In anticipation of their return to The Empty Glass this Saturday, and the release of their new CD, we caught up with Whiskey Daredevils singer Greg Miller to see what was up with the band these days...
WVRS: So the new CD “Introducing the Whiskey Daredevils” is the fourth full-length, right? What might longtime fans of the Daredevils expect?
GM: This CD is probably rootsier than our last one, more in line with what the last couple Cowslingers records sounded like. I have been really into the pure country punk thing again, and that is always greeted with enthusiasm by the rest of the guys. We cut all the initial tracks live in the studio, and Ken/Leo/Gary did a great job in nailing them early. That let me flounder around with the vocals and Gary layer in some monster guitar. This is a good record to play loud at your next party.
WVRS: Where did you record at and how did it go compared to past efforts?
GM: We recorded this in Detroit with John Smerek at White Room Studios. It’s in a big tall abandoned building in a terrible section of Detroit’s ample urban blight where drug dealers and amputee homeless people piss in the alley outside. Translation? A great place to make a record. John is really an awesome guy to work with. He moves quickly and lets us keep our energy up, and has a similar mindset in what sounds “good.”
He’s worked with all kinds of heavies in the biz like The Breeders, Kid Rock, Paybacks, and Detroit Cobras to name a few. If you like any of those records’ sound, chances are you’ll like ours too.
WVRS: Looks like you’ve had your current lineup together for a few years now; solid, cohesive unit? Last time we talked Gary was just auditioning with you guys, how’s he fit in?
GM: Gary has picked up our world of twisted country punk n’ raunch surprisingly quickly. He’s a real ringer of a guitar player and is adept at assimilating styles and licks when he hears them. I know he has been studying Junior Brown of late, so God knows where that will lead. I would like think that on a good night he is one of the best guitar players that will grace the Empty Glass stage in 2010.
WVRS: Is this new release gonna be on the German label (Knock-Out)? Lotta bands have trouble with labels, how has it worked out with der Germans?
GM: The new CD is being released in Europe on Knock-Out and in the U.S. on our own Drink n’ Drive Records imprint. K-O has been awesome to work with for us. Mosh (the label head) has been extremely supportive of us, and usually joins us on tour for a few shows when we go over there.
Selling music is really a losing proposition, and to have that kind of support is great. We just hope we can continue to keep it slightly profitable for everyone over there. As an aside, I just read a great essay in “The Big Takeover” where Jack Rabid discussed the importance of real music fans supporting the entire infrastructure of the music business.
If you like a band, buy their CD. If you like to read about these bands to learn more about them, purchase the appropriate magazines, etc. Producing a quality CD takes plenty of money. If everyone just downloads files for free, how can bands continue to pay for these recordings?
Everyone takes for granted all of this content that’s being created. You have to support what you like, or it won’t be there any more. You’ll be left with whatever corporate interests decide they can sell. No one is getting rich in world of indie rock, bnelieve me. If you like a band at a show, shell out the $12 and buy their disc. They’ll appreciate it, and you’ll help them create more of what you like.
WVRS: So you’re swinging through Pittsburgh before coming to the Glass, are you hoping for clear roads or would a blizzard make for a better story?
GM: Ken and I grew up in Erie, Pa., and Leo in Cleveland. We have no fear of the snow. We laugh in the face of blizzards. Over the years we have driven through storms that would reduce even the most hardened truck driver to tears. Danger is our opiate.
WVRS: You guys expect to catch hell in Pittsburgh (not necessarily being Cleveland fans) or are there big Daredevil fans there?
GM: Pittsburgh is one of those cities that has had an ebb and flow of Daredevil mania.
Hopefully we’ll trick some folks out of their homes next Friday. Regarding “catching hell,” usually no one cares that we’re from Cleveland. 1.) Our fans usually don’t like sports. 2.) The Browns suck so bad it really isn’t a rivalry for Steeler fans. Being total degenerates, we will gamble our take from a gig against the Browns any time. Well, we’ll also bet against the Steelers too. Those guys have trouble covering home point spreads. Little free advice for you…
WVRS: Last time you mentioned playing a Butthole Surfers cover, and there’s the footage of a Misfits cover you’ll do, what are some covers you’ll throw in your set from time to time to shake things up?
GM: We’ve always liked twisting around covers to make them fit what we do. We’ve been messing around with Elvis’ “That’s Alright Mama” by messing it into T Rex’s “Jeepster.” We also have been doing an old traditional tune Johnny Cash did called Chattanooga Sugar Babe” that should sound pretty cool. The key is, with a cover, is not trying to make it sound like the original, but bring what you do well into it.
WVRS: Has Leo become the voice of reason in the Daredevils yet? Still have his zen approach to being on the road?
GM: Leo is the heart and soul of The Whiskey Daredevils. There’s no better person to be with on the road than Leo. Does he get really fucked up on whatever intoxicants are available to him? Yes he does. Does he snore and sound like he is gasping for life when he finally passes out at night? Yes, he does. However, no matter what the situation is he will always come through at the gig. That guy is gold.
WVRS: Gonna have any limited edition Daredevil (or Leo) themed merch for sale?
GM: We have had so much $$$ tied up in working on a Japanese tour that we don’t have anything new right now except our CD. The good news is that this disc is so good, it’ll probably be the only thing Daredevil fans will need for the next few months.
WVRS: Are there Daredevil ringtones available? Maybe 360 deals or commercial tie-ins?
GM: We are working with a guy from West Virginia to develop Whiskey Daredevils tunes for Guitar Hero, but I don’t know where we are on that at present. What could be better than trying to master a suicidally fast guitar romp like our new faux-bluegrass “Old Uncle Dunkel?”
WVRS: Is there anybody you’d NOT want to hear the CD, maybe mentioned in a song or something?
GM: Not only would I not want to hide it from anyone, I would like to hear this CD transmitted from every broadcast facility in the world simultaneously. We have nothing to hide.
WVRS: What are your expectations for getting the CD out? Going back to Europe or just touring regionally this year?
GM: We are working on a tour of Japan in May, but I am starting to wonder if our choice of booking agents was a good one. We’ll see what happens there. Depending on how that goes will determine how much time we can spend in Europe. We will definitely get back to the road. We’re always in the van going somewhere.
--- The Whiskey Daredevils play The Empty Glass Saturday 2.20
Related: Our previous Q&A w/Miller