1 What is the best bit about being in The Outlaw Orchestra?
Without doubt, getting off stage and hanging out with all the numerous buddies we have made over the last two years. We do not call folk ‘Fans of the band’ we are all fellow music lovers and we always have time to stay at the bar until we’re all thrown out and we do make a point of being the last in the building, that way we get to chat to everyone.
We have made so many great buddies from Southampton to Scotland with plenty of home from homes in Reading, Sheffield and Birmingham. “To Saturday nights we can’t remember and friends we don’t forget.
2 John Lennon infamously said in 1966 that “The Beatles are more popular than Jesus”, who would you say you aspire to or have become more famous than?
My answer would depend upon your age, I’d like to say if asked “You seem to be very popular right now” I’d come back with (in a Liverpudlian accent) “We’re more popular than Rod, Jane and Freddie right now, where are they when you need a good tune? Well now you have The Outlaw Orchestra” or “We’re the Milli Vanilli of Country rock”…..that last one might not work so well.
If Zippy, Bungle and George make a come back we’ll happily be the house band!
3 If you could have any other musician join the band, who would it be and why?
Charlie Starr of Blackberry Smoke. He was never a frontman but just happens to have a brilliant voice. His song writing is exquisite, his chords changes make me weep that I didn’t think of them first and his lyrics are poetical.
Sure he co-writes with a number of outside sources but then you should work with other musicians. On top of all that his guitar mastery is outstanding in open tunings and standard tuning. Thats what you get when you don’t own a TV and you sit round with the family after dinner and sing songs and pass around the instruments. Charlie Starr please, theres plenty of room for him.
4 You build several of your guitars you play live, what’s the story there?
I first made a Cigar Box Guitar with my late Dad. It turned out pretty good and I used it when I’d play Copperhead Road live in an old band. Dad went on to make a really nice one so I had to try and upstage it. Years later I found my old woodwork teacher who was in his 80’s.
I went over to see him, he made ukulele’s. We built a cigar box guitar between us, fretted it and got it just right, it means a lot. I started bringing back nice cigar boxes I’d find in Mississippi and also over in California. The builds got better, the wood I used was more appropriate and the hardware and pick ups improved.
I have linked with a bunch of other makers around the world and visited a couple of them. I chat with Les Paul Deal who is the son of Mick Mars guitarist from Motley Crue, he is also a guitar builder. I use these cigar box guitars on stage and record with them and now build them for folk if interested, they are called; OUTLAW Guitars’, they are real good players.
5 If Outlaw Orchestra were in Celebrity Death Match, who’d they be pitted against?
I’d like to keep this on home turf and stage a Civil War so I’d pick Iron Maiden. There are six of them and only four of us however, this is how it would pan out: Alex our bass player is handy at Taekwondo so he gets to take on Bruce Dickinson who is olympic level at fencing.
Ryan our drummer is awesome at selling merch, he is half Egyptian so has a knack for “Very special deal, special price for you” so he keeps Steve Harris and Janick Gers occupied sorting out a t-shirt cd bundle deal. Pete our banjo and lap steel player is very smiley as is Maidens Dave Murray so they stand toe to toe smiling hard at one another to see who’ll crack first.
That leaves me to face Nicko McBrain and Adrian Smith. I swing my stratocaster at Smith but miss hitting Nicko McBrain who laughs in my face “I’ve already had this nose broken ten times my son, didn’t feel a thing har har haaar” Smith clouts me with a cymbal and McBrain pins me down with my telecaster. Looking across the stage Bruce Dickinson has impaled Alex with a fencing sword using his lack of height to his advantage, Alex is out of the game as well.
Steve Harris and Janick Gers are annoyed “You short changed us Ryan, we’re gonna get all Cockney on you, you slaaaaaaaag” and they straight jacket Ryan with his own merch and slam him thru his tressle table. Pete however has done better, Dave Murray is rocking back and forward sobbing as he can no way out smile Pete Briley who scores a point for the Outlaws.
Unfortunately the rest of Maiden pile in take Pete out and win the day and sing triumphantly all the way back to Upton Park to the West Ham fans and go on to do a great gig. We’ll ‘av em next time though. Send us Cadillac Three, to warm up with, they’ll be a push over!!!
6 Who have you met on the road or have played with has made you somewhat star struck?
When I was about 7 or 8 I had a cassette player with a mix tape my oldest brother had made me. ACDC If You Want Blood one side and Best of UFO the other. I played it to death, all the way to the Isle Of Wight on the ferry. I couldn’t get that little machine loud enough, I loved UFO. I’d rock out with a badminton racket to Only You Can Rock Me Rock Me.
Last year we played in Scotland and Pete Way was playing (legendary bassist of UFO). Back at the hotel Pete comes wandering to the bar, I walked over and said “Pete can I just say thanks for all the great records” and I told him about the cassette tape, he was made up, before I could introduce myself he said “Well I’m chuffed to meet Dave from The Outlaw Orchestra”i levitated a few inches.
Interview by Claire LIoyd for MPM