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A Dirty Dozen with AMERICAN MERIT – January 2021

| 7 January 2021 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “Texas based rock band AMERICAN MERIT has released the official music video for their Southern Blues infused, debut single, “City.” American Merit is a Roots Rock’N’Roll band from Texas. The lineup consists of Alex Smith, Daniel Lightfoot, Russell McClendon, and Evan Shepperd. A project 2 years in the making, American Merit is set to release several singles in December of 2020. Expect loud drums and over driven guitars with a groove. If you were looking for it, you’ve found it.” We get the band to discuss new music, reflection on his past, and much more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

“Ghost” itself is kind of deceptive as far as the groove of the song not representing the melancholy nature of the lyrics. I wouldn’t say there are any “hidden gems” necessarily, but we find that most people don’t catch on to the sort of hopeless and dire theme to the lyrics.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

Evan: Hearing my dad play drums as a kid was definitely it for me.

Alex: Listening to Amy Grant Christmas albums.

Russell: Seeing MTV for the first time and hearing “TV Killed the Radio Star.”

Daniel: My parents both listened to great music while I was growing up so I always have been interested in music. My grandfather played guitar so seeing someone play who really knew the instrument really made me want to start playing.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

Evan: I saw Godsmack in 2006 and I was blown away at the dual drum solo.

Alex: Rick James “Superfreak”

Russell: Seeing Uncle Lucious for the first time.

Daniel: My first concert was Van Halen back in 2004 and seeing Eddie Van Halen play live opened up a whole new world of what was possible on a guitar.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Rolling Stones, Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, Allman Brothers, and Tom Petty.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Living: Dave Grohl – he plays every instrument well and has written great timeless music for decades. Dead: Levon Helm – he was the man.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

We are a straight up roots rock band. Anytime we get called “country” it makes us flinch a little honestly.

7. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

You make so much money and everyone always tells you the truth. Kidding… Getting to do what you love in front of people that show up to hear it.

8. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

To-go breakfast tacos are kind of our go to, so we don’t do a whole lot of cooking together. Daniel is the first one to get the guitar out and Evan and Russell are definitely the first to get the drinks out.

9. When was the last time you were star struck and who was it?

Daniel: Sammy Hagar about 15 years ago.

Evan: Tony Hawk when I was 13 (and I got to give him a high 5).

Russell: Alex and I got to open up for Charlie Daniels in our previous band.

10. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

Evan: a lumberjack

Alex: Video Game tester

Russell: Professional Fisherman

Daniel: Chef

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

No regerts.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Alex: Tom Petty Damn the Torpedos it was the first Petty album I ever heard and he’s been a huge influence since.





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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