HAYSEED DIXIE/Various venues across Scotland, 9-13 September
You’re playing a number of Scottish gigs soon. Why should people come down and check you out?
Barley Scotch (vocals/guitar): Honestly, they probably shouldn’t. Really bad things sometimes happen at Hayseed Dixie shows. Everyone would probably be a lot safer at home. Of course, more people (statistically speaking) are killed by slipping and falling in the shower than by violence involving another person…so maybe they should just throw caution to the wind and come down after all. If you worry about dying all the time, you’ll never really properly live. Risk is such a conceptual thing…and is probably best viewed in a proper context.
What makes your live show better than anyone else’s?
‘Better’ is such a subjective thing. I mean, I personally think there is no better ice cream than black walnut ice cream. I just know that there is someone out there who will disagree with that. But they’re wrong! At least, from my perspective they’re wrong. And it’s the same with our show.
What is life on tour with Hayseed Dixie like?
Well, we get through about 48 bottles of real ale every night. And I ride a motorcycle between all of the shows. I’ve put 52,168 miles on that bike in the past two years, and I’m not done with the year yet. Most of the hotel rooms look more or less the same as the previous ones. But we don’t spend any more time in the hotel rooms than we absolutely have to. Mostly, I drink ale and ride my motorbike…and try to rock my face off for a couple of hours each night on the stage.
You’re well known for bluegrass covers of classic rock/metal songs, but you write your own songs too. Which do you prefer playing live?
I prefer playing whatever the audience is yelling for. Whether I wrote a particular song or somebody else did, after singing it 1,000 times, the song becomes rather transparent – it’s just a vehicle for delivering some energy to the audience. And the audience is the party…we’re just the hosts.
Does it annoy you that a lot of people don’t really take Hayseed Dixie seriously?
Probably about as much as it annoys a lot of people that I don’t really take them seriously. What does it mean to be ‘taken seriously’ anyway? Sounds rather joyless to me.
In April this year you released an album of Norwegian songs. Why?
Because there was absolutely no good reason to do something so bizarre. Hell, everybody in Norway speaks perfect English, and most of their bands tend to sing in English most of the time. And because it seemed like a good idea after about 15 pints of beer at roughly 3:30am at a lock-in at the Elm Street Rock Cafe in Oslo, Norway on the night of 18 July, 2010 – and we’re the people who, unlike a lot of people, actually follow through on ideas we have at 3:30am after 15 pints of beer in a pub lock-in. That’s how we roll. Finishing is everything.
And finally – your first album was a bunch of AC/DC covers. But do they like your band?
I reckon you’d have to ask them. But I will say that they were very supportive ten years ago when the album first came out. Brian [Johnson, AC/DC singer] was gracious enough to rant and rave profusely in the US press about how cool the record was…they just happened to be doing their ‘Stiff Upper Lip’ US tour around the same time. And that was more than good enough for me. I mean…after the singer of AC/DC gave the record his endorsement, why should I care is some ‘critic’ in some magazine in Des Moines, Iowa still said that we suck?