I want to start by saying that our evening at Big Leagues last week was a good laugh, and would like to thank you for taking time to answer a few of our questions.
sruxton: When you were working on the material for your first CD; how much of an influence were the artists that you listened to growing up ? Also if you had to pick the 2 biggest influences on your musical style, who would they be?
Dave: Oddly enough ,around the time I was getting my tunes together for the CD, I was really into a renaissance as it were of classic country music, the stuff I grew up hearing my mom’s family listening to while growing up in rural Nova Scotia. I was realizing as an adult, that these great songwriters and musicians were also exceptionally good vocalists (Conway Twitty, George Jones, Hank Williams, Waylon Jennings and the like)..I understand that’s a bit boring and lame for the norm, but its just where my heart was at the time..I was also in the middle of studying Dobro,and Lap Steel guitar, so it seemed part and parcel to approach that aspect of music. It worked pretty well for others in the past like (Graham Parsons, The Byrds, The Eagles, Blue Rodeo, The Band, Bob Dylan, to name a few). This approach sort of confused a lot of people in the rock circles, who I think were expecting guitar god, Strat stuff like SRV, Hendrix etc….that was the 90s for me so back to the roots I went.
There is no way I could narrow it down to 2 influences ,but my all time favourites like many in my age group, aside from the country and blues artists I embraced, would be The Beatles, and The Stones. There was so much to draw from of course since the 60’s was a magical time of music creation.
sruxton: Securing the assets required to produce a CD must be a daunting task, is there anyone specific that you would like thank publicly for providing you the support needed?
Dave: I am a lucky guy in the sense that I have a great circle of friends,many of them, like yourself going back to high school and further……It seems like everyone wanted to help in one way or another. Wilf ”Woop” Meisener, I had asked to be involved on the song writing end as we always had a good vibe. Me with the structuring and him such a great vocal and lyric man. He had offered to step up as 50 % investor, so it happened very naturally. Also, an old musical colleague who I played with in the mid eighties, and eventually went on to work for years later in the renovation game, Gary Hiltz from Sun Machine fame, stepped in and offered the rest of the monies required after another friend of mine had backed out due to a nasty divorce proceeding. I didn’t ever formally ask either of thee guys, the fact is, they offered and believed in me completely which was a great feeling.
sruxton: After your initial CD was released you told us that you experienced a period of time where you were feeling bitter and under appreciated. During times like this we often do and say things that we wish we could make disappear. Is there anyone you would like to reach out to or anything specific that you would like to discuss in an effort to make amends for letting emotion get the better of you during this time?
Dave: I had just come to the realization that perhaps the age factor was an issue. Personally it wasn’t an issue to me as I’m still in good shape. I feel like I sing and play better than ever but perhaps I was being a bit over confident and brash. I thought I would get some representation and take things up a notch now that I was a recording artist. I didn’t expect the world, perhaps I could get involved with festivals, more corporate work and maybe a soft seater/theatre show here and there. I was getting nowhere, was being ignored, and nobody seemed to want to assist me getting to the next level. I was representing myself as no one came on board. The 2 individuals I approached showed little interest and told me not to get my hopes up. It’s not easy representing yourself compared to when you have someone bragging about you, talking you up; telling you that’s impressive and sellable and so on. When the bragging and selling yourself, comes from your own mouth some people think you’re a pompous arsehole. Since I had no other alternative, I tried to balance it as much as I could. This left me a little depressed and feeling left out. I admittedly lashed out to a few individuals who I felt were very rude and quick to dismiss me. I felt I deserved a bit more, given the fact I sacrificed a lifestyle of normality to become a professional musician/songwriter. I felt entitled to the types of gigs the rest were doing. In retrospect I should have got a manger/spokesperson, instead of the path I took. On the positive side I am playing in the rooms I want to be playing locally. Staff in these venues show respect and treat me good. The fact of finishing a CD that I talked about doing for years was a great sense of personal fulfilment whether anyone else liked it or not.
No specific apologies, I would however someday like to speak personally to the individuals outside of the Facebook forum, as people are not being who they really are. Face to face is always the best way to communicate I think, but I am like my country music influence, just an old fashioned country boy at heart. I am much more comfortable with the playing and singing, than the networking and bullshit aspect of the business. But hey, you cant have everything!
sruxton: How important were social media tools like Facebook, when the CD first launched?
Dave: Social media /Facebook in my case played a huge part in CD sales and promotion. I was actually quite taken aback at how many friends and fans I had accumulated throughout the years in the bars all over Atlantic Canada. I have always had good, positive relationships with people who went out of their way to come to gigs over the years. The sheer number of these people who surface as friends on Facebook after receiving news that the CD was out, really made me feel good. Between these old industry acquaintances, my local friends. schoolmates and relatives, I had sold 350 CD’s in 2 weeks, which allowed me to pay back my investors much quicker then they had anticipated. That was a good thing indeed, on the next project, I don’t think they will hesitate to get on board again. For what was really a scaled down, self title demo, as it were. The CD turned out good,and I think you can hear the folk, blues and country influence outweigh the expected ”rock” genre. I have really gotten away form the rock scene over the last 15 years, so when blues man Guy Davis referred to it as ”brilliant”, that pretty much satisfied me, making me feel like maybe life wasn’t too bad after all.
sruxton: Playing solo shows is obviously much different compared to sharing the stage with other band members. Which do you find more difficult? Is one more enjoyable then the other?
Dave: 2 different birds indeed are the solo shows and band /group dynamic. I started out as a teenager mainly playing by myself with a guitar, before that in elementary school as a solo singer ,always involved in concerts assemblies and the like so performing alone was the norm. After high school, I went right into the bar /cover band thing which was still a thriving industry. I went on a close to 20 year run in the band scene, always 4-6 piece bands. Scaling down began in the 90’s when things started getting tighter. In the early part of 2000 suddenly the norm was the solo gig. This was because of less venues available, low pay days and a big change in the gigging landscape. It was cool getting back to the roots stripping down to the basics. It was far easier on the ears, and allowed me to focus on raw playing and vocals. The solo gigs came with much more nervousness since there is no one to lean on so to speak, on stage its all you,and its right out there. The little mistakes that weren’t noticeable in a band situation,suddenly could throw off the whole set. Needless to say, drinking levels were increasing, and the nerves and anxiety I thought I had grown out of came back to haunt me. Overall though its all good, and for all intents and purposes it makes the solo thing the preferred way to go these days. When I get the chance to perform with others now and then, I have a ball.
We want to thank Dave for spending time with us to make this interview possible and wish him all the best in 2013.