[Interview] Moonshine Bandits : The Circus Just Came to Town
“The Circus Just Came to Town!”
By Christian Cipollini
Genres? Categories? Musical typecasting? Hell no, not with the Moonshine Bandits! Their unique brand of sounds and style would be difficult to pigeonhole anyway. But, they do love to dive right into new and exciting musical adventures, playing with a diverse cast of artists and playing to an open minded fun loving audience. “We call our band the travelling circus!” says Moonshine Bandit Tex. “When we roll out of town – we just like to have a good time.” As their latest album Calicountry climbs the Billboard chart, the list of show and event appearances grows, and the border-smashing diversity of their fanbase explodes… the good times are truly rolling for the Moonshine Bandits.
Rebel Row: Looking back over the course of the band’s career, what’s changed or improved the most leading up to the release of Calicountry?
Tex: Actually I never thought we’d be charted on Billboard. It’s been a long progression but this album is doing very well so we are really excited about it. We took a different approach in writing and recording this album. Before, on our previous albums, we kind of took a hip hop approach where a lot of stuff is done by email. A producer will come up with some music and send it through email. This album we went out to Nashville, sat there with musicians, all of us working together as a team. We feel this album is above and beyond all of our previous ones, and we are really pumped up about it. I think this is process we are going to use from this point on. The vibe is different. It’s a totally different animal to work in person.
RR: For those that perhaps never heard the Moonshine Bandits special blend of music, how would you explain the sound, the lifestyle?
Tex: We call our band the travelling circus! When we roll out of town – we like to have a good time. Those shows, those different demographics – it’s something that’s pretty amazing to cross over into all those different genres. There’s one time we got off the tour with Insane Clown Posse to do a one-off show with country artists like Luke Bryan and Toby Keith. To be able to do that… I don’t think there’s another band that can do that so we are very blessed. Our fans don’t care about a genre, as long as it’s good and they can jam out to it. We have been blessed our music can crossover like that. They are going to get hell raising music. I always said leave the genres for the record labels. Music should have no boundaries. We never set out and said we gotta do a country rap album or a country album. A lot of artists are crossing over boundaries. It’s a different ball game out there.Today kids are walking around with a jukebox with their ipods. They form a playlist that will maybe have David Allen Coe on it and Skid Row.
RR: You’ve worked with many different types of artists, but we’ve heard Hank III is one you’d really like to collaborate with.
Tex: Oh man we’ve wanted to work with Hank for so long. He’s just a badass. I’m so impressed a guy like that can rock a three hour set, going from metal stuff to country stuff. We’d love to fly out to wherever he’s at just to do one song! Our fans would go crazy over that.
RR: Your fans are also going crazy over some branded products. Tell us about the ‘shine.’
Tex: We got our own moonshine. Now it’s statewide in California. It’s also in Georgia and New York and online. Outlawshine.com has Peach, Apple Pie or the Original flavor. You didn’t see much moonshine out here on the West Coast. We go to a lot of biker events and saw a lot of shine, so we hooked up with a distiller in Modesto and next thing you know we got our own brand in stores. There are so many now, since the tv show hit. We need to get a little better distribution to supply the demand.
RR: And you have a very big fan of the beef jerky?
Tex: Violent J from Insane Clown Posse is a good friend of ours. He told us that he likes our music, took us on tour and next thing you know he’s sending his wife out to buy bags of our jerky! Every once in a while we’ll send him some bags. I think it’s the best tasting jerky.
RR: How do you generally feel about putting the band’s name on products?
Tex: We don’t want to slap our brand on everything. Don’t want to water it down and we want everything to be good. I’ve said if there’s any competitor out there wants to do a blindfold taste test for moonshine – we’ll put up a thousand dollars prize – you match us on the cash prize and have a third party decide who’s is better and publicize the hell out of it… see who wins. That’s how confident I am with the moonshine.
RR: The new single We All Country has some interesting guest appearances. What are your thoughts on this track?
Tex: I think it’s an anthem type song. It has Colt Ford, plus Sarah Ross who I think will be the first to use country and hip-hop together. She just killed this song too. We filmed the video in the backwoods with some real country people.
RR: Speaking of videos, you’ve also had an appearance in the past by Tera Patrick.
Tex: Oh yeah Tera! We’ve seen some of her work! She was in our video for Dive Bar Beauty Queen. She’s a humble, everyday girl. And we found out she was also from central California and that added to the coolness.
RR: Final thoughts, what’s on the Moonshine Bandits agenda for the rest of the year?
Tex: We’re finishing up the tour with The Lacs, then some one-offs like Brantley Gilbert, then Sturgis – which is our first time there. We’re headlining X Fest in Modesto and then another biker festival in September. In November we are going to try and record our next album. I can’t say where or who, but Detroit has been talked about.