So how did your set go today?
It was awesome!! We kicked off the main stage. We watched the people trickle in and start to party. It was fun!
What’s it like having to do all these festivals and then going back to the smaller circuit?
Well, I mean we are doing a mix-match of all kinds of stuff. We are getting ready to go out with Guns and Roses next month which kind of makes the festival look small. I think every show is a show. It doesn’t matter how many people are there, we have to bring it regardless.
I heard that you are going with Guns and Roses to Iceland.
It’s going to be the largest show in the history of Iceland!!
How does that make you feel knowing you’re going to do something historic like that?
It’s pretty cool, you know. We got to do that in Israel. We played the largest show there. At the end of the day it’s all about making as many people as you can have fun using rock n’ roll!
I read at seven you got your first guitar because of Elvis. Was it because of the music or his attitude?
It was both. I didn’t realize that Elvis wasn’t playing the guitar that much. I was drawn to Scotty Moore’s playing. I thought the way Elvis carried himself, the attitude was intriguing. So, it probably was a mix-match of both.
You were into the old school blues. You got into that early on. You started out with all the old masters before you got into the Stevie Ray Vaughn’s and the Jeff Beck’s
I learned about Muddy Waters before Iearned about Jimi Hendrix. Kinda chronological order.
Do you think that helped you out learning the foundation before you got into the other guys?
Yea, man. I think I understood it a little bit more and I think it’s the same with Graham. Like you said, we learned how to lay down the foundation before we learned about the houses that were built upon the same foundation. That way when I heard Led Zeppelin I was like “Oh wait, that’s an Elmore James song”
Do you think that helps you out with your songwriting?
Yea, I think so. Just being inspired by music in general helps. Any time I feel like I’m not inspired to write a song, normally finding five or six records that are fresh and make you feel good will give you something
So, at 17 you moved to Nashville. Was that because of family or music?
No, my family is all in Texas still. I moved because I wanted to start a band.
So that was your motivation?
I wanted to be a songwriter and starting a band kind of happened. I wanted to tour around and make music.
How did you manage to get Graham to come to Nashville
Graham: It was easy I love playing with a band and I fell in love with Nashville. It was easy. I went to Berkley College of Music for a semester. I’m not much of a school person to start. So, when I had the opportunity to start playing with Tyler, I fell in love with Nashville and have been there ever since.
So, you went to Berkley for a semester. What do you think is a better teacher? Being out on the road and on the stage or school?
Graham: There is definitely value to both. But being on the road is the best teacher. Playing in front of people, it depends on what you’re doing obviously.
Tyler: You can practice until your hands bleed. But you’ll get it right when you have to get it right. When there’s a crowd right in front of you. It’s sink or swim. That’s when it sinks in for me, at least.
Is there anybody here today that you’re excited to see?
Unfortunately, we have to get on the road to New York City. But, we toured with Zakk Wylde and Black Label Society. So, if we could stick around we would watch Ozzy and Zakk. That’s historic. I would love to see Stone Temple Pilots with their new singer and see how that goes. I’m such a huge fan of the Deleo brothers
Out of another genre of music – who someone you would love to play with? Not just blues or rock, but something completely different.
I’ll name two off the top of my head – Rodney Crowell as far as country music goes. I think he’s a tremendous songwriter. As far as hip hop goes, I’d like to do a song with Machine Gun Kelly. I think it’s cool how he incorporates certain guitar riffs into his records. I’ve actually talked to him about it a little bit. I think I’m going to put the pressure on him. So, print that! MGK let’s do a song together!!!
Any word on a new album coming out?
Yea, we’ve been writing a lot of songs. Graham and I have written a couple of really cool ones together. We have seven songs from the Wayside EP that haven’t been released yet that we are going to put out this year. So that’s exciting and we have a ton of tour dates that we are about to announce. I can’t really talk about who they’re with yet because they haven’t been officially announced yet. We are going to be on the road a lot this year.
EP’s or Albums. What do you prefer?
Albums one hundred and fifty percent!
Why is that?
As a listener I just think it’s better. I want to sit down, put on a record, hang out, and go a journey with a band. I feel like with EP’s it’s as soon as the journey gets going, it’s over. We released the Wayside EP because that’s what Republic Records chose to do. We made it a full album originally. So that’s why we’ve been fighting to get those other seven tracks back. It was 13 songs that got cut down to six, which was a huge bummer to us because we make records with a sequence as if it’s a movie or a book, where it goes excitement, and then it chills out and then it’s action!
It’s a lot harder to have those peaks and valleys on an EP. It seems like major labels in America are single driven right now too. It’s like we are gonna put out one or two songs of this band and they can tour on that for 2-3 years. Maybe it’s because we have dumbed ourselves down so much with cellphones and spellcheck and stuff, and we can only process so much because we are shrinking our minds. I want to put on the record and read the liner notes, look at the art work, and take in the whole experience of the band as it was intended to be. I’m kinda old fashioned like that. If bands are selling millions of singles, more power to them. I do appreciate records. Me, honestly, I would rather do records than make singles.
You want your journey out there for the fans to enjoy.
Yea, also this band as soon as we I have a portable recording studio out with us on the road. We are always writing. Like as soon as we get home from the tour. Even when we are out on the road sometimes. We end up with so many songs.
I guess you like your new label better:
We made the record and licensed it to them. We made the whole album before the deal was done.
Oh, so they had no choice in the matter. It was like this is our package, take it or leave it?
Yea, and they’re great. They’ve done a great job.
Did you find that worked better than Republic?
We did. It’s been a great journey and we are ready to make a new one.
Are you going to do the same thing?
This company is all about records. They have a strong presence in the UK, and the people in the UK love vinyl. That’s coming back in America, too!
It’s been great chatting, Tyler, and Graham. Thank you for your time and have a safe journey!
Be sure to check out Splice’s entire Fort Rock coverage!
Journalist: Mark Matson