LD: Amen! It really is fortunate!
JR: We are all fortunate as well. This was your first full release on your own label‚ Songs Of The South Records. How did that record company come about?
LD: Our contract expired with ATO records. We signed a deal in 1999‚ and it was bought and sold like a piece of property over the years. After Electric Blue Watermelon‚ we had fulfilled our contract. We looked back at all the work and all the songs we wrote‚ and we didn't own them at all. They were completely out of our hands. And it just sucks. On the other hand‚ nobody was beating down our door. Although‚ there were people we could've worked with. So now we have a deal with Red Distribution‚ and they are so cool. We take care of our end and they get it out there. It's funny-all of my friends are doing the same thing. MMW‚ The Black Crowes‚ and everybody I've been in contact with recently is heading in that same direction. It's cool. And we're not entertaining any ideas or fantasizing about a record company getting us on MTV‚ making us huge and all that shit. We've got a great fan base that is so awesome and has supported us all these years. So it is what it is. We're going to make records and hope that they like them. And try to take care of each other.
So last year we released our DVD [Keep On Marchin'] along with the acoustic record. We are also going to have a live retrospective CD/DVD package from the last 11 years called Do It Like We Used To Do.
JR: I bet there's some fun stuff in there!
LD: I learned a lot going through those tapes. It was painstakingly torturous‚ going through hours and hours of tapes of shitty performances.
JR: You were probably thinking‚ Man we sucked.
LD: Exactly‚ man! It is so cool that all of the crowds have been putting up with us all these years. The best thing I learned from that‚ putting that project together‚ was not to try and lead the band but just pay attention to where the music is organically going‚ and just go with the flow. It works so much better than trying to forcefully take charge of the musical flow. That was really a great lesson.
JR: Do you feel the band is looking for you to lead them?
LD: No‚ not at all. Sometimes I take on that role‚ but I'm really talking about when we're improvising. Cody might be getting ready to be done. But I'm saying no‚ no‚ I'm still going. To have the music stumble and come back up just isn't cool. In the long run‚ it's better to wrap it up and go with him. Cody and Chris are both independently confident and strong musical leaders. So they're not waiting around for me to tell them what to do by any means. Warren Haynes has taught me so many great lessons throughout the years. He pointed out to me that the bass is the dominant harmonic thing; it's laying down the root. Even if you think what you're doing is correct goes against the bass‚ you're the one that sounds wrong. So you better go with Chris. Lot's of times Cody and I will be getting so crazy‚ that usually one of us will lose track of where the one is. And Chris is always right there for us. So Chris is the anchor.
JR: Let's talk about what the future holds for the North Mississippi Allstars now that you are joining The Black Crowes full time.
LD: We definitely won't be able to tour all yearlong like we used to‚ and that's a shame. But we're still going to have time to do our thing. Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes have given me some really good advice on how to balance your life and your different bands. I'm excited. It's definitely hard on the guys‚ but they're super cool about it. Like I said earlier‚ we spent six years nonstop touring‚ and sometimes that doesn't feel like the right thing to do. I think if you can get a better balance on how much you tour‚ you'll be in a better position. So I don't know-you've just got to hope for the best. I totally plan on keeping both projects together. We're booking Allstar shows around The Crowes schedule and trying to keep it all moving forward.
JR: What kind of a commitment have you made to The Crowes as far as the future goes? Is this just a take-it-day-by-day thing?
LD: Shit‚ who knows! We made the record and it was a lot of fun. We're going to hit the road‚ so we'll see where it takes us. Takes me.
JR: This will be great for your own personal creativity as an artist.
LD: Yeah‚ it's great‚ I've always dug their music‚ and I can't think of another band that I would do this for.
JR: So this was a no-brainer decision for you?
LD: Yeah. As soon as I started playing with them‚ I knew. They came down to Mississippi to our barn. We played three of their classic tunes. Then Chris [Robinson] was like‚ Hey‚ man‚ let's play some new stuff. And that was really cool because they were like germs of songs.
So it was great making both records‚ The Crowes' and the Allstars'. Because the music is live‚ and I think that's key. If you're a pop band‚ then making a record is a different thing. But if you're a rock 'n' roll band that plays live‚ you need to sound like that. Even the great records we grew up listening to are just a bunch of guys in a room playing live. And that's the sound we went for on these records. I think that is what is more charming than anything else.