Ronnie Shirley (@LizardLickTowin) Interview: Living The Lick Life
“Living The Lick Life”
By Miss Rainey Dae & Jesse James
Fans might know Ronnie Shirley from the TruTV series “Lizard Lick Towing”, but he’s also been waiving the flag for entire hick-hop lifestyle with the release of his stellar new EP titled “Lick Life”. Most reality stars that make the forray into music end up with disasterous results, but Ronnie’s music is just another extension of his life with as he pours his southern soul out on the album with impressive results. The end result of Ronnie is slick album that bangs out the speakers as the soundtrack to your summer bash.
Rebel Row caught up with Ronnie Shirley to talk about his new album, his TruTV series “Lizard Lick Towing”, and why success and fame hasn’t had on this country boy.
Rebel Row: Most people would recognize you as Ronnie from truTV’s “Lizard Lick Towing”. Has music always been an ambition or is it something more recently that has peaked your interest?
Ronnie Shirley: I’ve always been inspired by written poetry and to me the best songs are simply poetry related through a microphone to music. Since Hick Hop has come out I have realized it’s a genre to allow me to express my views on life, love, family, religious and personal beliefs in a way that people not only hear, but understand.
RR: Main musical influences personally and where did you draft the inspiration for this EP?
RS: I grew up listening to southern fried rock and blues. Bands like AC/DC, Lynard Skynard, Fast Domino, Cab Callaway, but I was also big into story tellers like Marty Robbins and Jimmy Dean. Those stories are able to touch hearts and motivate. The inspiration for this EP was to have a song about my wife, a song about my favorite past time (bow hunting), and a song about my personal beliefs and staying true to my family and God.
RR: What was your main motivation for finally stepping into the booth and recording an album?
RS: I’ve learned that telling people to treat others the way you want to be treated doesn’t quite have as much of an impact as tellng them that even a dog knows the difference in being stepped on and kicked. When we come into this world we enter with absolutely nothing and when we depart from this world the only real thing that we leave behind is our legacy. So, my main motivation was that years from now, long after the dirt has hardened over my bones and my name remembered on anyone’s lips, my legacy, which is my family will still be able to hear my thoughts, my voice, and my love for them.
RR: For this album you worked with Dee Jay Silver, who is the hottest country DJ in the industry at the moment. How did you two hook up and how did you land him to work on your album?
RS: When the show first started, Silver reached out to us and invited us to a Jason Aldean concert. From the first handshake I could tell that he was cut from a rug that few people will ever have the luxury of seeing. The EP and the album was Silver’s idea. As our friendship grew and we became brothers he felt like the views that I have and the way I live my life should be shared with the world. You meet a lot of people in life that are game-changers and you meet very few that are world-shapers and Silver is at the head of the pack in both categories.
RR: This EP is just a little taste, can we expect to see a full-length coming at any point in the future?
RS: You know we stay busier than a bumble bee in a bucket of tar and trying to get me and Silver back in a studio together is harder than trying to herd blind chickens or put lipstick on a rooster. However, there is still a few stories that I have left untold and a few more bits of Lizard Lick wisdom that I would like to share with the world, so I would definitely keep your eyes open for one.
RR: The country rap scene is blowing up at the moment with Big Smo landing his own A&E TV series. What do you think this will do for the scene
RR: I never speak negatively about anyone, but I will say that no one lands a show on their own. It is always a group effort and it is always the people that are around them, support them, and do most of the work from the shadows. Any show is great exposure depending on how you represent yourself, your industry, and your passions. From what I have seen of the show, I don’t feel it represents Hick Hop, I feel like it represents the artist himself. With that being said, I do feel it brings attention to the genre and I think it will open doors, spike curiosity, and lead to a much wider exposure for the entire industry. All the way back to Charlie Daniels “Devil Went Down to Georgia”, country rap has been on the scene for years and I think the society and country folk have just been scared to use the moniker Hick Hop or intertwine the word rap with anything country. If you go all the way back to Bobby Bear when he sang “The Winner” and transitioned up to when Cowboy Troy and Bubba Sparxxx put this genre into a national spotlight there has been many great artists and acts that have paved the way for Big Smo’s show to see daylight. After being on reality TV for 6 years I know first hand how hard it is to stay true to your way or life, your beliefs, and to those around you because most folks treat you like a 10 year old rented government mule. I wish Smo the best and I hope his show becomes worldwide and is a great platform to launch the Hick-Hop genre, but I also hope that he stays true to singing about the things that brought him to this level- America, family, and farming aka the country way of life. I pray he doesn’t get pulled into the vacuum of “battles”- thug life and hardcore themes with overtones that don’t help encourage or raise the next generation of children.
RR: You have a beautiful family, do the kids enjoy daddies music and get down?!?
RS: There is not a day I don’t get in the truck and the kids don’t want me to play “Drop That Boom” or “As Good As It Gets”. Every time we go out to shoot our Bowtechs I have to play “Full Draw” for them. Keep in mind if these songs are appealing to you at all it’s only because of what inspired me and the artists on the EP like Charlie Farley, Locash Cowboys, Marty Ray Project, Kyle from Matchbox 20, and the magical touches of Phivestarr Production and Deejay Silver.
RR: How hard was it to take the time away from the business and family?
RS: Memories are made from moments, but a moment must be validated in order for it to become a memory. So the hardest part of this journey is knowing that the greatest memories I could have ever made never became for I wasn’t there in the moments. Life is about sacrifice enduring trials and tribulations and trying to balance family, business, responsibility, and finances. The path we have chosen keeps us on the road for filming or out of country days on end. Thus you have to weigh at times what your giving your children, the life you have built your children, the foundation they stand upon, and the future you are providing… is it worth the time you’re losing with them? My greatest daily struggle is always feeling like no matter how hard I try I am not the father, husband, best friend, or leader that I should be. So, time away is ALWAYS hard, but I do it for the ones I love the most, not myself.
RR: With that, are you planning on a tour if so where should we expect to catch you on the road?
RS: I don’t look at myself as a musical artist and to be honest with as busy as my life is now I would rather skinny dip with snapping turtles or slide down a mountain of razor-blades naked into a pool of rubbing alcohol than go on tour. You can catch me on the road somewhere every weekend meeting fans, shaking babies, and kissing hands or you can meet me on the road by not paying your car payment looking out the window to see if you GET LICKED, but that’s the only way you are going to meet me on the road… not singing on stage.
RR: Tell us a little bit about the “Lizard Lick Towing” tv series and how that came about?
RS: Most people don’t realize that Amy is a world Champion power lifter and at one time she held 24 State, National, and World records at two organizations. She is also an unbeaten MMA fighter and a licensed mortician Mix that in with a guy that wears a hair cut like I do, is from the town Lizard Lick, and has more sayings than the book of Proverbs and you got a reality show. We’ve been here since 1997 and in 2008, Wifeswap contacted us and because of Amy’s history wanted us to be on their show. I was more excited than a hungry baby in a topless bar, but Amy said they had a better chance of Lindsey Lohan not drinking at a free open bar. She didn’t want to put our kids in that type of environment . So, they sent a camera to film Amy at the funeral home and me repossessing. The camera man showed up and said he was from the Broncs and was tougher than Tarzan feet and there was only two men in this world that he was scared of… one was his father and the other didn’t live in the south. Six hours and one gun shot later he was headed back up north faster than a cheetah on an am-track and by close of business day there was a contract on my desk and the rest is Lick Life.
RR: What has been the biggest change for you personally since the TV series launched?
RS: You know, now I have to shop at Walmart at 2:00 AM. If I want to go out and get a steak with my family I have call one of my buddies or go over to my mamma’s house and it seems like during the fall even the deer know who I am because lately they have been avoiding me like the plague, but I have no complaints. I tell everybody God put us here and fans keep us here. I get to work with youth all over the world and get the chance to make young kids smile, old folks laugh, and for just 30 minutes a week allow a family to sit together and loose their self in Lick Life.
RR: Do you remember your first experience being recognized in public as a ‘celebrity’ and what that was like?
RS: I’ll never be a celebrity. I’m country as cornflakes and gooder than grits, a simple southern man. I’m still a mamma’s boy and believe that I’ll never be famous though I might be emphases. I do remember the first time I got recognized in public. The show had aired on a Sunday after a NASCAR race and me, Amy, and the kids rode out to do a little fishing and we stopped by the store to grab crickets and drinks and these 3 teenagers ran up to us and asked for a picture. So, I stood there like a mule chewing on bumble bees grinning ear to ear like a baked possum as they took their pictures. I thanked them as they went to leave and was headed to the truck to tell Amy about it when I heard one of them say “I can’t believe that “Guy Fieri” was in lizard Lick”. So, that was my first brush with fans.
RR: What is in store for the upcoming season of the show and what can we expect?
RS: You get to see more of our family, more of our lives, and more of the inter-workings of Lizard Lick and of course repos that are nuttier than a porter potty in a peanut festival. Some cast members leave for good and we finally get rid of some “roochs” (redneck hoochies) But, by the end of the season you should finally understand why we call it Lick Life.
In closing, I just want to say thanks to God for all the opportunities, to Dee Jay Silver for being a brother, and to all the fans that watch us faithfully week in and week out. Make sure to support the new Hick Hop genre. It’s hard to find a meet and greet where I am that I’m not pumpin Bubba Sparxxx, DeeJay Silver, The Lacs, Jawga Boys, Redneck Soliders, Charlie Farley, Demun Jones, Danny Boone, Cowboy Troy, Colt Ford, LoCash Cowboys, Marty Ray Project, JB and the Moonshine Band, Lenny Cooper, Sarah Ross, BottleNeck, and other great artists in this genre. Make sure to follow us on our social medias, check out our online store for our Lizard Lick Swag, get your copy of my EP, or drop us an email at www.lizardlicktowing.com. Huge thank you to Rebel Row for taking the time to promote all these great artists and a genre that’s gonna lick the music industry.