Riding On with the Texas Hippie Coalition

Let's get right to business. On the road for Mayhem Fest, fresh off putting the polishing touches on a new record due out in the fall, three members of the Texas Hippie Coalition were gracious enough to sit down with us (again) to take on a few questions. We corralled the red dirt metallers long enough to talk their new record, the theory of their music and old-school recording techniques. Read on:

M.DREW: You guys just finished recording a new record, we should expect to see it when?
TIMMY BRAUN: 10/7 [Editor's note: Updated from original version]
M.D: What should people expect?
JOHN EXALL: Man, you know we’re gonna bring that Texas groove right to ya.

CORD POOL: Some older-style stuff.

JE: We kinda went back to the first album, “Pride of Texas,” got a little more raw, a little grittier. Got to go up and write with a great dude, Skip Mills who’s responsible for Saving Abel and writes for them. Wrote part of the album with him, wrote part of the album with Bob Marlette. My man Cord just kicked it, he’s responsible for the whole darn thing. Just look at him. It’s all Cord.

CP: I had a piece of it.

M.D: Cord, this is your first record cycle from beginning to end with the band, how does that feel?
CP: It was so easy to record, it’s pretty awesome to know that I’ll have something that’s gonna be out there. It’s pretty great, I won’t really know how it feels until it goes out in a couple months. I’ll be able to tell you then [laughs].
M.D: John and Timmy, what does Cord bring to the band that Randy Cooper didn’t? What does he add chemistry-wise?
JE: He’s just a completely different player. Randy was a great player, but Cord is just a dominator, man. He comes in and wears it out completely. He’s solid, man.

TB: Yeah, with him we’re down to one guitar player.

JE: You’ve seen us go through it, had two then one then two, and now we’ve just got one and we’re keeping him. I won him in a poker game from his daddy, so he can’t go anywhere [laughs].

CP: I ain’t leaving.

M.D: Each record you’ve done gets you closer to the Billboard 200. You’ve been climbing up the Heatseekers chart, you were #32, then you were number four, is this the one that gets you over the top? Is that what you expect?
JE: We would like to think so, but it’s gonna be up to what you guys think, it’s gonna be up to the fans to put us where we go.

TB: And yes, that is the expectation.

JE: It’s encouraging when the label gets to you and says ‘we’ve got twelve great songs here, and we don’t know which one we want to push as the single yet.’

TB: And that’s the ones that we don’t like as much, maybe.

JE: Yeah, they’ll ask us what we think and then go the other way [laughs]. They sent out three undetermined tracks, didn’t tell us what they were, to several different radio stations and told them to decide what they wanted. So we’ll find out next week.

M.D: What’s the feeling going into it? What’s your anticipation like?
JE: Oh man, we’re really stoked about it, we’re all hyped up. Cord’s playing on this was phenomenal, wait til you hear his leads, he’s just melting faces. I can’t be more proud of him, man, he just wore it out. He’s gonna be a force to be reckoned with in the guitar world. Count on that.
M.D: So then you feel this might not even be the ceiling for the band, you could go bigger, badder, better down the line?
JE: All bands say it, but every album we’re gonna try to outdo the last one. Like I said, ultimately it’s the fans that decide where you go and if you get there or not. We can love it all day long, but it’s up to you guys to tell us you love it, or hey, you guys blew it, go back and start over [laughs].

M.D: As your profile gets bigger and bigger, do you find the response from fans has changed? Are there more people, are they more excited, something like that?
JE: Big crowds or small crowds both seem to react the same way. We’ve always been welcomed with open arms, be it a headline concert or whatever. Any place we’ve been we’ve won the fans over. We’re the working man’s band, and that’s what it comes down to. We’re just like everyone else, behind in the bills, you know.

TB: Obviously it’s pumped up a little bit. During a headline tour, it’s going to be a little bit of a difference. This festival stuff is pretty cool.

JE: You’re out there with Mushroomhead, they’re killing it every night. You got Body Count, just murdering. I mean, Ice-T, fuck that’s Ice-T, man!

TB: We have to miss them most of the time.

CP: Our press time is almost always when they’re playing.

JE: Out of all the bands, Korn and Body Count is who I look forward to the most.

M.D: Yeah, they were playing while I was walking over here, I slowed down to hear “Cop Killer.”
JE: There goes the neighborhood! [pounds table]
M.D: What’s it like to be part of something like this? Do you get together with those bands and share ideas? What are those conversations like?
JE: Sometimes. We’re like a big family out here, we’ve been really fortunate to be welcomed with open arms by the bands that are here.

CP: There are some familiar faces.

JE: We know a few people, but we’ve made so many friends here, it’s awesome. The one thing about Mayhem is, you may have all these bands here, but it’s one big family.

M.D: As metal evolves, you guys are, pardon my saying so, kind of a low-tech band. It’s straight ahead and blues-based and all those things are excellent. As the genre you’re in gets increasingly technical, do you feel pressure to try and do more of that?
CP: Naw, we just stick in the groove.

JE: We just do what we do. We’re old fashioned that way. We plug into amps just like they used to do it, like Led Zeppelin did, just bust it off. We’re all about technology, Timmy knows a lot about stuff like that, Cord’ll sit down on his phone and say ‘hey, look what I did,’ and he’ll create Mumford and Sons on his phone [laughs]. We love the technology, but at the end of the day, we just plug in and go.

M.D: Have you guys ever considered going four guys in a room and just recording it all live?
TB: We did that on this album a little bit, actually. There were a couple songs where we just shoved in there and did it. We’ve talked about maybe doing the next one that way.

JE: “Pride of Texas” and “Rollin’,” they locked us in a room and we just knocked it out. “Rollin’,” I think we had the whole thing knocked out except the solos in about three hours. It’s a lot different feel. If you can capture that live feel, the crowd likes it more, you can feel all the artists in the room.

M.D: Seeing you guys on stage, people get caught up in the bravado of Ritch and seeing you guys run around like maniacs. Underneath all that, what is it about the music that you love so much?
JE: Just playing from the heart. It’s fun to sit out there and bring our style of music to the masses, see how it’s received and how it’s gone over. It’s a rush, dude. We’re humbled to say the least.
M.D: Ever since Pantera was big, Austin, Texas has been thought of as one of the centers of the music universe. You’re not from Austin proper, but has that radiated out to you, helped you or influenced you?

JE: We’ve played there several times, but Austin’s got its own little thing going on. We were fortunate to be able to go down there and be part of South by Southwest.

TB: Some of those red dirt bands down there coined the phrase ‘red dirt metal’ for us to describe our sound. In that way, it’s affected us.

M.D: I think the perception is, if you guys weren’t playing in a metal band, you’d be a country band. True?
TB: I’m actually in a country band back home [laughs].

JE: We listen to some country. I’ll drive them dudes crazy ‘cause I’ll listen to some Hank III and just blare it. Get up boys, time to go!

CP: I probably wouldn’t ever play country again, because that’s the only bands I played in before this one. I like metal, and I’m gonna stick with it.

JE: We listen to all kinds of music. You come on the bus one day you’ll hear classical, one day you’ll hear country, one day you’ll hear rap. It just all depends on who’s running it.

M.D: Last thing. Are the Cowboys gonna go 8-8 again?
JE: That’s awful, man. Everybody just goes ‘ugh,’ like it brought the whole mood down [laughs]. You know, we don’t talk sports because it’s like talking religion, it just upsets people, so we’re gonna get off of that one right now.

D.M

Music Editor

D.M is the Music Editor for Bloodygoodhorror.com. He tries to avoid bands with bodily functions in the name and generally has a keen grasp of what he thinks sounds good and what doesn't. He also really enjoys reading, at least in part, and perhaps not surprisingly, because it's quiet. He's on a mission to convince his wife they need a badger as a household pet. It's not going well.

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