rock. The album, in my opinion, is a Great American Coaster Ride through the trials & tribulations of the American Way. (Someone should write that down J ) I am truly happy with every song on this album."
SwampDaWamp will be heading out on tour this Autumn and Winter in support of the new album. What can fans expect from a SwampDaWamp live set? [Gig: Something new every night! We change up the song list we play every night. I kinda look at the crowd about 20 min before we go on and then finalize the set list of what we’ll open with and so on… But I am very personal with our audience and we just have a blast among ourselves on stage and I think that rolls over into the crowd. So fun is as fun does…."
[David] "Most importantly, we strive to duplicate what you hear on our album, and have fun, fun, fun!!"
[Michael] "Hell, I don’t even know what to expect! Best described as an adventure!"
[Keith] "An energetic, professional and loud show, hopefully it will move you."
[Scooby] "Our live set is one that you have to see to believe. Loud, Explosive, and Energetic are just some of the words we hear when people talk about the live show."
[Cody] "High energy, neck tingling good times. That’s what it’s all about."
You have the great honor of playing with country’s original outlaw, David Allan Coe, this coming December. How were you approached for this event and where does this rank among the opportunities you’ve had as band? [Gig] "We’ve played several shows with DAC. HE ROCKS!!"
[David] "Actually, we’ve done several shoes with DAC, and it’s an honor to share the stage with a living legend, and it seems his crowd really gets into our style of music, so it’s a good fit."
[Michael] "We’ve actually done a few shows with DAC already, thanks to the fine folks at Imagine Music Group. To share the stage with such a legend is definitely a memory maker."
[Keith] "We always enjoy doing shows with DAC, as we have done several with him in the past, as well as Marshall Tucker, 38 Special,Kentuckey Headhunters, Confederate Railroad and many more. All are great experiences and help us spread our sound."
[Scooby] "Playing with David is always a good time."
[Cody] "We've played with DAC a few times now. They're all awesome guys, and we all look forward to shows with those fellas. It's always an honor to play with a legend."
SwampDaWamp is currently in the running to become one of the supporting bands for the Lynyrd Skynyrd Simple Cruise 2010. Tell us a little about this opportunity and how fans can show their support [David] "Well, it’s just a killer opportunity to be able to rub elbows with bands like Skynyrd , The Outlaws, Molly Hatchet and 38 Special, who were so influential to me as I was learning to play – they’re my heroes! Fans can show their support by going to our website, www.swampdawamp.com, and clicking on the banner that allows them to vote as many times as they like."
[Michael] "It all started with the Simple Man Cruise running a promotion to “pick your favorite band” to be added to the cruise. No list of bands to choose from, just type in the name and submit. Next thing we know we are in the “People’s Choice Top 5”!! So to help us get there, go to our website, www.swampdawamp.com, and follow the link to vote, as many times as you want to. No limit!!!"
[Keith] "You can vote for us on our website. I think it would be a cool gig, and a chance for us to rub elbows with other performers."
[Scooby] "This could be one of the biggest opportunities for us yet. Fans can log on to our official website at www.swampdawamp.com and vote."
[Cody] "Oh man! I'm very excited about the cruise. The really cool thing about making the top 5, is the fact that the people who voted the first round had to type in the name of the band they wanted to see. Out of any band in the world, they chose Swampdawamp. That in itself is an achievement. To have the opportunity to share the stage with the greats on that cruise would be awesome! Go to www.swampdawamp.com and click the banner to vote!"
'Rock This Country' consists of twelve exciting new songs. Tell us about the dynamic differences between the tracks, from the sexy tune “Lady” to the rockin’ party anthem “Helluva Night” [David] "'Lady' was a lot of fun to record, and I think fits right in with the direction that New Country is taking, more of a country-meets-rock style. 'Helluva Night' is just a great Southern boogie, and Scooby’s piano solo is a definite nod to the late great Billy Powell. 'Double or Nuthin' is really the darkest song on the album, and deals with an addiction to gambling and the despair that goes with it."
"'Good God' has a great swing to it, and explores the differences in how men and women view relationships. 'American Man' is a song we’d worked on for a long time, because the music & lyrics had to be just right – it’s one of those great rock tunes that make you proud to be American. 'Six Tons' is a song we’ve had around for a long time, and Ken Coomer (our producer) really helped putting the final touches on it, and Keith’s guitar solo has a great Classic Rock feel to it. 'Daddy Said' starts really mellow with a beautiful piano intro, and Gig did a great job of combining all the things that you remember your Dad telling you growing up."
"'Rock This Country' is just a blast to play, and is just a really powerful tune that I think will also be picked up by New Country. 'Half My Life' starts really quietly, but quickly kicks in and deals with the trials of the everyday man finding and keeping a job. 'Shame' is easily the hardest rocker on the album, and probably the one I had the most fun recording. 'Welcome To The Inn' has been compared by a DJ friend of ours as a “redneck Hotel California” – I love that. 'Stoned' is another really fun song, especially lyrically, and has that great bar room feel to it."
[Michael] "In general we have several different “styles” of songs on this record, attributed to the variety of input on this project. But I think we succeeded in giving them all the “Swamp” sound."
[Keith] "It's hard to explain, take a listen and see what you think."
[Scooby] "When creating the album, “Rock This Country,” we wanted the listener to be taken on a journey through different times in life through “true to life” lyrics and music. There are some mellow songs and some rockin’ country songs. There’s something on here for everyone."
[Cody] "I love the way it jumps from straight up rockin country, to soulful, groovy tracks. We weren’t afraid to follow our music to whatever genre it took us to. The whole album is pure Swampdawamp."
Indeed, how easy or hard is it to create a new, vibrant, wanted-by-the-public sound that both builds on and surpasses the musical wonderments and accomplishments that preceded it within the industry? [Gig] "We’re just fortunate that what we write tends to be that, it’s a gift."
[David] "Not really sure how to answer this one. I don’t think we really give it that much thought – we just write from our heart and hope it strikes a chord with our audience."
[Michael] "WOW!! Did we do that?!?!?"
[Keith] "Damn near impossible, but yet we try."
[Scooby] "It can be difficult at times, while at other times, it may happen completely by mistake. Theres nothing you can do that hasn’t been done before, so we take sounds and progressions that have already been used and make them our own."
[Cody] "I don't think that we write to surpass anyone but ourselves. As long as we continue to progress as a whole, I think people are going to continue enjoying the tunes. That’s all a band can really hope for."
Where exactly did that interesting band name SwampDaWamp, originate from? Is there an interesting story behind it? [David] "Yes, there is. When we’re working on a new song, before Gig knows what the lyrics will be, he “scats” the melody lots of different ways to get the best feel for the song. It was in “Birthday”, from our first album, and we were listening back to a demo, and towards the end of the song, I said, “What are you saying there?” So we played it back, and it SOUNDED like he said “SwampDaWamp, SwampDaWamp, YEAH”. We knew then & there that would be the name of the band, and it’s really cool that it was born in a song."
As true-blue American rockers, you’re probably familiar with the old saying, As American as apple pie. How would YOU finish this phrase?: [Gig] "The fibers that made this America."
[David] "As American as SwampDaWamp!!"
[Michael] "As American as Momma’s fried chicken"
[Scooby] "As American as it gets"
[Cody] "As American as Green beans & taters"
If asked to record one for charity, what '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop/rock song would you love to cover today and why? [Gig] "'Safety Dance,' I could finally act stupid on purpose!"
[David] "That’s really a tough one – maybe “Tuff Enough” or “Wrap it Up’ byt The Fabulous Thunderbirds, and on the cheesy side, maybe “I’m Not Perfect (But I’m Perfect for You)” by Grace Jones and “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe” by Barry White. I’ve also always wanted to do a rock remake of the Bee Gee’s “Nights on Broadway”."
[Michael] "You pick it and I’ll record it! They were all great!"
[Keith] "'50 Ways To Leave Your Lover' - always thought it would sound good rocked up a bit."
[Scooby] "This is a tough one. I would have to say, “Hold the Line”- Toto Its always been one of my favorite songs."
[Cody] "'Rosanna' - by Toto. I don’t know why, it would be AWESOME though!"
Lastly, and throwing you a journalistic curve ball, Exclusive Magazine loves penguins, do you? [Gig] "I did until I saw him in Batman."
[David] "The animal or the movie? Yes to both."
[Michael] "Yeah, their movie was great!"
[Keith] "Penguins rule."
[Scooby] "Penguins are unique little dudes. I do in fact enjoy them as often as possible."
[Cody] "I love their suits : )"
Interview: Erin M. Stranyak
To learn more about SwampDaWamp, including the release of their new album, 'Rock This Country,' check ‘em out on Myspace, Youtube and their official website:
So, if you would like to win a SIGNED copy of SwampDaWamp's new CD, just answer this easy question: David Allan Coe sang lead vocals which named band, a country-metal band consisting of Coe and Dimebag Darrell, Vinnie Paul, and Rex Brown from Pantera?!
Send us your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these wonderful new CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before December 1st with your answer and the subject title CONTEST: SWAMPDAWAMP SIGNED CDs to: email@example.com
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