Hey everyone! So this last Thursday & Friday I had the opportunity to see one of my all time favorite modern band from Nashville, TN called The Blackfoot Gypsies. Here's a little back story of how I found the band and get connected with Matthew Paige, singer and guitarist for the band. The summer of 2016 I was working in the Twin Cities in Minnesota and drove back to visit my parents who had just moved to Appleton, Wisconsin every weekend. Well, Appleton was having a music festival one weekend called The Mile of Music and my live music loving self was, naturally, super duper excited! So, I got the line up of the bands that would be playing that weekend and looked through the names & did a little research on their music when I came across the name "Blackfoot Gypsies". I really dug their style and sound so I made it a priority of mine to drive back from the Twin Cities that weekend to watch them play. Sadly, when I got downtown they had already played and I was totally devastated! Fast forward to sometime in 2017 when I had moved to Missouri and that's when I met Matthew through Instagram! When I moved to Chicago in April of 2017, I realized that the band came to town quite often which gave more more opportunities to see them play. They came once when I was out of town (bummer). Another time I thought for sure I'd make it to the show but my boss kept me at work longer than I was scheduled and even though Andrew and I sped over to the venue ASAP we only made it in time for one song.
You can see why I was soooo excited to finally see a full show of theirs-- the anticipation was killing me! The band does a killer rock n roll take on country music that reminds me of my Dad playing CCR (aw shout out to Dad!) and makes me want to get in my car and ditch town #vanlife. Their style is totally awesome too obviously this is something I look at right away but they are killing it IMO. Hats with feathers, monochromatic outfits, just being them I don't know they look cool though! Something about Matthew's style reminds me a little of Wes Anderson and Dylan's got a cool look too with a big hat & sunglasses (idk if that was a coincidence but each time I saw him he has had them on). Zack's all 'Merican warm up set (red with stars-- photos don't do it justice) was killer and I loved the greenish velvet jacket Ricky wore on Friday night! Needless to say after all of this, I am a fan-- that's also why I was so happy that the guys agreed to doing a little interview for my page which you can check out below & below that was an impromptu question I had (hint- talking about Bebe Buell!!!) Photos at the end!
I sat down with Matthew (guitar), Zack (drums), Dylan (bass), and Ricky (guitar) before their sold out show at Thalia Hall on Friday evening to have them answer a couple questions that I had written up.
DC: How did you guys get together?
M: Uhh, Craigslist ad!
Z: (singing) We're a Craigslist band!
M: When I moved to Nashville I didn't know anyone...
Z: And I was there playing with a bunch of failed musical projects
M: We (Zack and Matthew) were playing as a two piece band for a few years, just guitar and drums.
D: Then I came along!
M: Birthed into the illusion
DC: Magical, how did you guys meet?
M: He came to our shows.
D: I met them when they were just playing as the two of them. I played in another band, and I thought they were really cool.
Z: He hadn't met us yet.
D: It took a few months before we had the discussion that they wanted a bass player, and I said "I'll do it!"
DC: Oh very cool. So what are the main influences for your sound?
D: The Rolling Stones, CCR
M: Ya, like the genre between country, rock, and blues-- all of those blended together. Then you start getting into the weirder stuff.
D: The really old country and blues we really all like, Willie Nelson and Muddy Waters and what not.
DC: I can see that! Ok, do you have any cool or fun tour stories?
D: Well, there's the time I accidentally did crystal meth...
M: I wouldn't say that was fun... maybe funny... nowww.
D: Watching Dwight Yoakam yell at his stage manager was pretty funny.
M: Ya he was just like yelling. He sits them all in a row and is like "have y'all ever put on a show in your life?!" and they just their like "ya you're right, Dwight. You're right."
Z: His tour manager did the sign of in one ear and out the other, "This happens every night".
M: So thats funny.
DC- Totally. So who writes the songs or do you all kind of collaborate on that?
M: I wrote most of the early ones but lately-- Zack has a really killer song we play every set because he also writes good songs.
DC: The one you sang last night?
DC: Cool, ya that was great!
M: Dylan also has good songs, this really good one we've been playing.
DC: Oh ya that one too! The Truck Drivin' Song! That was really great!
D: Ya! Thanks!
M: Ya, I think it's really cool to have everyone sing, like in the band everyone sings! Cause everyone can sing and everyone does. I don't know, feels good. It's how it's evolved.
DC: How long have you all been playing?
Z: Well I started playing music when I was 3 but I was playing like violin, then I started playing drums around 11 or 12 and I'm 34 now.
Z: 20-some years... I should be a lot better!
D: Isn't that crazy!? I was 11 or 12 when I started playing bass so that's been like 13 to 15 years.
M: I guess like seriously, taking it seriously like I am going to play the guitar-- 12.12 was the year.
D: Ya, that's about the age I think where you finally like know enough music that it's like you don't just have to play Blink 182 all the time.
M: Just skate boarding and learning new riffs. No, I was lucky I had the internet to look up tabs and riffs and stuff! Like before that they had to just sit there and listen to it.
---Ricky walks in
M: How long have you been playing music, Ricky?
D: Ya that's the question we are on: how long have you been playing music?
R: Uhh, since I was a kid. Since I was a toddler, I guess. I started piano when I was like 10. So then I played for like 4 years, then guitar when I was 14 and... I never looked back!
M: Isn't it amazing how you can make a decision at 16 and be like "yup that's it"!
DC: Actually life changing, haha! How do you guys feel about bands in modern music? It's becoming really rare to see an actual band and I've heard some people say that it's a thing that's dying out--- what are your thoughts?
Z: As soon as I think it's dying out I see someone that's like "ah shit!"
D: Ya, there's definitely all kinds of great bands but you're not going to hear them like on the radio. You just go to a show once in a while. I mean some good stuff gets on the radio, I shouldn't say that, but the majority of good bands are just ones that aren't household names I think is the problem.
M: Well it's just like the under-crust... they're there just not on all the covers of magazines. It's definitely accessible, like there's lots of labels and what not making a living with these bands that are bands. We live in Nashville! Everyone we know is in a band or doing something in some kind of musical form but I guess a lot of people do that whole solo artist thing.
R: Ya, I think it's just easier for these labels to promote like one artist versus like a whole band.
M: Cause thats 5! That's five liabilities! NSYNC was 5 liabilities, Beyonce is one liability!
D: Like Ed Sheeran he has a band, but you just think of him and same with all those people really, there's a band behind all them.
M: But it was a conscious decision to make this like a band band. Like no, fuck that! It's a band, man!
DC: Yes! That's awesome! What has been your favorite city, so far, that you've played in?
Z: I know this is gonna sound cheesy but Chicago has always been really good to us!
DC: Heck ya, Chicago is awesome!
D: I really like San Francisco and Barcelona
Z: Ya, Barcelona is great!
R: Ya, I mean bigger cities are kind of harder. I mean we just played in Kentucky last weekend and those shows were like packed out.
M: Lexington! Lexington, Kentucky might be my favorite place to play! It sounds weird though because if you would have told me that when I was living in Oregon like, "Duuude! Lexington, Kentucky!"
D: Appleton, Wisconsin!
DC: Really? I lived there! Thats the first time I tried to see you guys, at Mile of Music... and I missed it. I was so bummed.
D: Really? Oh ya! They've always been really cool to us there.
DC: It's a cool city!
M: Well, I think Kurt is out of it now... Is it still going to happen?
DC: Oh, I don't know. I literally lived there for just one month.
D: The guy.
M: The guy! Ya he's got like this refuge-- like an old monk monastery in that town and it's called the refuge! And it's this weird, creepy old church and he has all the bands back to it for a little bonfire.
DC: Oh! That's fun!
M: Hmm ya.. it seems fun but it's also a little cult-y, because he like owns the town. Everywhere he goes people are like, "Kurt! Oh Kurt!".
Z: "How long have you guys known Kurt?"
M: "Oh, have you guys met Kurt? Kurt got you here? Oh... I love All Leader Kurt!" -- but it also could be totally good and harmless!
D: Ya, he was always great and really nice to us but it did have kind of a cult-y vibe.
M: We just got crazy black out drunk at one party and wound up in our hotel room and that was the one thing that just set it off cause we drank out of their Jameson bottle... and then that's when all of us forgot everything. Never in the history--
D: Never ever have all four of us blacked out except for that one time.
M: And then no one knows how we got back to the place.
DC: Thats spooky!
Z: We just happened to see the van was around the corner.
M: I mean when you have to look for the car the next day...
D: Ya! Nobody knows where we were parked or anything.
Z: We got abducted, man!
M: Anyway, outside of that they're super cool!
D: No but really, Appleton has been really great like they put us up in a nice hotel and we get a bunch of money to eat and stuff!
R: And I think Zack and I were talking about this earlier, like you know sometimes you play a smaller city and there's just not much that's going on so when you do play you are what's going on versus like Chicago or like New York, or LA or something where there's just too much going on and you kind of just get washed away with the attention. So sometimes playing small markets are kind of the best cause like everyone's there!
M: And in a good mood, not snooty about it. Like, "this is my one chance to have fun!" Like how Spain was, all those small towns in Spain where we played like the restaurant of the town and everybody shows up!
Z: Spanish hillbillies!
DC: So when you guys went to Europe you just played all over?
M: Mostly the middle.
D: Ya, Western Europe.
Z: First was mainly Spain, Norway, and Sweden.
D: The most recent time we spent a lot of time in England.
M: Ya that was three weeks in England which was cool. My favorite venue was that Hammersmith place just cause of the legend. The Beatles fact, you're a big Beatles fan! The Beatles played 34 shows in 18 days in...1963?
D: The winter of '64 and like '65... December into January 'cause that's when we played there so I was looking it up. They played there the same day as us like 50 some years ago...
M: Still counts for something!
DC: Definitely it does. So do you guys have some new music in the works?
M: Ya, we're playing it.
D: Some of the songs you heard yesterday like except for maybe one or two are new songs.
DC: Ya, I was going to say I didn't really recognize too many.
M: Ya so we've been writing a lot and just hoarding them away. It's hard because we could just keep em coming but we don't know what to do with them besides just have them! Just recording them and getting them out is very strategic and takes a long time. So, it's kind of a catch 22... so I don't know... we'll keep writing them!
DC: Well good! And do you have any tips for aspiring musicians?
M: Bring your own soap.
R: Ya... don't stop playing. Just keep doing!
M: Ya, don't stop!
D: You're bound to fail 6,000 times -- just keep doing it.
M: It's going to feel like you're never going to get anything.
R: And then when you start to get things you're like "that's it?" Right under my nose the whole time.
D: As life goes that way.
I thanked the guys for getting together pre show to do this and planned on just chilling for a bit since I had asked all the questions I came with, but Matthew reminded me of something that I was super curious about and had to ask---
DC: Ummm... how do you know Bebe Buell?
they all laughed
D: Matthew introduced me to her!
Z: Through our label.
D: That is true.
M: That is totally it! Ya, uh Cindy Wiseman was having a pre-release party for us at her house.
Z: We met her before that! You remember, ok, cause the guy who owns our label said, "hey I'm playing drums for this lady. " And we went, and I remember him telling me about her. I was like, "Oh ya I've heard about this woman."
M: This woman.
Z: And we went and saw---
D: That is Penny Lane?!
M: There she is!
Z: We saw her and ya, ever since we started hanging out.
M: Ya... it was because of our label, Plowboy Records, had a tribute to the guy that made the label, Eddy Arnold, and she sang on it. And so because of that
Z: It must have been too because she knew Cheetah from back in the day.
M: Cheetah Chrome was a part of this punk band in New York in the '70s called the Dead Boys. Same time as like the Ramones and the New York Dolls all that time 'cause he was like a real deal and he's still really addicted to pills and that's why he didn't work to well in the independent record label business. Anyway, so blah blah blah she saw us and really liked us! Now she's a believer. She's always on the cusp of everything cool. If you've noticed. She makes sure she is on top of everything thats up! Not that we're what's up.
D: She's just always been very nice!
M: She is super nice and very cool. Just genuinely kind. So, that's how I know Beverle Buell.
I thought it was really cool that Bebe was a fan of their music but I mean with reason, they rock! I really hope you all will go and listen to some of their stuff whether on iTunes, Spotify, Youtube, Bandcamp, whatever! Listen to their newest album, To the Top. Seriously some cool people who make cool music and wear some cool clothes. Two thumbs up over here. You can follow all of their show shenanigans on Instagram @blackfootgypsies and if you get the chance to see them touring definitely make it happen because it is a good time!
Lots of love,