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December 30, 2021 100 mins

Shooter Jennings is not only Jessi Colter and Waylon Jennings's son, he's an artist and producer in his own right. Along with Dave Cobb, Shooter produced the last two Brandi Carlile albums and has a magic touch, helping formulate the songs as well as the sound. A nice, voluble guy, you'll fall in love with Shooter and want him to produce your record!

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:08):
Welcome, Welcome, Welcome back to the Bob Left Sense Podcast.
My guest today is artist producer shootor Jenny Shooter. Good
to be here with you, man, Good to be here
with you. I understand. I's got to start by saying,
I owe you an apology because I guess I said
something about you on Twitter years ago, and I don't

(00:28):
know what I said because I love you. I think
you're a fantastic voice, and I love your letter. So
I don't know what I said, but whatever I said,
I'm sure who knows what I was thinking at the time,
And I'm sorry. Well, you and the mother of your
children were going on, but you were very nice about it.
Let's call that history. So okay, everybody in your life,
like your wife, etcetera, they all call you shooter or

(00:50):
do they call you something else? They all call me shooter.
I mean my wife Misty calls me s J sometimes,
but otherwise Shooter it is. It was always I used
to say, cops and uh, substitute teachers would call me
Whalen because it's just on my I D and that's
what my name is. But everyone else has always called
me shooter. Okay, so what are you working on right now. Man,

(01:12):
I've been working on a lot of records that you know,
I've kind of changed my focus a bit, which I
I I'm very happy with. I kind of always wanted
to get into production, had been doing it here and there,
but we really wanted to move towards that and really
in a you know, being on the road for so
many years, and while I've enjoyed it, I've always felt
like I kind of plateaued in different spots it and

(01:35):
and to be able to start working on records really
brought out a different joy. And now I've kind of
fast tracked that as my primary focus. So I'm working
on a lot of records. I just finished a record
on a band from Reno called hell Bound Glory, and
I started I'm starting another record on Tanya Tucker in January,
are second one, and and just kind of we just
you know, did Brandy did, a guy named av Kaplan,

(01:58):
Kelsey Walden, bunch of artists. I'm just kind of every
month doing records if I can. So why did you
always want to be a producer? Well, It's funny because
it's weird because like when I was young, I didn't
really realize how much I I really had a head
for for that part of the business. When I was young,
I set up a studio at my house where I

(02:19):
grew up at my my mom dad's house in Nashville,
because I wanted to be in a band. And I
was really inspired by nine Inch Nails because when I
was a computer kid and I was a keyboard kid,
and uh I when that when I really discovered nine
inch Nails and discovered that Trent Resider was doing a
lot of this stuff by himself, Like it was really

(02:39):
inspiring to me because I was like, hey, I could
I could probably learn to do this. I'm really into computers.
I played piano, I played drums a little bit in
a little guitar, you know. So I started doing like
kind of like programming and making full productions at home.
And I had a couple of friends that were guitar
players because I wasn't a very good guitar player, so
they would be in my band and they would play tar,

(03:00):
and I would like program drums and things and and
I was always really focused on the on the production
layering and all that. And but in my heart, I
was I was young. I was like eighteen nineteen, you know,
and I wanted to be in a band, so, like,
you know, I felt like, well, this is how you
do it, all right, And and so I moved to
l A and and kind of got away from the

(03:20):
programming side, had a live band, and we we tried
real hard to get a deal and breakthrough and didn't
really ever get a big deal or anything. And then
I decided to kind of do my solo thing, and
I just went down that path for a long time.
And I met Dave Cobb very early on in that
and he we did like seven records together, and he

(03:40):
taught me so much about like because I hear I
was coming from this industrial side, and he was like
this Beatles guy, Like he knew everything about the Beatles.
And I always say he put the he brought the
Beatles into country music like nowadays, because so much of
his mindset was the Beatles and the Faces and all

(04:01):
this kind of that era English rock, you know. And
so he taught me so much about gear Like I
I just really didn't know anything about Abbey Road and
I and Mine and Chandler. So and it took me
a while to actually become a gearhead because I was
still in the band. He was my producer, you know,
and we we would kind of barrel along. And when
he when he moved to Nashville, I didn't want to

(04:22):
work with anybody else because I loved Dave, like still
to this day. He's he's like a brother to me.
And and so I decided, you know, I'm gonna I'm
gonna start doing my own records. And I and I
did um self produced uh two records of Mine Family
Man and the Other Life, Other Life, and uh, then
I started At that point, I there was a lot

(04:43):
of other bands that I liked out there in this
kind of burgeoning scene that later became like you know,
the Isbels and all these guys. But there was like
all these bands like uh, Scott h Biram and hell
Bound Glory and this band called Fifth on the Floor
from Kentucky, and and they were all kind of making
this great music, but they the records were like home spun,

(05:04):
you know. And so I started to say, like, hey,
maybe I could get into working with some of these
these other artists. They're like my age and and try
and like use what I had learned with Dave and
along the way to make good records on him, you know,
And it was hard to kind of break into that.
But I got to do a couple of records and
Jason Boland asked me to do a record on him.
He was the first person to ever asked me to

(05:25):
produce a record. And that was many years ago. It
was like two thousand twelve. We did a record and
it kind of started there. And then I met this manager, Um,
this guy that who became my manager. His name was
John Hensley. He passed away about five years ago, but
he um, he became like my best friend and and

(05:45):
he he was younger than me, but he really took
me under his wing to give me a different kind
of confidence. Um, because I had coming. I'm sorry to
ramble so much by no great keep going okay, okay, Um,
well John, you know like part of it. There was
like a kind of mental struggle with the whole like
be being Wayland's son thing, because I always not I

(06:08):
had no problem with it, Like my dad was a
great dad and we were very close and there was
no like riff for like any bitterness. But I think
I always felt like I had to be like a
certain way being his son, no matter what it was,
no matter how my career works. So John kind of
taught me like, don't do so many interviews. You don't
have to like you don't have to like be nice

(06:29):
to everybody, you have to go do everything like and
he kind of taught me how to like pull back
and he goes. And he also said, you know, you
need to be producing records. And he wanted to start
a label like we like Jack Whites, you know, third
Man Records, And at the time, there was a lot
of other people kind of popping up, like Ryan Adams
had his pack Sam and and he was like, we
can do that. Let's do that. And so me and

(06:50):
him started a label and then we started doing these
projects and they weren't like high profile projects or anything,
but we there were some cool ones that that got
mixed in there, Like I there was the thing with
Billy Ray Cyrus that was really fun, and did a
thing with like McK foley that was like a Christmas
album that him and his son did. And we did
all these kind of seven inches and kind of you know,

(07:10):
fun record store day projects, and he just really encouraged
me to keep producing and doing things like that. So
like as that started happening, I did this record of
my own because I was starting to get really experimental
and I did this record called Coon Tosh. It was
like a tribute to Georgio Moroder. And I had met
Brandy Carlisle in two thousand and twelve and we had

(07:33):
instantly hit it off. And I and she had these
tattoos on her arms that are the logo from the
never Ending Story and I'm a kid. I'm kind of
like the guy who's like trapped in his childhood, like
but by my own making. And I like it, you know.
But um so I loved that and we when I
was doing this Georgio Moroder record, Georgio wrote the never

(07:53):
Ending Story theme song. So I reached out to Brandy
and said, would you would you be on this album?
Like if you would, if you would be on this album,
I would put this out on my record. I put
the everything story on there, you know. And she did
it and we put it on the record, put it
out and everything. And then she called me and she said,
I don't know what it is, but I want you

(08:14):
to be involved in my next record. I want you
to help produce it. And I said, man, I was like,
this is the opportunity of a lifetime for me. Because
I loved her, and I was like, I would love to,
and she goes, do you know Dave Cobb And I
go yes, I said, we've done seven records together. We've
we've done We're like brothers. Yeah, and she goes, well,
I want you both to do my record, and and

(08:34):
me and Dave hadn't worked together and in several years,
so I was like it was like a she brought
us back together in a way, and and uh, and
it was just that kind of kicked the doors open.
Then after that, like Duff mccagan and Marilyn Manson and
asked me to do their records, and and then um,
Tanya Tucker was my my project because I was I

(08:55):
was working with her, but I wanted to produce her.
I had heard her sing on something I was producing.
I had had her sing on it, and I was like, wow,
she's so good still, She's just got it. And I
asked her I want to do a record, and and
I just kind of briefly mentioned it to Brandy after
we had done her record and everything, and and she said,
oh God, I loved Tanny Tucker. She's my favorite. I

(09:15):
used to sing all these songs and I go well,
why don't you co produce it with me? If you
I don't know all of her songs, I love Tanya,
but if you know all of her songs, you know
her voice, then let's let's do this together, you know.
And that's kind of kicked that off, and then like
everything kind of happened, and then I started being asked
to do a lot of records and and it just
it made it fulfilled something that I didn't realize it

(09:36):
was yearning I was yearning for, you know, because I've
been getting really worn out being away from my kids
and traveling on the road and kind of playing clubs
NonStop and and and doing one record maybe two records
a year. And to be able to do like all
these records constantly and work with other artists and like
their ideas and their visions and try and make them happen,
it like unlocked this side of me. That that was,

(09:58):
like I didn't realize was so fulfilling. And so after
that it was kind of like, I want to do
this constantly, and I but I thought, okay, five years,
five years, I'll be able to get off the road
and do it. And then the pandemic hit and it
like fast tracked the entire process, and even though it
was a horrible thing for the world, it was very
good for my emotional state in creative state because it

(10:19):
kind of opened fast tracked my my dreams, you know.
So there you go in a nutshell. No, that's a
great that's a great overview. So how did you actually
meet Dave Cobb? Uh? Well, so I had made some
demos for what would be my first record, put the
Obacky Country with UM the band there. I met him
here in l A. Uh the band guys, and we

(10:40):
put together a band and we've written all these songs
and made some demos and uh, we were going I
don't remember even remember the guy's name, but there was
a band called Hot Hot Heat back when this we
were doing this, it was like two thousand three. UM
and the producer who had done their album with that
song Bandages, I think was an aim of the song.

(11:01):
He was we were gonna work with him. And coincidentally,
when I moved to l A into nineteen or sorry
the year two thousand, I had a manager who moved
me here. His name was Shan Racigliano and his partner
was named Andrew Brightman, and uh, they co managed us,
and then at one point Sean split off and I
stayed with Sean, but Andrew and I remained friends. And

(11:23):
Andrew's twin brother was one of my dearest friends still is.
But Andrew manages Dave Cob. He got Andrew had gone
out of the artist management thing and gotten more into
the producer management thing. And I was gonna go do
this record with this hot, hot heat guy. And Andrew
called me and said, Hey, before you go meet this guy,

(11:44):
there's a guy who just moved to l A. He's
from your neck of the woods. I think you guys
would get along really well. I'd love for you to
like meet him. And and I went and met Dave
and and he had kind of just gotten here from
Atlanta and we had worked on some cool stuff, but
like I was really finding his way in l A.
And we kind of met and instantly loved each other.
And then we went in the studio and cut two

(12:06):
songs which ended up on that record, Um Daddy's Farm
and bustin Baylor County. We kind of at Paramount Studios
here and and it was so cool sounding. I was like,
this guy knows how to do what I want to do.
You know, it was like we just instantly we were
like rednecks who didn't didn't like being rednecks, and we're
like MTV kids and liked rock and roll and liked

(12:28):
all these other things and and like in that way,
we just were instantly like brothers. Like it was just
like a connection that was instant, you know. Okay, So
how has Dave changed with all his success, talking less
in terms of personality and more in terms of his productions. Well,
I think, I mean, Dave is like the coolest thing

(12:51):
about I mean, he hasn't changed, you know, personally really
in my opinion at all. He Uh, what's cool is
that the old Dave when when he was just starting out,
like you could tell like he was ready to play
in the room with all the gear. He was ready
to record the record at Abbey Road with the Beatles,
you know, but but like the world was catching up

(13:12):
to him. So like it's just awesome to see him.
Like once he got like our Cia Studio A and
he's got like all the gear he ever wanted, and
it's and he's like trading out boards and getting new
getting an a p I and then he gets sells
at and gets a Knave and like now he's getting
to play with all the stuff that he always dreamed of.
So it's like it's almost like fully realized Dave, you

(13:32):
know what I mean. It's like he he was there,
but the world was catching up to him, and not
once the world caught up to him, it's like, you know,
he's he's getting a lot of respect, which he very
much deserves. Well, he's the hottest guy in Nashville certainly
when you talk about credibility. So what is his secret sauce?
His secret sauce? I would say his he Okay, First

(13:56):
of all, Dave is like not afraid to to say
doesn't like something. You know, that's definitely like It's a
good thing about Dave is that he's he's a very
personable person. He's a Southerner, so he's a gentleman. But like, uh,
you know, he he knows he knows how to steer
something in a direction that he wants gently, which is

(14:16):
a great thing. But I would say the greatest asset
with Dave is his knowledge of music, which with a
lot of producers this way, but his catalog of music
in his mind and what his taste is when it
comes to the equipment. Like you know, Dave is a
geared He's the gear guy. Like if I'm buying something,
I buy stuff from Dave all the time. Like when

(14:38):
we were doing Brandy's last record, he had this piece
of gear that was a it was a single channel
strip from the Electra Asylum board that they cut warren
Zevon warren z von On here in l a On
Los Angele Boulevard hit a single channel from it. He's like,
you want to buy it? I was like, yes, I
want to buy that. You know, he was over it.
He loved it, but he was over and ready to
sell it, and I was like, I'm buying it. I'm

(14:59):
buying you. It's my favorite piece of gear. So the
thing about Dave is he collects all this stuff and
he's he knows everything about all this gear. So like
when you record with Dave, you know you're you're gonna
be getting something that's like so authentic and like old
school yet like modern. You know, like he just is
he's a sound crafter. And that's really like when you

(15:21):
when he he mixed the first Brandy record except for
the joke, and I loved it. When we were doing it,
he was like, I'm gonna mix this, and I was like, yes,
because I knew what that meant. You know, any other
mixer is is gonna do a great job, I'm sure,
but Dave, it's gonna sound like like a Beatles record.
It's gonna sound like a uh like you know, I

(15:43):
can't find my way home or like like uh, Paul
Simon like he's obsessed with all these these producers and
these engineers from those eras. So you know he has
studied that stuff and he's and he just shares the knowledge,
which is another thing that is fantastic about him. Okay,
you said he turned you into a gear head. Tell
me that process. Well, because I didn't, you know, like

(16:06):
when I was as a as the artist. Uh, I
was like, well, Dave's got it all. Why wh why
do why do I need you to go down this road?
You know? And then once I started getting into the
production side, I'm like, Okay, I need to start getting
some gear and like really learning the gear and like
so when I when I first started, I would call
Dave and I was like, hey, like I need to
get some preamps, you know, and and he would he'd

(16:27):
be he'd send me a reverb. Like he's like, these
are the actual preamps that we recorded Electric Rodeo on,
and it was these these E M I, t G
two and this channel or t G two And I
was like all right, you know so and then he's like,
and you need to get one of these. And then
like when I was doing the manson record, I was like,
he was like, you gotta get one of these hues. Uh.
There's this little box that's like it was made in

(16:48):
the nineties for UM. It was made for home stereo
systems to make it like using phase it would emulate
three D kind of sound, but on a home just
two speaker system. But like Chad Blake would use it
with reverb because you can like put reverb or any
channels through it and then mess with this weird phase

(17:08):
and it kind of makes the reverb sound like they're
behind the speaker or makes the audio sound like it's
coming from elsewhere in the room and it's just a
phase trick between the two speakers. So like he would
just kind of throw ideas at me, and I would
what's the name of that product us the name of
the company, and it's an S R S. Let's see. Yeah,

(17:28):
just ther s r S a K. Sound Retrieval System
is what it's called. And it's just sitting right here
up here, and but you know, and he would just
always throw throw me a bone. And then and then
once I got to a place where I was like
discovering some gear, I would be like so excited and
proud to like be like, Dave, have you checked out
this thing? And He's like no, And I'm like, let
me tell you all about it, you know what I mean,

(17:49):
because it was it was made me feel like I
had learned something, you know. But but really like like
he's one of those kind of dudes who who shares
the knowledge is excited to to turn people other people
onto cool stuff, you know. So but he turned me
into a gearhead. And now I've bought so much crap.
And like I didn't used to like go on the

(18:11):
reverb and sell things and then use that money and
buy more things and do all this. You know, I
just didn't have the patience for it. But now I've
become addicted to it. And it's all his fault. Okay,
so you're in l A, yes, sir, been here's something
not the street of just but generally generally uh, kind
of near the Hollywood Bowl that's okay, on the valley side,

(18:32):
or the Hollywood right on the valley side, like where
the Barn bridges. I'm near there, okay. And you have
a studio in your house that you're in right now.
I do, I do, Okay, So how extensive is your studio?
We can you cut in your studio or everything? I can?
I've never cut drums, and yet my wife and I
bought this house last year, so we we haven't gotten

(18:53):
to where I've cut on an entire session in here,
but I've I've I can do them. I can do
anything in here. I've cut um, of course, like vocals.
I've cut full tracks that are programmed. I've got a
piano that's all wired up, and I've cut piano tracks.
You know. I've mixed. I can mix in here. I
mixed one of the songs on Brandy's new record in
this room. And I've got a big, nice wall of

(19:15):
outboard gear right here in this little studio desk with
a lot of all the gear that I need. Like
I wouldn't say I could rent this out to someone
and that they would enjoy it, but for me, it's
like perfect for me, it's just set up kind of
what kind of board, No board, It's all pro tools
I have. I know, I have like a lot of
pre amps, and I have a lot of like outboard

(19:36):
gear that I run things through. I have, like I said,
I had that one channel from that board that was
at the Electro Asylum. So when it like when I
mixed the song was called Center Sanson Fools off Brandy's album.
But when I mixed that, I ran every single track
through that one channel, so that kind of emulated as
if I was using that same board from the war

(20:00):
van was cut on, you know, But like I just
had to do it one by one. I basically recorded
into pro Tools and then dump it through this thing,
each channel through that thing, and it comes back and
it sounds like sounds like an old console. But I
have no physical console in here. I'd like to get
one eventually, but I do so much in pro Tools,
and and I've always been able to do that no problem.

(20:22):
I have like a little automated desk that controls pro Tools,
but no physical poork. Okay, where are you on on
the analog digital debate. I'm I've done plenty of records
all analog, while I enjoy it, I you know, the
pro tools digital to me has come so far the

(20:42):
audio quality, it's really hard to differentiate it. Of course,
there's like tape sound and things, but I prefer to
work on the computer. Again, I'm the computer nerd at
heart anyway, and I love all the things you can
do with the computer, so I I kind of look
at it like a never ending exploration machine, you know.

(21:04):
So So why did Dave Dave not mix the Joke? Well,
he did originally, and I loved his mix, but he
felt he wanted Tom Elmhurst to take a shot at it,
who did most of the new record, Who's a great mixer. Um,
it's funny. I think Dave makes two songs on the
new record. I mixed one and Tom mix the rest.

(21:26):
But on the original, like I said, I love Dave's mix,
but he and Brandy eventually said no, we want to
We want somebody else to mix the single, and I
think Tom did a great job with that. But I'm
a fan of Dave's mixes. That So, what's the difference
between Dave's mixed on the Joke and the ultimate release version?

(21:47):
Not a ton But there's like Dave's mixes sound like
they're they're like nine, you know, with with a modern
low end, like they really sound like classic. And Tom's
while it was recorded using a lot of classic gears.
So so Tom's is similar, but you know, he's he's
a professional mixer, so he's mixing everything like from I mean,

(22:09):
I don't want to I'm not ripping on Tom's mixed
by any means, there's just a different You can hear
Dave's touch in a mix in my opinion, and it's
it's kind of like instant, instantaneously identifiable, instantly, I should
say identifiable to me. So like Tom, like you know,
he brought up the high hat, like put some verb

(22:30):
on the high hat and away and it and some
of the high end on the drums kind of popped
more than than Dave's would days. Is again more classic,
you know, and kind of like like an old record
that even though we didn't cut it to tape, like
his mixes kind of sound like like their tape, you know.
And so there were just some some kind of EQ
differences and and and Tom's really good with Brandy's voice.

(22:53):
That was the first time he had mixed it, and
Brandy really flipped out, like he he whatever his chain is,
which I'm not aware of what it is he uses,
but whatever he uses on her voice, it really brings
it out front and center. And I think I think
that was part of the decision at least on Brandy's
part with that mix, was like how front and center
her voice was on it. But I liked them both. Okay,

(23:22):
so let's assume I want to make a record with you,
and I'm not an artist. But what's the approach I use? Wait,
if you're if you want to make it, what do
you mean by that? If you want to make a
record with me but you're not an artist? No, I
mean me personally, I'm using a hypothetic. Okay, Well, I
mean when I look when somebody comes to me and

(23:43):
wants to make a record, if somebody asked me to
make record, Like sometimes i'm introduced to people. Sometimes it's
kind of like it. It depends on the situation of
how we end up getting in the room. But like
I'll give you an example with like Duff mccagan. I
was I had known Duff a long time, but I
was not in his He was not aware that I

(24:05):
was producing records like We've known each other from my
old band and and been like fifteen years, but we
hadn't like hung out. We didn't like hang out all
the time. And Um Greg Nadel, who were who runs Electra,
we were. I was actually at Colbert same day that
I told Brandy about the Tanner record and she freaked
out and I was like, come do it with me.
That same day, Greg Nadel was like, hey, he pulled

(24:27):
me aside. He said, Deaf mccagan is doing a new record,
and what's a producer would you be interested in? He's
like it's kind of like a Stones type thing, and
I was like, of course I would love to because
I loved I loved um his stuff like camp can't
put my arms around a memory when he covered the
Johnny Thunders on the Guns and Roses Spaghetti Incident record
and stuff like. I liked his style. And so when

(24:51):
we met, he came over. He came over my house
and this is not this house. It was the last
house we had, which was much smaller. In my studio
is basically a closet. But I had this little electronic
piano and he had all these pieces of songs. So
we sat down and probably spent about a week total
going through all this material, and and one thing that
I feel like I'm good at is kind of completing

(25:14):
musical arrangements. So some somebody has like a part of
a song. Like he had pieces of songs choruses and
verses and melodies with not even completed lyrics, you know.
And so we would sit down and I would he
would play me like on his guitar. He had a guitar,
and I was sitting at the piano, and he would play, uh,

(25:35):
this piece of a song like converse the chorus, and
I'd be like, Okay, what if we like do this
as a connector between the chorus and the next verse,
and maybe this is a bridge or whatever. And we
would kind of like mess with them until we had
these kind of you know, arrangements. Basically they weren't he
wasn't even done with the lyrics, but there were complete arrangements,
you know. And so we worked through all that, and

(25:56):
then once that happened, he let me put together the band.
And I have a band that I love working with
here that I've worked with for many years. If if
I get the option to pick the band for them,
I always picked these guys and we kind of got
in and did the whole thing on the spot, you know.
So that so that's one way of working. Like when
I when I did Manson's record, he he had nothing,

(26:19):
so we made it all up. I made up all
the music myself with him, and he wrote all the
lyrics and we we just kind of constructed of nowhere,
like with with Tanya with Brandy, you know, with that project,
it was kind of different because with that we me
and Brandy were picking material for her and writing material
and then once we got in, like she she was

(26:39):
so hard to even get her to listen to any
of the materials. She didn't like it, she didn't want
to do it, she didn't think she thought we were crazy.
And we convinced her to get to l A to
Sunset Sound, and once we got there, it just kind
of was like on the fly. You know. So every
every time when somebody does the record, it's it's different,
you know, And that's kind of what I feel a
producer's job is anyways, like is to kind of be

(27:01):
this malleable um, have a have a malleable role because
sometimes you the artist in the band, have all the
songs figured out and it's really about just facilitating it
or or setting you know, getting good sounds or whatever.
But then sometimes you have an artist, like right after
Duff um So, Duff's manager is best friends with Slashes manager,

(27:25):
and Slashes manager manages White Buffalo. So after I got
done with Duff and Duff was really happy, they suggested
suggested me to work with White Buffalo, and I met Jake.
We went out and met at a bar and had
had like a little date, a little blind date, and
hung out and had some beers and and um went
and we really hit it off, like instantly hit it off.

(27:46):
And he didn't have really any material. He was just
kind of like tinkering. But I think he was in
a place where he didn't know what was next, and
I think he like had his last producer had like left,
or I don't know what happened. Jake said, wonderful guy,
so like I don't know what had happened. But he
didn't have a producer or anything. And we sat down
and he was like, I was like, what material do

(28:08):
you have? He's like, oh, I don't really have anything.
And then he started like listening in his voice notes
and finding little pieces of songs that he had written
over the years, and I was like, that's great, and
then we kind of like duff, like I said, at
the piano, and we worked him out and worked some
arrangements and and the next thing, you know, we had
we had a record and and it was there, you know.
So it just kind of depends. Like this time around
with Tanya, it's very different than it was last time

(28:29):
with Tanya because this time I kind of had an
idea and wrote some songs as a vision for the record,
and Brandy got on board with that, and and now
we're going in January. And you know, last time, a
guy in her band, Tim hands are Off, wrote a
lot of the songs for the record. This time around,
it's different. So Brandy's written some, I've written some. So
it's just kind of like it always changes, you know.

(28:49):
But but either way, I'm into, Like I love meeting people,
I love doing records getting I really respect being taken
into their process and into their bands and being a
part of it. And I really want them to have
a good time and I want them to be happy
every day in the studio and be excited. I don't
believe in roadblocks, and I don't believe in like they're

(29:09):
being tension Like I know, I just I'm just not
that type of person. So like to me, I want
to get in there and have everybody be all smiles
and I'm so excited from day one to the end,
you know, and no matter what it takes. Okay, So
let's assume the people tend to come to you. Is
it serendipitous like with the Dell or do you have

(29:30):
a manager and where does money come in? Well? I
have a manager who who after the guy I told
you about, the Colonel John Hensley passed away, um that
there was a there was a guy who we hung
out with. It I had known since I was a
kid whose grandfather played bass for my dad. And his
name is Adam Bridges and he's ten years younger than me.
And after John died, I was like, you know what

(29:52):
I did? You know, I can't remember what it's called.
And I sound like an idiot. I'm speaking out of turn.
But but like in the Jewish family, when someone dies,
they take thirty days to like two mourn and figure out,
you know, what's next. And so I said, I'm going
to do that. After he died, and I took thirty
days because I was like, I don't want to hire

(30:12):
another manager. I don't know what to do, and and
it just kind of came to me and I was
like Adam was not even a manager at the time,
but I was like, come, come manage me, you know,
and he started. Now he's like started a whole management company,
managed tons of people, and it's like he's doing so great.
But but um, so he's my manager, he's my partner.
He also runs our label that we have BCR together.

(30:33):
But he so he he's the key to a lot
because he is my schedule keeper because I'm I'm so
all over the place, like between records and devoting I
devote a lot of time to my children and everything.
Like he kind of schedules and budgets and puts all
that together so that I don't have to worry about it.
And and it also has a flow with the engineers

(30:54):
and studios I work with and everything. But um you know,
usually the artists either I come to them or they
come to me, like tany I came to them, like
Brandy uh duff. You know, let's I mean, there's I'm
trying to think it kind of is different sometimes I'm

(31:15):
set up on the date, like with the White Buffalo,
but that worked really great. Sometimes like my my booking agent,
John Folk and introduced me to American Aquarium and that
record happened that way. Jason Boland, the master Sins were
old friends. They asked me to do it. Um you know,
was more than happy to do it. So it usually
comes through people I know and that channel. But then

(31:37):
I then I I joined Concord as a staff producer
and a and R under Tom Wally, and so in
that I do three records. I can still do outside records,
but I do three records with them a year. And
so in that they that which I love the company
and I love the network. I love Fantasy I. I

(32:00):
had worked with them with Tanya Um you know, Margie
over there and a bunch of great people at all
the different labels, John Strom at Rounders. So I've gotten
to know them and be kind of in the system there,
which has been really interesting and wonderful experience and worked
really closely Bryan Wally um on loan of this to stuff.
So they all set me up for meetings with different

(32:21):
artists like Avi Kaplan was a good one and who
uh We did a whole record last last winter that
turned out really great. And I've had some meetings with
some artists there and you know, they didn't pick me.
They went with other people or for whatever reasons. You know.
It wasn't always wentn't like we didn't get along. It
was just like whatever the situation was, it right. And
that's that's very different than what I'm used to, which

(32:43):
is like people that I know kind of reaching out.
But I like this because it's a challenge and it
and it kind of also it puts me in situations
musically that I've never been in. And to me, I'm like,
I want to learn all the time, i want to
get better and I want to like ex arians different things,
you know. So so in that sense, I'm really enjoying

(33:04):
doing it that way. But it's different for me. Okay,
But let's talk about budgets. Needle to say, you came
on board when the old system was in its last throws.
So you know, you get a big budget, a couple
of hundred k from the label you're cutting a big studio.
So what kind of budgets do you work with today
and what's your deal? Well, I mean, my price is

(33:26):
like it depends. It depends on how much time and
it's gonna take. You know, if it's a short record,
it's whatever. I mean, we we kind of work out
different prices. But but like with studios, you know, it's
very different, Like you said, it's very different. I mean
it's it's not Bust Rhymes spending like seven thousand dollars
on a record in the studio, you know, or it's
not like like you know, Paul Simon, Simon and Garfunkel,

(33:49):
I think they mixed uh Bridge over Trouble Water for
six months, you know. So nowadays it's so different that
you gotta kind of do it for quick and and
you know, under budget if you can. And so I
when I when we do records, they usually are total
encapsulated probably eighty two honor twenty dollars these day. That

(34:11):
that's kind of usually what what they're working with, you know,
And that's that's with a label behind them. Sometimes it's
it's you know, we're doing it like hell Abound Glories
on my label, and so we're paying for all of it.
So we did their last record in two days. We
did five songs a day, two days nailed at this
time we just got out. We did five days, and

(34:33):
I was really happy because I wanted they deserve the time,
but it was like the budget didn't allow it last time.
This time we've made a little bit, so we're able
to do it. So it just it just kind of matters,
you know, that kind of what kind of record it is.
But again, it's it's all guerrilla these days. It's all
kind of stealth. But I love working. My favorite studio
is Sunset Sound, which has just been around forever, and

(34:55):
I love those guys over there. And if I can't
do it there, there's a studio called Dave's Room that
used to be a guy named Dave Bianco used to
run you passed away who engineered like Wildflowers for Tom
Petty and stuff. And his engineer who I've known a
long time, David Spring, took over his studio. So I
worked there a lot, and we can we can do
it within a smaller budget if we do it there,

(35:17):
because it's David's studio, so he's charging me, him and
the studio in one fee. And if I'm picking the band,
my guys will do it for a good price. A
lot of the time, you know, in l A you're
not bound to the restrictions of the union, which could
could be viewed is a good or bad thing. But
in some situations where a band really needs it and
the union is like making everybody take a certain amount,

(35:38):
it can make it really hard, like in Nashville to
make a cheap record. But out here, if the band's
into it and they like the music, they'll do it.
And we can really kind of cut some stealth records
very quickly and and everybody get taken care of and
and be cool. So you know, it's like it all
just kind of is. It moves, but it's a lot
smaller than he used to be. But you can still
make records. I think that our our fantastic and sound great.

(36:01):
And sometimes you spend a year on a record at
home doing it, and sometimes you spend six days, but
they can all be good. Okay, So you say such
that sound is expensive? Uh, do you always cut in
sunset or Dave's room where sometimes you're just cutting in
your house? It depends on the project. Like lately, I've

(36:24):
been working with this guy DJ Paul who's was in
three six Mafia, and he wanted to do kind of
a rock record, So We've done that all at my house,
and and the same went for that Manson record. We
did that all at my house and then we went
to a studio and cut live drums over a period
a couple of days, and so doing doing albums at
home it's a different process. It usually involves a lot

(36:46):
of programming. Usually, like I don't, I'm not usually cutting
because like I haven't really built any kind of baffles
or soundproofing in here, which I'm fine with. Piano is fine,
acoustic is fine, but if I want to set up
big tar amps and stuff, I could do it here.
But I prefer to do it all in a room
where it's laid out because I usually, if if it's

(37:06):
a live band album, I wanted to all be cut
at the same time. I don't. I'm not. We don't
usually do it piece by piece, instrument by instrument, which
a lot of people do do, but I prefer to
have it be all tracked at once, and in that case,
I need the space. But if we're doing something like
the DJ Paul project where we're programming a lot of it, um,
I can do that and we can do it piece

(37:28):
by piece here and then we can take it to
a studio and cut the live stuff that we need
that way. But but most of the time, uh, most
the types of records that I do require a live space,
and and you know, Dave's room and since it sound,
both have wonderful wood rooms in great drum rooms and
isolation booths and pianos and things, so we're able to

(37:50):
kind of get a really warm, rich sound out of them,
you know. Okay, So the newest Randy record you're doing.
The previous one, she hadn't had that level of success
whatsoever in terms of recordings. It was earlier stuff with
Tibo and Burnett that had the most commercial connection. So
you do this record is unbelievably successful. Okay, now you

(38:14):
have to do a follow up. There's so many questions involved,
I mean, because now you have the pressure, now you
have the notoriety. So walk me through in terms of
how that affected the process, in terms of writing the
material and the attitude in the wanting to find you know,
the trucks that would resonate with listeners. Well, you know,

(38:39):
the greatest thing about Brandy Carlyle is that she, like
her and Phil and Tim hands Wrath, are a writing collective.
And they did this for so long together, and they
wrote so many songs, and they developed their craft and
their arts so much that I think that they were
so far into their own process and it had been

(39:03):
so far refined that I did when I heard the
demos for this new album, it did not feel like
someone who had just gotten some success and we're trying
to replicate that success. It was a whole new batch
of songs that was very much in there their wheelhouse.
But it there was nothing that there that was like, oh,

(39:24):
we got to do another joke, or oh we've got
to do something popular to keep up with this, or that.
It felt very authentic and real. And the demos, like
I remember the demos from the first record and what
they sounded like, and it stayed very true to them
um as far, and they were just like acoustic and
her and them singing, you know. With this one, like
I remember I was, I was laying in bed with

(39:46):
my wife, You're about to go to bed, and I
got all these texts from Brandy and it was like
Broken Horses was in there, and Broken Horses had like
a little bit different of a chorus, and there was
some different elements that were changed and refined during the process,
but pretty much they were. They were very true to
the thing like you and me, and the rock was
in there right on time, was in there, like there

(40:08):
was these songs that were already kind of fully developed,
but they were they were they felt like another step.
It just didn't. It didn't feel like they were turning
around and looking back at what they've done and trying
to do something. It's like to them, they've been doing
this so long that they were almost unfazed by the
pressure because they've already been through that, like doing that
first record and then kind of having all this success

(40:30):
and and then kind of you know, continuing, but but
it always kind of staying in that spot. And I'm
not saying that critically, like I know that I know
how hard it is like to kind of break through
the levels, and especially when when Brandy like this has
a lot going against her going in there, like you know,
she's a woman, she's gay, like she's outward about it,

(40:51):
like she had resistance in different areas because of all
of this, which she just shattered and broke because she
doesn't care, and she's very true to her heart and
and very true to who she is, and um, you know,
so I think they were just continuing their exact same
growth and process that they'd always done. And in that way,
I don't think that there was a pressure if anything. Brandy,

(41:13):
you know, the one thing she talked about was she said, uh,
she doesn't mind me saying that, which I don't think
you will. But she was like, she really wanted to
make sure this record had fallopian tubes, is what she
said it was. And it was like kind of the
way of saying, like the tender feminine moments. She knew
there were some rockers that they had come up with

(41:33):
like this Broken Horses and and Centers, Saints and Fools
and these songs and even you and Me on the Rock,
which is kind of jony ish, but it's like, but
she had this throwing good after bad, Like when she
sent me that song that was in that first batch,
I like, that was my favorite song of the bunch
at first, and I was like, oh my god, I
love this song, you know, and she was like, that's

(41:54):
what she meant by the floppian tubes like that, and um,
let's see my letter to the paths Like those songs.
She really wanted to have that that sensitive feminine energy
be really present on this record, and not that it
wasn't on the last one, but I think I think
she succeeded in that. And so she has a vision

(42:14):
for where she wants to go. And like an artist
like David Bowie or somebody, she's always evolving and she
knows it and she's always um wanting to you know.
It's like what, there's a there's saying that says like
that an entrepreneur is someone that always thinks that their

(42:35):
next thing is going to be the big one that hits.
And in a way, it's not like she's thinking that commercially.
I think she's just thinking like this one is the masterpiece.
Like every time she cuts a record, she's like, this
one is the one, you know, And like that translates,
and that kind of confidence is on her part, and
the Twins is very and there's it's confidence that is

(42:55):
like draped in a in a humility because they know
who they are and they don't put on airs that
they're amazing. But like yet the minute they start playing
their songs, you're just kind of I'm like, you know,
blown away by it, and her voice blows me away.
So it's like to them, the pressure was there, but
it didn't really feel like it really more than anything,

(43:15):
felt like we were just really excited to get back
in together because here we had done this one record
and had all this success, and we're like, let's do
it again, Like this is really fun, you know. So okay.
So in terms of making that record you co produced

(43:37):
with Dave, what did Dave Cobb do? What did you do?
And you talk about like with other artists helping write
the songs, to what degree were you involved in changing
the songs? Well, it's funny because between the two records
it was it was a little different, but but it's

(43:57):
still the same thing. Like Dave and I, like when
Brandy first realized that we like really knew each other
and we got in the studio, she kind of described
it like like two kids building a rocket ship in
their basement, Like we are like that together. So with
the first record, like Dave and I had talked a
lot previously, and we had all these ideas which immediately
went out the window of the minute we got in

(44:18):
there and heard the material and and I didn't know
I was gonna play piano on the whole record. I
didn't think I was gonna play anything on the record,
and when the minute we got in there, Dave got
on the acoustic and I was on the piano, and
it kind of stayed that way for the whole record.
And I remember at the time I wasn't as good
as a piano player as I am now. I played,

(44:39):
but I wasn't. I didn't play for other people, and
there was a lot of songs and black keys, and
I was so nervous because I didn't play very well
in black keys, but I didn't want to let on
that I wasn't good at it, so I just kind
of like toughed my way through it and did did
the whole record. And so the second time around, well,
I mean, first of all, so that that was the

(45:00):
first thing in the first record, and then I started
like it was like finding our place was interesting because
I was kind of like, where am I gonna Where
am I gonna fit? Because I always I love Dave.
Working with Dave, but he's always been my producer. We
had never like co produced together, so I was never
really sure going in like how it was gonna work like.
But once we got in, I realized, like that there's

(45:22):
there's very much a um like a it's hard to explain.
It's like a it's like a chemistry with all of
us as a group encouraging each other in certain ways.
That part is almost more powerful than the actual production
part of it. Like there's parts where like I mean,
for me, I'm big into arrangement, so to be parts

(45:44):
where would be like I'd be like, what if we
cut this out? And what if we change this or
we put this here instead of there, Like that kind
of stuff I jump into a lot. Dave also does that.
He's also more like when we sit down and go
through the songs, Dave will be like, oh, what if
we do discord instead of that chord? He does more
of the chord like changing things because he's guitar minded,
so he would sit there on the on the guitar

(46:06):
and do that, whereas like I uncertain things would do
that with the piano. But most of the time I'm
kind of accompanying. I'm not driving as much as as
the guitar does. So there would be some like kind
of changes like that. And then of course Dave and
his knowledge of gear, I'm not going to get in
the way of like that. You know, there'd be certain
things keyboard wise, or synthesizer wise. I'd be let's get
that in here, let's do that. But Dave is the

(46:28):
guy when it comes to the equipment, and he's got
all of it, so so you know, you know that
he knows what he's doing there, so I stay out
of the way there. Um. The second record was different.
Second record had I felt I was more involved in
certain aspects than I was before, like especially in like

(46:49):
a mediation sense, because there was a lot of like
there was just a lot of information flying around because
it was it was during COVID. We're doing the record
in the middle of the in the middle of our
c A instead of in a separate room like before
it was in the control room and we're tracking in
the large room, but because of COVID, Dave decided to

(47:09):
set the board up in the center of our ci
A Studio A and we're all recorded in the same
room with the board. So when that's happening, like where
where I was physically in the room was between the
board and the band, and then Dave is over here
and Chris the drummer was in a booth. So there

(47:30):
was I remember kind of feeling like where I was
physically was allowed me to be kind of a conduit
in communications person in this room more than I was
in the last one, because in the last one, I
was tucked off in this corner and I'd have to
be listening and and chiming in, And this time I'm doing,
oh he said this, you know or whatever, like relaying information.

(47:52):
So there was a little bit of that, and then
there was a little bit of like this time around,
I was really confident on the piano, and I was
very ashing it about some of the arrangements like uh,
broken Horses and Center Saints and Fools, some of those
kind of songs. Like especially I was like this is

(48:14):
this felt like my wheelhouse, Like even though the other
record did as well, the other record was pretty mellow
besides some Sugartooth Like Sugartooth was like that was my
wheelhouse on that one, uh you know fulsome County Jane Doe. Also,
this time around, I felt I just felt really confident.
I also, you know, the last record, I was kind

(48:35):
of stepping in and was been being brought into the
situation that was a big deal, and it was kind
of like my first big deal record, you know, not
Dave's by any means, but it was kind of my,
in my opinion, my first really big deal records. So
this time around, I felt like really confident, really excited,
and I felt like I could bring a lot more
to the table than I could last time. Even though
I felt like I did do a lot. This time around,

(48:57):
I felt very at the center of it with Dave,
and I felt like, uh, also, there was a different
communication with me and Dave. This time. Me and Dave
were kind of I don't know, it's almost like like
last time. And I mean this in like a great way,
but like last time, we were both still finding our

(49:18):
voices out there. Like he he had really hit it
in Nashville, had all the success with with Chris, but
his his thing was still starting to like really crank
up and and again like I had kind of stepped
into this new direction of my life. So this time around,
we both have this like kind of different piece about us,
I think, and and I think it allowed for us
to to really be two sides of the the tesla

(49:41):
coil for like them to um you know, or conduits
for for them to do their things, So that there
was definitely some of that. And it's really cool because
Dave plays the acoustic and I played the piano right,
so like when he's got his sound that's very seventies,
like just just him playing the acoustics that way, and
I've got my sound that's kind of like like I
love Elton John So I'm always kind of aping that world,

(50:03):
which is something Brandy you know, loves, and so so
we kind of got into a groove both records. It
was so fun and we had never done before. We'd
never jammed together, so me and Dave kind of being
on either side of that was it was a really
cool part of of the sound developing of these records,
and I think it kind of made the records stand

(50:25):
out from previous records because really we were holding down
the fort on almost all the songs together and and
that part was really fun. But like this time around,
and also this time around when it got to the end,
like me and Dave were both mixing songs, you know,
and and Tom mixed most of the record with but
there was one song Brandy didn't feel like that we
were getting the right mix, and I said, let me

(50:46):
take a shot at it, and I did it, and
she loved it and ended up on the record. And
there was there was another one Dave like the same thing.
Dave like didn't mix the whole record this time, but
there was two songs on the record of Dave mix
and you could tell because it's like Dave stuff like
stay gentle and this time tomorrow. He's just great at
that acoustic like can't find my way home sound like

(51:07):
that's where he's a master at it, you know. And
and so it was really cool, was it? Really? It
was kind of a different experience, but it felt really
fulfilling because it felt like we really busted our asses
on this one together, you know. Okay, you talk about
working with all these different artists, sometimes writing stuff, sometimes arranging.
You know, in today's rule where there's so much money

(51:28):
and publishing, what happens with the songwriter credits? Well, I
don't you know, Duff offered me songwriter for all the
songs that I helped create. But I don't take it.
I I don't. I mean, I'm just not that type
of person. I think it's my job to do that.
Like if I went in the studio with some songs
and somebody changed my stuff and then ask for songwriter credit,

(51:52):
like it could be one thing if they like really
changed it, and and I was like, you deserve Like
I gave Dave credit on songs in the past, like
for sure, like and I've given you know, there's songs
that were created on the spot, and you know I
give it out. But like, I think it's the producer's job.
And I think Dave feels this way to like arrangement

(52:14):
means sometimes you're gonna change stuff, or you're gonna tell
the artists change from You're gonna give suggestions, and unless
it's like crazy, you know, obviously like this person wrote
this song, I think it's our job. I don't think
we should be asking them. And I said Noted Duff,
and I don't. I don't want to even get into
that because again, it's my job. I'm being paid for that.

(52:36):
I'm also getting a cut of the record, you know,
I'm getting a whether it be three points or whatever,
four points on a record that is already part of
their career. I don't. I don't. I don't personally feel
like I should be aping their publishing because I made
some suggestions. And it also opens a whole other conversation
because then if I'm going to do that as an artist,

(52:56):
I would probably not want the producer to get involved
if I know they're going to try and chop take
my publishing and all this stuff you know you're publishing
is like your kids stuff when when you die, you know.
So it's like, I just I don't I don't agree
with with producers who do that or even you know
a lot of time musicians who feel like, oh, I
wrote that baseline, I need to have a little cut

(53:17):
in there, And you're like, I don't know, man, I
don't know. I could just change that baseline and to
be mine again, you know what I mean. Okay, So
growing up, when did you realize who your parents were? Man,
that's funny. That's funny because I was, you know, I
was on the road as a baby, so like like
we I would be sleeping on the bus in the

(53:40):
back with my mom or like on airplanes and I
and I traveled with until I started school, so like
it was normal. There was this was just normal. And
I was around other people like Willie Nelson's family or
the Cashes and Christofferson's like their kids are out on
the road and we would out in the roads. You're

(54:00):
kind of like it's kind of like people who grew
up in a completely different culture, and it's totally normal
to them, you know, but everybody else is like like wow,
like you grew up in tree houses, you know that
kind of thing. It's like for us, it was normal.
So it wasn't until you get in school around other
people who don't live that and you go, oh, I'm different.
You know, this is different. And I remember my dad

(54:25):
used to tell the story, but it's so true because
I remember I went over to this kid's house. His
name was Cliff, and I was probably in second grade,
and Cliff's dad was was a doctor. And so when
my dad, my dad came over to pick me up
from this play date, and Cliff goes, oh, hi, Dr Jennings, right,
because he thought everybody's dad was doctor something. And it

(54:45):
was kind of that effect, you know. I And it
was weird because like I remember, as a kid, like
before I was born, my dad used to party, right,
and I was unaware of this. It never affected me
as a child. I never saw him. You know, he
did cocaine and stuff before they did pills whatever it
was what they all did or whatever, But like he
was never a drinker ever, So like I never saw

(55:07):
any of this, but when I got in school, he
was concerned that I would hear this because other parents
knew and he had at one point gotten busted for
this whole thing with drugs at one time and didn't
go to jail or anything, but it was like a
whole thing and uh, and so he was really worried
I'd find out that kind of stuff in school, and

(55:27):
you know, I understand, but you know, I think he
thought I was gonna be disappointed in him or be
embarrassed by him or something. And I never found out
it that way. In fact, he tried to tell me
many times, and I remember clearly one time him saying,
you know, a long time ago, and then he said,
I used to cuss a lot because he couldn't bring
himself to say it. And I think, um, eventually my

(55:52):
mom or somebody told me, and I was kind of like,
so like, I didn't, you know, it didn't even really
rattle me, but he, um, you know. So there was
a lot of like weird. I don't know why I
brought that up, but there's a lot of weird elements
growing up with all of this, but they seemed very normal,
and I don't think I think maybe I realized that
that that he was a big deal and that like

(56:16):
what it all was once Like other parents like we're
like kind of that's Waal and Jennings or like this,
but you know, it just kind of was how it was.
And I remember I would go to the mall with
my dad and I would tell him like just put
on a hat and tell him you're his cousin or something,
because I would be like get annoyed that people would
bother him for autographs and stuff, you know, and when

(56:37):
he would go out, like I don't know, it was weird.
It was just a weird thing. It's hard to explain
when you're when you grow up in it. And like again,
my dad was like very present and very very kind
and very like a big kid. So I never had
any like misgivings about it, you know, I he just
he just was always just a kind guy to me,

(57:00):
a kind dad. I mean, he didn't have his grumpy days,
but just like any anybody you know, but but he
was he was a wonderful, wonderful guy. So he always
made me feel very comfortable. So it all made sense.
And so what kind of kid were you? In school?
Remember the group outsider, A good student, bad student. I
was not very popular because I was. I was. I

(57:20):
was a good student. I mean it wasn't like straight
a's or anything like I I struggled with math at
certain times, and like, you know whatever, like any other kid,
I guess, I was. I was just kind of a loaner.
I had friends. I was. I was a nerdy kid,
like I had got a computer at a very young
age and was really into computers and like early video

(57:42):
games and things like that. And and I had made
friends that were like that. And I went to like
I went to an elementary school that I really liked
in Nashville, and I had my best friends were triplets.
There was a set of triplets named the Sanders who
I'm still friends with this day, that were my best friends.
And there was another kid named Jonathan Body who went

(58:02):
on to start my first band with me, and another
kid named Matt Reeser who was also in my first band.
And then um. I went to another school called m
b A in Nashville that was like an all boys
like private school, and I hated it. I was really not.
I didn't I didn't get along with anybody there. It
was a lot of preppy kind of job kids. That

(58:24):
friend Matt Resur, went there, but he was the only
friend I had, and I was really miserable there. And
then I went to a kind of liberal arts school
called University School of Nashville for the last two years,
and I loved it, and I may and and my
friend Jonathan Bodie he had gone there, so I was like,
I want to go where he went. And I went
there and and loved it, and and I really I

(58:44):
made a lot of friends, and I had a lot
of music loving friends. And again, you know, I was
in the nine inch nails and ministry and found like
minded people that were into the same kind of stuff.
And there was like a record and you could walk around.
It was kind of downtown Nashville. Ish was in like
the Underbuld area, and you could walk around off campus
and go eat for lunch. And my dad's office was

(59:06):
like two blocks away, so I would like drive or
walk down to where his office was and hang out
with Nicki Mitchell, who was he ran his office and
was his manager for a long time. And I would
go down there and hang out with them. You know,
I just had it. Just my life changed. I was
like happy, and I was really falling in love with music,
and I loved my teachers, and like, in fact, like

(59:28):
next next Wednesday, we're released. I'm releasing some material I
recorded a couple of years ago I never put out,
And one of them is for this art teacher Jeane
size More who passed away. He was who was an
art teacher there, who I hung out with many years after.
I go over and smoke cigarettes with and stuff and
listen to the blues and anyway, like like you know,
I just really fell in love with life in those

(59:48):
last two years. And I think I was a better student.
I started paying attention more because it wasn't like these
teachers that were kind of like you gotta learn this,
you gotta do this. It was like these teachers I had,
Like I had this English teacher named Elizabeth cobe All
who like turned me on too, like turned us onto
Joseph Campbell and showed us Barton Fink and the Coen
Brothers like stuff in school, and like I was like, wow,

(01:00:09):
like I love this. I love literature. Like before that
it was all work, you know, and and so it
just kind of it mattered. And that was the that
was the spot where I think I really enjoyed school
was his last two years. You know what about going
to college. I didn't go. I didn't want to go.
I was like, I wanted to be in music. There's
certain things I regret about it. And I tell my
daughter this, because my daughter is fourteen and she's into music.

(01:00:32):
She's done the exact same thing. She's so into it,
plays piano, and she's like, why do I need to
go to college? And I'm like, you know, I had
the same thing. I took a year off. I was like,
can I take a year off? I want to work
on music a little bit. And my dad was like, yeah,
you can take a year off. And I was looking
at like I got accepted to Berkeley and I was
looking at full sale and I was like, um, you know,

(01:00:54):
music stuff. And I was like, I wanted to a
year off. And then and then after the first year,
I was like, and I just want to move to
l A. And my dad was like, no, please, don't please.
And I was like, he's like, you're gonna be a
little fish in a big pond there, and you're a
big fish and a little pond here. And I was like,
I said, I really want to do it, this is
my chance, like I really felt it, you know, And

(01:01:14):
so I made the decision not to He supported me,
but he knew, he knew. He saw me in my
band play and he told my mom one night he said,
I feel like I can rest like the music is
in good hands. That was a very sweet thing. I
don't know if that was an accurate thing, but he
but that's what he said. So he he really believed
in me and supported me. So I came out to
l A and just did it, you know. But I

(01:01:35):
tell my daughter, I'm like, I do wish I had
had to read more. I wish I read a lot now.
But you know, when I moved to l A, I
just stopped all the education and I was like in
a rock and roll band and I and I'm like,
I wish I wish I had a learned cryptography. I
wish I had a learned more programming and my I'm
learning it now, but I feel handicapped by it. And

(01:01:57):
and I wish that I had have had more extensive
literature your classes, because I didn't read Rimbo and I
didn't read until like late and I'm just getting into
it now. And like I love like Hemingway, but I've
only read like one book of his. You know, I
loved Bukawski. I've read a bunch of his poetry and
a bunch of his books. But in the last couple
of years, like I really wish I had a hadn't

(01:02:18):
done all that. But I don't know if college would
have been for me, because because going all the way
with all the other courses, I don't I think I
would have been too frustrated to because I wanted to
make music right away. You know what I mean? Okay,
music is the family business. That's both the blessing and
a curse. So tell me about that. I mean, how

(01:02:40):
you decide to go in the family business. Inherently you're
in your father's shadow. Well, you know, it's so weird
because I almost looked at what I was doing is
a completely different business. Because I loved country music, but
I had not fallen in love with it like I
I loved my dad's music, and I knew my dad's music,
and I knew Willie's music, and I would listen to

(01:03:00):
my dad like but I was an MTV kid. I listened.
I listened to you know, my first record I bought
with my own money. Was Dad's a one, and I
like had like guns and Roses was a big band.
And I would go to Sam Goody and I would
watch MTV and I would watch like all of that
the real world, and I was I was really in

(01:03:20):
that world, and that was a completely different world than
what my dad was, you know. And in Nashville had
no appeal to me because at the time, Garth Brooks
and all of that was big and I was too
young to know about the Layla's scene like where three
came out of and b R five for nine and
all that that. I wasn't into that at the time.
I was like, I thought, in my mind, Okay, I'm

(01:03:44):
gonna be in a rock band. So there's two places
to go. It's the l A or New York. And
I had loved l A from a little kid, like
my dad. I came here when I mean, I don't
know if I was five years old. My dad was
shooting um this stage Coach remake they did with all
the Highwayman guys in it, and we stayed in like

(01:04:04):
Beverly Hills, which is like hoity toity, I know, but
it's like, uh, we stayed at a hotel, and I
would make my mom take me over to I have
like a second mom that lived and traveled with his
name Maureen Rafferty, who who was like still a saint
in my life, and I would have her take me
into Hollywood because because I was obsessed with the Muppet movie.

(01:04:25):
I love the Muppets, and they went to Hollywood, and
there was this vision in my mind that that was
the dream Factory, that that's really the reason why I
moved to you know, I love it, you know, at
the end with Worston Wells, Yeah, yeah, tell you. I'll
tell him to write the standard Richard Famous contract, oh yeah.
And Paul Williams and the whole thing, like that movie
in itself was like like a training course of the

(01:04:48):
greats of film and music in a weird way, you know.
And so I was as a kid just obsessed with it,
and I would like want to go into Hollywood, you know,
and so so it kind of was always in my mind.
And I still tell people it's like the Muppet Movie
was the first thing that made me want to move here,
and and it really and it's still it's so weird.
I'm forty two years old and I still have the
same feeling I had as a little kid here, like

(01:05:10):
even just the history. Like I said, I love Bikowski,
and I love like Marilynn row locations, and I love
like all the band like the Warren Zevon and all
the pockets of history, and I still get this feeling
like it's still such a magical place to me, even
even through all the changes that have happened here and
all the craziness and how expensive it is, It's like
there's still a little piece of me that's like I

(01:05:32):
still feel like Kermit the Frog going to Hollywood and
being here, you know, and and now I feel the
same way. I know exactly what you're talking. Are you here, Yeah, yeah,
I'm in l a I didn't have since before you
were born. To me. When I grew up, California was
a dream I used to beg my mother, Let's move
to California. Let's move to California. I always say I

(01:05:54):
moved to California because of the beach boys. They were
seeing about a much better life. And it's just like
I came to California, so it's true, Well I'm going there.
That sounds like we have a lot in common. Then
in that way. In that sense, I think I might
have known that, but I think for some reason I
thought you were on the East Coast. I don't know
what I'm thinking, but but like, uh, I don't know
what part of town you live in, but but I've
kind of moved all around and I love this town

(01:06:16):
and I still have that same kind of feeling like
them uppets where my beach boys. And then you know,
then there was like guns and Roses, and of course,
like you know, Noted Nails was here and they all
these guys had moved here, and I was like, that's
where you gotta go. Has you gotta go there? So
like in New York, while I loved loved it, it
just wasn't my speed. It was like this is the weather.
I didn't like the cold winners and and coal and

(01:06:39):
hot human summers. In Nashville, I was like, well what
I like about it? You know, you might know Nashville
because I grew up in the suburbs, and l A
is a giant suburbs. You can have a car, you
can park. You know that makes terrible traffic, but it
feels comfortably. You're supposed to being in a high rise
all glob together. Yeah, totally. It's very similar to like Nashville,
Like it was very easy trans issue. It's just like

(01:07:01):
much more beautiful, you know. And and at the time too,
my dad was getting sicker and he couldn't handle the
cold winters in Nashville, so they would start going to Arizona.
My dad always loved Arizona. My mom's from there. They
started going to Arizona in the winters, and I was
old enough where I would not go all the time.
I would stay at home in Nashville. And they rent
a house. So when I told him I was going

(01:07:23):
to come here, he was like, His threat to me was, well,
then I'm going to sell this house and I'm gonna
move to Arizona. And I was like, okay, do it, Dad,
I'm ready, let's do it, you know, and he was like,
damn it. It It didn't work, but but he did, and
we just kind of migrated west, you know, and and
to me, like it felt like home and then I
could get to them very easily. They lived in Arizona.
My mom still lives there and I drive down to

(01:07:43):
see her and you know all that. So it all
kind of worked out. But but it was it was
the thing. I wanted to come here, and I wanted
to skip college and I want to just try my
hand at it, and and I wasn't And I didn't
like the Wayland's Sun business either, like that. It's as
proud as I was about him, I felt like people
couldn't see me, you know, and I would. I didn't

(01:08:04):
want to be that. And as many handouts as I
could have gotten with it, I really wanted to really
do my own thing. And I felt like in l A,
I could be this transplant. And it was really like
that nobody gave a ship like at all, like you
know who my dad was, especially country and stuff there.
Occasionally I would meet someone like you met like Jerry
Cantrell very early on, and he was like, you're Jennings

(01:08:26):
and I was thinking, he's like right on, like he
knew he was said to my dad, you know, but
there are very few people who were like that, um,
so you know. And it did just that, and I
felt like it's like I'm I'm proud that I've stayed
here because I've had a lot of friends that have left,
and I'm proud because I've hung onto it. And I
really loved this city. I I go to Nashville. I
don't recognize it, but I love Los Angeles and I

(01:08:48):
would do anything for this city. It's given me my children,
it's given me my life, it's given me my wife.
It's you know, so to me, like, I feel like
it was the best decision I ever made. But as
long as I can just make enough money to live here. Okay,
your father dies when you're young, how does that affect you? Well,

(01:09:09):
you know, you know, it's weird because like I was
twenty two, and I remember when it happened, and it
was it was a shock, but like at that age,
it that I just the other day, I was talking
to someone who whose father just died, a young man.
I'm trying to remember who it was, and he was
saying that He's like, I didn't cry, you know, and

(01:09:30):
I cried, but I was like I felt like I
had to be strong, and I was also I just
twenty two. You don't really appreciate things. And this is
kind of goes back to my apology in the beginning
of this too, because it's like, you know, the periods
of time in my twenties, I don't know what I
was thinking. It's even like with social media, like I'm
completely off of it. And I just there were periods

(01:09:51):
of time when I you're so narcissistic in your youth
that you don't realize what you're sending out and you
don't realize what you're receiving, and you kind of just
you're operating on instincts and they're not always right. And
I think, like with my dad's dying, at the time,
I was like the tough guy, like, I can make

(01:10:13):
it through this. He was sick for a long time,
so we were prepared for it. You know, he had
been he had been struggling with his health for for
a good five six years, so you know, there was
definitely not easy, but it was it. I just kind
of powered through it. And and at the time I was,
I was in the middle of everything we were I

(01:10:34):
just you know, I did my my band broke up
that the year right after that, and when I started
doing my own thing, and I got in the relationship
with my kids mom and uh, we had kind of
a whirlwind relationship that happened. And then I was going
back and forth, visiting New York and doing all this time.
I just never processed any of this, you know, And

(01:10:55):
and then once I had kids, And it's really not
even until like the last probably ten years that it's
really like I've realized, a I didn't really know what
to do in a lot of cases in my life,
and I don't know that I made the right decisions,
but I I was always operating on what I thought
he would do, but I never I always I kind
of had to defend for myself in a way, even

(01:11:16):
though my mom is awesome and strong, you know, But
it definitely, it definitely kind of cut it kind of
stunted one part of my growth, you know, especially because
of how uh close my dad and I were, you
know what I mean. But again, like I didn't really
mourn it. I didn't really. I had never really mourned
it in a weird way. It's like I kind of gradually,

(01:11:37):
I think, started to mourn it, but more in his death.
But man, but it was weird because like once I
released my first single, my first sorry solo record, is
when I like started to feel the shadow. I had
never felt that before because I had this rock band
in l A and then all this. So I'm doing
these records that are kind of country themed and I'm

(01:11:58):
kind of like giving my day, add using like the
Whyland logo on them because I was like proudly flying it,
you know, in his absence, and he'd only been dead
two years or so, so I was kind of like
like embracing his legacy and doing my own thing with it.
And I realized very quickly, like oh wow, like like
that shadow thing it exists out there. Doesn't exist here

(01:12:20):
in l A, but it exists once I put myself
out there, you know. So that was also my own
kind of like struggle with it and understanding it without
him here, you know. Um. But but at the same time,
like you know, it wasn't until like I had my kids,
and then that changed because my daughter Alabama's fourteen now,
like she's like just we're a lot a lot alike,

(01:12:43):
and she's very in her own head and creative, and
I can do everything by myself and very independent. And
my son, who is we call black Jack, but his
name is Whalen. Also he uh, he's like a little barbarian,
like he likes, he likes he's really into computers, really
in the video games, so that that side of me
is there, but he's like doesn't know what he's gonna
do quite with his life. But he's like into everything,

(01:13:04):
you know. And once I kind of like as a parent,
kind of saw what it was like and what the
responsibility was and how the relationship could be, it started
to get I started to mourn my dad, but I
also started to understand aside that I didn't understand before,
which is just like how attentive he was to me,
because it would been like my old older brothers and sisters,

(01:13:26):
Like they got the Whalon that was on the road
in the very early parts of his career. They lived
with their mom and Texas for a long time. Then
they came and worked for him on the road, so
they were there for all the crazy stuff in the seventies,
you know, I got the older, kinder, gentler Whalon that
was in his forties and and cleaning his act up
and going into this like legacy twilight phase of his career,

(01:13:49):
and he was very attentive to me, like and I
think I was. I realized how attentive he was to
me after I had kids and realized how important it
was to be attentive to them and how much it meant,
how much it fulfilled something in me, you know what
I mean? Okay, your father dies, their assets, songs, records, uh,

(01:14:14):
name and likeness. Do you benefit financially from any of
that or your that's all your mother or when she passes,
will you benefit or you have to share it with people?
What's going on there? Well, there's uh, you know, I
didn't we didn't like when he passed away, Like the
trust is in my mom's name and all that, and
there are certain things that of course will go to

(01:14:36):
all my other brothers and sisters. They're like a couple
of have passed away, but like my brother Buddy, and
there's grandchildren and everything like like for instance, the Dukes
of Hazard song, the publishing from that song is split
across all the kids and grandkids already, so that that
that has happened. But I don't, you know, I never
got like some payout and and I don't really anticipate

(01:14:58):
one because a lot of that, you know was me
and my my A lot of that was my mom
and my dad's legacy, and she, while she is maintained
it and kept up with it. Um you know, that's
that's basically been her thing that you know when she goes.
I know, my sister Jennifer, that's her daughter and everything.

(01:15:19):
I'm sure, you know, I'm sure like certain things will
get transferred where they are and I know what goes
where and everything. But to me, like that's all, it's
all part of his legacy. And I like hate the
idea of even thinking about that because it's like again
like I never looked at his thing as a monetary thing,
like I look, I deal with his his legacy all

(01:15:42):
the time, Like I started the merchandise company that we do.
I I've been working to do a film about his life.
I have all these masters that we're going through and
I'm involved in all of the kind of legacy stuff.
We just signed a deal with a great guy, Philip
phil Sandhouse, who works at um W ME Legends to
manage the estate. We've stayed away from that for a

(01:16:04):
long time. We did it ourselves, and now I really
felt like we we found the right partner and we
needed to to kind of move it that way because
and you talk to my mom, She'll say, you better
get a movie out. All the Whitland fans are dying.
And I'm like, you know, she says stuff like that,
and so in that keeping that kind of jokingly but
but like keeping all that in mind. I really felt

(01:16:25):
like at this point, I'm getting so busy, I'm getting older,
my mom's getting older, Like we need to like put
this in the hands of somebody that can really manage
it and grow it and recapture masters and do things
that we've tried to do but never had like the
reach in the in the power to do. So that's
been cool, but I'm I'm involved in all that. But
as far as like pay out after you know, what

(01:16:48):
happens happens, I look at it like it's going to
go to my kids whatever I get, And I look
at I look, I'm already at a place in my
life where everything I do is to try and set
up a life for them or at least leave something
for them. So to me, that will be awesome if
if some of that comes and helps their life. But
I'm looking at it like I gotta do that all

(01:17:08):
by myself, and if that happens, it happens. I hope
my mom never dies. I hope they figured a way
to make her a cyborg and she lasts longer than
everybody else, you know. So so it is what it is.
But Okay, a lot of the records you were involved
with can be classified under the Americana umbrella. So tell

(01:17:29):
me what do you think about that scene and where
it fits in the overall scene. Well, I have I
have opinions on it because Okay, first of all, like
I love Jed Hilly, and he's been very kind to me,
and he's been very kind to the whole scene. I
know that, like the Americana thing was kind of born
out of this John pryor Nammy Lou Harris era of

(01:17:50):
things that were happening, and so I look at it
as a great thing. But I have this other opinion
that I remember like Tyler Children, and I always felt
this way. And and he's a I love him, He's
a good friend of mine, and and he's he's an
amazing singer. And I always felt like and and Jed Hilly,

(01:18:12):
like I said, God bless him. I love love what
he's doing. But I kind of felt like when you
created Americana, it created a license to root for country,
to go down the gutter. And I feel like had
there never been Americana, that maybe a lot of these
other artists would have been kind of considered country, and

(01:18:33):
it might have it might have kind of kept us
from they kept country from maybe going as far down
the path as it currently has. That that being said,
we don't I don't know that that is the case.
I definitely don't know if like shovels and rope would
have been gotten the chance that they got in the
country Moniker. And at the end of the day, I
think genres are kind of outdated in the first place,

(01:18:55):
because they were always just a marketing tool for radio
and stores, which are both kind of gone. But you know,
I always felt like Americana was like creating an area
for for the country world to say, no, that's not us,
that's to us to this, put it over to Americana,
you know, and it kind of like created a ditch
to throw all the stuff that that was expanding the

(01:19:16):
borders of country, you know, and this allowed them to
kind of keep inside there a little like uh, you
know whatever you call it echo chamber, you know. So
so I'm kind of conflicted on on it, but I
appreciate it, and I appreciate the hard work that has
gone into making it become as big as it has.

(01:19:36):
And like, like for instance, Brandy, Brandy was upset that
her new record, the Grammy Stuff for Right On Time
was considered pop and that was done by the Grammys.
They made that choice, and she was upset by it
because she felt like, as a LGBTQ woman who had
fought like she had to get where she is, that

(01:19:58):
the representation Americana was very important, which I agree, you know,
and a representation in country as well. But I, on
the other hand, when I spoke to her about this,
I was like, I think this is a fantastic thing
because look at who is generally in the pop category,
and then look what you're doing. And if if you know,

(01:20:19):
on the chance that we win or if we don't,
either either way, it's already happened that this has now
been accepted as pop. So like, think of how much
better pop might get because you're in this this you know,
you're you're all of a sudden, they're now going to
have to take the plastic stuff and put it next
to something that's very real, and I think that's that's

(01:20:41):
a very important thing. So so in that way, I
feel like it was a really cool choice. And if
she wins, I was like, think how much better music
might get, you know, because they're gonna try and copy
that success, you know, So I look at it like that,
but um, at the same time, you know, it's genres.
And Buddy Holly told my Daddy told me at a
very young age, he said, Buddy Holly told him. He said,

(01:21:03):
don't call yourself country or don't call yourself rock, call
yourself pop because you've always got room to wiggle in
any direction from that. And I always took that to mind,
like pop is the center and if you can get
right there, then you can be anything you know at
any time. So who knows. Okay, But the scene has changed, certainly,
I'm older than you. We have the Beatles in the

(01:21:24):
FM explosion after that and the seventies, we're all about that.
You cannot have a hit single. You could be a
gigantic act, you know, Stairway to Heaven, not a single.
MTV comes along turns it into a monoculture. If you're
on MTV, you're incredibly successful, and it's about having the
hit single. Then more than ever nineties or an era

(01:21:47):
of confusion, you have the Seattle scene, you have hip hop.
Then the Internet comes along blows it all apart. Yea,
So what do we know? You know, we fought the
trif al trading wars, streaming is here, but the media
continues to focus on what they consider to be hits,
the Spotify Top fifty, which have a smaller part of

(01:22:10):
the overall marketplace than ever before. So I guess when
you're working in the area, other than with brand you
who had such huge success, a lot of these other
artists you're working with, I would assume, And that's why
I want to know it's not about having a hit signal,
but by the same token, it must be frustrating that

(01:22:31):
to a degree they're ghetto wised and they're not bigger
boy the same token, they're actually pretty big, just people
don't know. Then, as you talk about the plastic stuff,
you know, the Americana forgetting how the music sounds, that
where you that's where you might go for songs that
actually say something and those usually resonate most. So what

(01:22:53):
do you think about all that? Well, I had to
say that there was one of your lessons letters where
you you talked about this with the Spotify by and
and all of that, and I loved it. I remember
feeling that you really were saying something I wish I could.
It has been a long time, so I don't can't
remember exactly what you were saying in it, all of it,
but you were saying something that I you know, here

(01:23:17):
we are what what unfortunately I think has happened. I
know this is quite the answer to what you're saying,
but I'll say it very quickly. Is that, like it's
like with social media, the Internet is an open protocol,
but like people, for people to understand it, it it had
to be translated in terms they can understand at first,
Like not everybody are going to be computer nerds and

(01:23:38):
figure out that you can just do all of this
peer to peer stuff. So so like Twitter and all
these other companies figured out or Spotify or anything that
you could build a layer on top of it that
would be a translation layer for people who didn't really
made it very easy to use what the Internet was,

(01:23:58):
but then therefore gain control over all of the information
very quickly. So there's this layer that could be cut out.
Of course, there's not like a technological solution that has
been built that that would be easy enough for people
to use, but there people figured out where we can
build this layer very quickly make all the money you know,
so to me, like with with all of the Spotify

(01:24:20):
and the kind of lack of hits and everything. It
is frustrating because I see artists write songs or or
have songs that are so profoundly good. Um, and I
also see them be influenced by the news system and
how like it all works in trying to apply to

(01:24:41):
that and like like you're saying it in a great way,
because when you had hits, Like I'll tell you a
really random example is Betty Davis Eyes the Kim Karen's
song Okay, And it's like such a it just sticks
in your head and is such an amazing beautiful chords
and the changes, and it's kind of reflective of the

(01:25:02):
time of what tracks sounded like and everything. But those
songs still make so much money and they still resonate,
you know. And people were writing too to the to
get hits in a way and it was working. And
those songs are still out there and still making money
and still are big hits and people still love them.

(01:25:22):
And now and then when now people make records, yeah,
like they're not writing to have hits, but at the
same time, I think that they don't. Like it's hard
to explain this. It's like it's almost like the the
someone could write that song now and I feel like
it would resonate just the same as it did in
the eighties. I mean, but but would it would it

(01:25:46):
even connect? Would would it go up the charts? Would
it get on this Spotify playlist? Like the entire process
I feel like has has kind of numbed people's concept
of songwriting and what they should do and what they
shouldn't do, and and and I don't, you know, I'm
not really making a lot of sense because I'm just
doing I just gotta feel like it's it's you know,

(01:26:10):
things are changing in a way because it's almost like
artists don't have hopes of becoming Like when I went
and moved to l a like Kermit the Frog, my
dream wasn't to get rich, but the concept was if
you could do something this type of art, then you
could go and make a career out of it. And
you could then go and if you were lucky and

(01:26:31):
if you were good, you could go and make a difference.
You could change, like the way that Trent Resner changed
my approach and made me really want to play music
I hoped to do to somebody else, you know, And
but now like like to buy a five thou dollar
les Paul's almost out of the question for most artists

(01:26:52):
or people starting up, because like you've got to really
make some serious touring money to really get some serious
gear and and and it comes. It's so much more
of a struggle that like there's almost like an anti
songs that really resonate with people mindset. It's almost this
kind of like like it's almost cool to to I mean,

(01:27:13):
besides obviously like there's certain markets like hip hop and
some other ones where they're really being innovative and really
doing stuff that does really resonate and and is experimental
and cool. But it's almost like like everything else has
kind of been beaten to death to the point where
people are kind of trying their hardest, but they know
they're never gonna, you know, take it to this other level.

(01:27:35):
So I don't know, it's it's kind of it's kind
of heartbreaking to watch. And that's why it's awesome when
you see somebody breakthrough, like Chris Stapleton, for instance, with
like no radio play, doing this whole thing that was
real and just you know what it maybe it just
took the timber Lake and him on the c m
A Awards or whatever it was, but like overnight, he's
selling two million copies of and there's great songs on there.

(01:27:59):
But had that not happened, maybe it would have just
stayed in the lane it was in. I mean maybe
if that was the moment or whatever, the moment was
that kind of splash moment. I guess, like what you
said makes the most sense here is that MTV was
that you could instantly have that effect if you really
made it onto these centralized channels and I in Spotify.

(01:28:19):
While it is the same kind of thing, it's not.
You're not a hit overnight on this stuff. You're not.
You don't go on David Letterman is a comic and
all of a sudden you're huge in the country. Like now,
if you go on Colbert and your comic it doesn't
mean anything, you know what I mean? So, like people,
the way people digest things has changed so much that
it almost is affecting the way the songs are made

(01:28:41):
and the way songs are written and and all of
that seems like a really negative thing, but I think
there will be a turnaround to it. But okay, let's
say you gave the example of Stapleton and you know
it's all great, but let's leave him aside. In terms
of a lower league, the American league, the only person
who has truly broken through is Jason is Bill. That's right.

(01:29:05):
Has another artist not broken through because they're not writing
Betty Davis size or is the system holding them back?
You know? I think it's it's like the system perpetuates
the problem, and then therefore, like the system is holding
them back, therefore they're not writing the Bettie Davis eye.

(01:29:30):
Like somehow it's almost like the the banks, you know,
like they like corruption perpetuates at the expense of the
people to the point where like you have, like there's
a great speech in the movie I Love called Sneakers
that that that's my favorite movie of all time, the
Ben Kingsley speech where he's talking about the the kind

(01:29:51):
of cycle of corruption and how it perpetuates itself, not
saying that all this is corruption, but but it kind
of That's what kind of popped into my mind, was that,
because it's almost like the problem perpetuates the almost lack
of confidence and artists in a weird way. Like Isabel

(01:30:13):
is a great example because he he's he writes great
songs that really stick with people. I remember you wrote
a thing about Jamie Johnson one time, and I loved
it and it was one of the first me too.
But he's a great example to me who wrote those
kind of songs, who writes those kind of songs that
that really stick in your head and perpetuate its or
and and and you know, really hooks and beautiful compositions.

(01:30:38):
And now he's not writing, you know, like he's in
a physician, he's not cutting records. And I'm like, like,
is it the system that that broke Jamie in this situation?
Because like I want to, I always tell him, I'm
and me and I have been closed for years, and
I'm like, please let me do a record on you, please,
you know, And he and he wants he's writing stuff
and he's recording stuff. But I don't know why he's that.

(01:30:59):
I don't know where he's at with it, and and
it's his journey and I respect it all the way.
But like I could use like another one of his
songs right now, and I think, you know, country music
could use it. So I wonder is that he has
that mentally affected him, Has the system having kind of changed,
like he was in the middle of it while it
was changing. Has that given him an impression or a

(01:31:22):
feeling that he that he just kind of doesn't want
to jump into this or or you know. And I'm
not trying to talk out of turn with him because
he's my buddy. He knows, like I know, he writes
some of the best songs. He sung some on the
phone to me over the years that he wrote, and
he hasn't recorded and put him out. So I'm always
like why and is it? What is the you know,
everyone's gonna love it, Like why, like please do it?

(01:31:44):
You know, And I just sometimes wonder is it. Is
it just the environment that kind of discourages certain artists
I don't know, you know, But then you have people
like you said, like like Jason Nisbel who fought and
fought and came from all these different areas, and that
cuts this really there are different you know, his experiences,

(01:32:08):
and it cuts this really intimate record after he finds
a sobriety and it really hooks people and other people
start covering his work and it's just and and to me,
he's a great example of where true songwriting and talent
meet and and really resonates with people you know, and
and you have that and then you have like other
guys who I don't even know any of their music

(01:32:30):
in country or something that are selling out like massive arenas,
And I'm like, I don't get it, And I know
people aren't dumb. I have faith in people like the
average person. I think that they they get conditioned and
trained to a certain thing, But I don't think that
people don't have emotional feelings for music. Like again, if

(01:32:53):
if Bendy David's Eyes came out and it was right
next to like something really corny out there, I feel
like someone would be like, man, that's a eight song,
and like it would really hit them, you know. But
people aren't writing those songs anymore. And it's even like
like I was listening to Tina Turner. I was going
through a bunch of Tina Turner and that she's such
got so many great songs people wrote, whether it be
even all the back to like Nutbush City Limits all

(01:33:15):
the way to like simply the Best, And I was like,
do you feel like if somebody wrote simply the Best,
like Chris Stapleton wrote that and cut it, it would
be huge. It would be as big as it was
when she did it, you know what I mean? And
you know, so, so I don't know, I don't have
an answer. I think Americana definitely, like you said, it
definitely is like a section in the store where you know,

(01:33:40):
you can go over there and you can almost pick
anything and you're gonna get something that that is meaningfully
written and and thought out and thoughtful music. You know.
So in that way, it's a great thing to have
that access to. But how does that cut through? How
do you know, how does that cut through all the noise?
There's so much noise now, So I just I just
kind of wonder. I think we're in an evolution that

(01:34:01):
will it's going to solve itself. And I think there's
a lot of problems that people don't know were problems yet.
But as technology and collectively as a culture, we start
to become more aware. Like things like bitcoin are like wait,
like that's become mainstream so quickly that I think people
are going to start becoming aware of what has been
going on with the Internet experience for them, and that

(01:34:23):
might change the rules for Apple and Spotify, which I
really hope it does. You know, when somebody wakes up
and realizes, hey, like if there was a system in
place with like cryptocurrency that was direct where you could
still get music just as easily as you did. But
now every time you play it, the artists, all the
people that are supposed to get the cuts, producers, band members, whatever,

(01:34:44):
would get payouts like every time somebody played their song instantly.
That could totally be done. The infrastructures there, and Spotify
wouldn't be taking a billion dollars of it, you know,
and not to keep ripping them. I mean, look, they
got they were smart, is what they are, you know,
on ahead of the curve. But but like the infrastructures there,
and eventually I think it will happen. When that happens,
it might we might get back to that place where

(01:35:06):
where there's a real future in in um in you know,
in art, like movie like books got decimated. Music had
the books as a running start, but it was too
quick for them. They got decimated too. And then movies
have been sitting back going, okay, we watched books, we
want we watched this. Let's let's not let that happen

(01:35:29):
to us. And even with like the Netflix, they've still
figured out a model that works that better and didn't
like totally decimate the industry, you know, but who knows.
You know, I don't want to get a long discussion
of this because soft topic. But I don't have you know,
I think Spotify is not the enemy. They take of
the overall pie. They have to pay all their expenses

(01:35:52):
and it doesn't scale where people go on they have
to pay. And historically, as you talked, now, it would
be great if there was the blockchain and everything was direct.
This is an opaque business and everybody involved other than
the artist likes it that way. So you know, the
English hearing said, the real problem is the labels themselves.
But the other thing I must say is a lot

(01:36:15):
of people complaining about lack of success were either in
the old system, benefit from the old system, or still
in that headspace when they made records a year and
you're in a major label, you think you can still
tour based on that promotion, whereas today there's sixty thousand
tracks a day, so just getting noticed is hard. So

(01:36:40):
when someone says, hey, you know I play music, I'm
making any money? Well, okay, let's look at the Spotify.
Think how many people are listening to you? Not that many.
And the other thing is, prior to Spotify, you wouldn't
be in the music business at all. I don't want
to beat up on those people because you can transfer
between these elements overnight. Grandy, but the interesting you think,

(01:37:07):
you say, especially with Jamie Johnson within Color had incredible
success on you know, an artistic success as well commercial success.
And when you're talking about um, the overall state impacting
the quality of the art, that's fascinating. For for twelve
or fourteen years, we debated technology that's been figured out.

(01:37:27):
We live in an on demand society. Ever you get
your music, you're gonna get it on demand. So I
agree with you. We're focusing on the software, i e.
The music right now, and it will work itself out.
It's just that we're in a crazy talk. Yeah, I agree,
And I think we're in that like wild West period
of of of everything socially solving. I mean, I don't

(01:37:51):
mean like in the world. I mean just like in
music and an art It just just the entire system
was so shaken by the Internet. The entire world was
so shaken up by the Internet that I think it's it.
We're still about ten years away from it being solved,
all of these problems. But I do agree with you.
I think you know, it's easy to blame Spotify and

(01:38:12):
to blame Apple Music, but at the end of the day,
they were just first to create a system which would
allow the average person to be able to listen to
all this music and the straining platform and do it
in a way. With the new model, nobody's gonna want
to pay per song, just like nobody's gonna want to
pay for movie. You know. It's like that's why they

(01:38:32):
gotta put every movie out on HBO Max and one thing,
and they do the deal with HBO Max as opposed
to asking people to to buy a copy of it
every time. You know, So who knows and any of
that listen, I can talk to you for days. You're
a very warm, loquacious person, quite the rack and tour,

(01:38:53):
and I can see why you're successful. But you're a
very likable guy and whatever history that's in the your
view mirror as far as I'm concerned. So thanks so
much for taking the time to talk to me. Hey man,
it's really an honor. And I think, like I just
I just admire what you do and I love your
words that I love your perspective, and it's almost like

(01:39:17):
there's very few trusted sources anymore, but you're one of those,
and I get you. Wouldn't believe how many people like
I subscribe to your letter. But before I did, people
would send me your letters about different topics that you
do this, you know, check this out. And I don't
even remember whatever the issue was, and I'm sure it
was something stupid, and it was about country music as that,

(01:39:38):
I don't know what I thought I was talking about.
I have no idea, but uh, but like it's very insightful,
very intelligent, and you ask really important questions and you
you bring up really important issues. So to be able
to meet you and be face to face and talk
about this stuff to me is just it's a highlight.
So I really appreciate it. And I hope maybe one
day we can meet up in town and and have

(01:39:58):
dinner or something. You know, I would love to do that.
When this aw this COVID craziness is history. Yeah, I'm
ready to get back into the real l A scene.
So Shooter, thanks again so much for doing this. Thank
you so much. Have a great day, man, you bet.
Until next time, Bob se
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