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INTERVIEW: Spayed Koolie

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hey there VENTS, thanks so much!!  We’re doing well!

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “100 Years (Need)”?

Surely.  “100 Years (Need)” was inspired by David’s relationship/meeting his now wife, Elyse.  When Neal heard it, he thought it should be produced and released, and he brought together all the resources to get that done, hence the single is out there now.  It’s meant to be a fun-loving country song with a profound message in it. 🙂

Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?

Yep, David’s relationship with Elyse was the inspiration.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

Well, seeing as how we had/have a limited budget, Neal cranked out a “live” music video via Steven Diaz’ recording wizardry.  We’ve been told the video is “organic” and told that’s a good thing.  One can see it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agHnWutK6W4

The single comes off your new album Ashtray Change – what’s the story behind the title?

Ah yes, the album title!  We call it Ashtray Change for two reasons.  Number one, after the end of a relationship that one puts heart and soul into, that’s sometimes all that’s left — nothing more than the coins in the ashtray in the vehicle.  Second reason — it’s the one song that David Dorr and Neal “Quickdraw” Phillips collaborated on writing together the most.  David had originally titled it “Half and Change”; Neal edited it to “Ashtray Change”, changed some lyrics, and sped it up for the studio recording.

What is it about the 40’s that you find so fascinating?

It was mostly the story about the original Spade Cooley that was gravitated to, hence the naming of the band after him.  The original Spade Cooley was an extremely successful entertainer, both with his weekly musical variety show and in Hollywood as a body double/stunt man at times.  But his story takes a very tragic turn we won’t go into here.  David thought that Spade Cooley’s story was much like a “typical country song” that speaks of loss and what not after having-it-all, hence the nod from the band to the namesake.  In another irony, the first fiddle tune that Neal learned when he was 8 years old was “Devil’s Dream”; that’s what Spade often opened his shows with, and the band Asleep at the Wheel does so often as well.

Do you tend to take a different approach when you are covering someone else rather than in your own?

Yes, very much a different approach when covering someone else.  For the album, and especially with “Brown-Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison, we relied on the coaching of Raul Valery, the head of the Music Production program at Valencia College in Orlando, Florida.  Raul was instrumental in creating, dare it be said again, an “organic” sound with our cover of the oft-recorded song.  We decided to use our band strengths with a more acoustic play at it — dual vocals and harmonies, percussion using non-traditional instruments, and diversity with the fiddle, both plucking and using the bow.  Most who have heard our version of the tune love the product. 🙂

What role does Florida play in your music?

Florida is at the core of the Ashtray Change album, that’s for sure.  Most of the songs reflect on David Dorr’s upbringing and ultimately failed relationships.  Neal Phillips’ tune “Songwriter” was inspired by an experience at a Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) conference, but outside of that, just about every song on the album has something to do with living in Florida.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

Nearly all the songs were inspired by David Dorr’s background, though “We Ain’t Blind” and “You Know” have messages for the greater population and middle class.

Any plans to hit the road?

Well, we did have plans!  We had signed on with the firm Bread & Circuses, Inc. to do a 10 city tour starting in April – June of 2019.  We were really looking forward to that, but then Bread & Circuses folded!!  That was the worst.  We’re trying to get back the money we had paid them for their services, though we didn’t receive any.  So, yes, we definitely want to hit the road and are “all ears” to any promoter, tour manager, or band needing help on a tour or with spot performances.  We want to move way out of central Florida with our music. 🙂

What else is happening next in Spayed Koolie’s world?

We’ll be releasing a number of singles on the Texas Red Dirt charts via CDX Nashville.  “We Ain’t Blind” will be the first of those.  We’re also talking to Marilyn Swick about a possible music video to accommodate that track.  Neal is attending the Americana Music Association conference in September and hoping to make some tour connections.  And, Spayed Koolie has been invited to play as one of four bands on the card for the Friday night of the 2018 Ocoee Founders’ Day event — the card is Spayed Koolie, Runaway June, Scotte McCreery, and Jake Owen.  So we have a number of things simmering right now, but we would definitely like to turn up the heat!

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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