Monday, February 01, 2016

The night I met John Schneider

       It's 1981 or '82, I'm guessing around 7pm.  The fat bass line from Waylon Jennings' signature song starts thumping.  I'm on the floor with a toy model of the General Lee. The real one is on the TV screen tearing down a dirt road. One hand is on my toy car, both eyes are on the TV.  When it zigs and zags so does my toy.  At the end of the song there is silence, except for a drawn out "yeeeee haaaaaw", both from the TV and from me as the General Lee is flying over a valley in slow motion, and I have risen to my feet to ensure that my car's jump can match it's jump.
      I don't recall much else from The Dukes of Hazzard other than when Bo and Luke went sliding over the hood and into the car via the open windows (the doors were welded shut, my brother told me), the music started and so did the car chase.  This went on for a couple of years.  Bo and Luke Duke were a part of my life.  Etched into my brain forever.  As with everything else, time goes on and other interests come in and out of your life, but you take it with you.
     I'm not sure how John Schneider found his way to Holden, Louisiana to open John Schneider Studios, but last Summer they hosted Shakespeare in the Swamp :A Midsummer Night's Dream.  A play that they put their own spin on.  They were looking for musical acts as openers, and a cousin of mine who is in the film industry recommended me.  As Buck and I rolled East from a Friday night Houston gig we had no idea what to expect.  I'd never played for theater crowds before (theaters, sure.  never fans of the theater).  We rolled up, plugged in and went to work.  The audience was very kind.  (Editor's note: Playing music for a bar crowd vs. playing for a listening audience is about as comparable as night and day.  Both are necessary in what some call "paying dues", and both prepare you for and make you appreciative of the other.)
      As Buck and I were packing up, shaking a few hands and selling a few cds I heard a slight commotion.  It was the crowd's reaction to being in the presence of a star.  John Schneider had slipped into the venue and onto the stage, and was motioning for me to join him there.  I dropped my quarter inch and xlr cables and ran back onto the stage to shake hands with the host of the evening.  He encouraged the enthusiastic crowd to give us one more round of applause.  He asked me a couple of questions about the album I was selling from the tailgate of my truck, repeating my answers aloud so the crowd could hear them with his no need for a microphone stage voice.  He asked the price of the cd as to inform the crowd.  "only $10" I said."Only $10! and there's one...two....sixteen songs?  that's a heck of a deal" he said, getting the crowd laughing and loose.  "Some of those songs are worth more than others" I said.  This made him really laugh, which made the crowd really laugh.
       It's 2015, I'm guessing around 7pm, and I'm standing on stage with John Schneider.  He has my cd in his hand. In my hand, I can feel a toy model of the General Lee.





Sunday, January 03, 2016

2016 January

Jan 8  I will be at the Silver Slipper in Leonville, La.  Cool place if ya haven't been.  There's a reason I take the gig there every month. 6:30 show time. Just me and the guitar.

Jan 15 return to the Blue Moon Saloon in Lafayette, La.  Our old stomping grounds. In support of Julian Primeaux's cd release party. Come have a gunslinger (ice cold Shlitz and a shot of Jack) like old times. Full band show.  Doors open at 8. We'll start whenever Julian wants us too.

Cool Weather (our new single) is ready to roll.  Video is almost finished by the talented Arte Richard, brother of the craftsman Troy Richard. (Pronounced Ree-Shard yankee) Live album is close to finished.  That pic you see there is me in Central Park a couple years ago.  My wife thought it fit well with the Cool Weather thing.  She's smarter than me so I took her advice.  Speaking of NYC have you seen Man on Wire yet?  It's on Netflix. Man.  Watch it.  And really try to think about what this guy did.  Unbelievable.  I'm watching it again tonight.

I have 8 or 9 new tunes picked out of a batch from the last couple of years.  Plan is to record them with just a couple of instruments soon as we get this live album out there.

Thank you for reading this.  Thank you for listening to our music.  You share it with your friends.  You take a picture of one of my songs playing while you're cruising down some old highway and you put it on Twitter or Instagram or FB and you say something sweet.  That's what it's all about.  Trust me, I see all of that, and it makes me want to punch the wall I'm so proud.  Chances are you and I know each other or we've talked somewhere.  Thanks for being a part of it.  You're the salt of the earth.  See y'all somewhere this year I'm sure.


Ps-  looks like cdbaby posted every one of my songs on YouTube.  So if that's how you listen to music, enjoy!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Band Bio

Louisiana native Mike Dean's songs continue to give us a glimpse into the places and people around him.  Longtime bass player and friend Buck Verret puts it this way: "Nothing fancy, no gimmicks.  Just words and music from a man who has been there and done that.  When we have a show to do we plug in and get to work."  His original songs have become trademarks, bringing a host of fans locally and across the globe.  Live shows feature mostly Dean's works, with the occasional influential cover.  When discussing influences, he says "It's a deep well.  It feels like I've done a million shows by myself.  Some of these bars (playing) four hours it's just me and the acoustic guitar, and it feels like one long song.  When you strip a song down to it's bones, down to the chords and the lyrics, it's easy to see how they all come from the same place.  Don't matter if it's a Springsteen or a Waylon song, Tom Petty or George Jones, or one of mine, three chords and the truth is as far as you can fall."   Dean and his band (Buck Verret on bass, Travis Domingue on drums, Ken Veron and Brian Marshall on electric guitars, and Jason Valdetero on piano) have been regulars in the Acadiana music scene for over 10 years.   2012 marked the release of their 4th studio album, Middle Ground.  Dean's smoky vocals and distinctive phrasing are the common thread that Louisiana locals have come to expect from his projects. Fellow Lafayette troubadour Dege Legg once described Dean and the gang as "George Jones meets Crazy Horse."
Their energetic live shows fuse honky tonk with rock n roll, reminiscent of a roadhouse existence.  When asked about what's next, he again mentions a well known New Jersey songwriter: "I'm doing it, man.  Like the song (Badlands) says 'Talk about a dream, try to make it real.  Don't waste your time waiting.' I live with highs and lows, but this is what I do.  And I'm not waiting for anyone to tell me I can or I can't."
 In March 2015,  Dean self-released a complication album featuring fan favorites from the first 4 studio albums titled Muster.  A Live album and new studio album are on the horizon for 2016.