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A Dirty Dozen with CHRISTOPHER SHAYNE – January 2021

| 24 January 2021 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “Blood, sweat, and guts. These are three of the core elements required of artists who set out to make music that’s steadfast, honest, and true. And if you’re going to make the kind of music that’s embedded in the finest, deepest-rooted Southern rock traditions, then you better be ready, willing, and able to deliver the goods straight up, no chaser. Arizona southern rocker CHRISTOPHER SHAYNE is expected to do just that with his highly anticipated debut EP, TEN HIGH, out today via Carry On Music on all digital outlets. His band that also performs on the EP includes Dave Lansing (lead guitar), Mark Blades (vocals/bass guitar), Zachary Hughes (keyboards, vocals, guitar), and Trevor Hammer (drums) who has been replaced by drummer Eric Bongiorno for future live performances.” We get Christopher to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

Photo credit: Daniel Valdez

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 you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

This EP is our first step into capturing some raw tones for the band. We were very used to production pieces, but for this we approach everything with a very early AC/DC vibe. It’s got a little bit of everything on here for people who like southern rock and country. For this particular EP, we sought to keep things in the theme of what they were. So you might not hear any secrets but the original version of “Just Get Drunk” used our internal catch phrase of “Since you was.” It was basically our way of saying, “since you’re fixing a drink, make me one too.” I’m still pretty sad that lyric didn’t make it to the final version.

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

I think it was my very first show. I was always around music and played guitar through high school, but it could have just been another hobby. It probably helped that our first show was opening for Steel Panther! We had written some songs and recorded stuff but it didn’t feel real until getting on that stage. When I felt the rush from that crowd, it was addicting and there was no turning back. I had basically made my mind up that this is what I was going to do come hell or high water.

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

R.L. Burnside was probably my biggest influence musically once I got past my angsty teen years. Once I dove head first into blues music and heard what could be done with it and what RL did with it, I had to be a part of it. When I heard “Ass Pocket of Whiskey” I was floored. I didn’t know you could make a record like that. It was blues but raw and punk. After that I changed the way I played, my tunings, my outlook, everything. It definitely put me where I am today.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Aerosmith, R.L. Burnside, ZZ Top, Queens of the Stone Age, and The Darkness.

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

I’d LOVE to work with Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age. His approach to music, how he looks at melodies and musical compositions is just so cool. Everything he’s been a part of just oozes cool and sarcasm. I just want to see how he writes and arranges. That would be an interesting session!

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?

I always describe our sound as Lynyrd Skynyrd meets Soundgarden. It’s southern rock, a little country, with a little edge in there. I get compared to Ted Nugent ALL. THE. TIME. I went to a Halloween party without a costume and got asked to take pictures with people, because they thought I was dressed as Ted. I was just…me! The songs are legendary and it is flattering, but …no.

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

Dave is the cook and the main mixer. He knows all the ins and outs and recipes and pairings. If we’re in a bind, he’s got the medicine. Zach WILL NOT stop playing the guitar. He’s the reason why when we have band meetings, we have a strict no guitar policy or else it’s important information in between noodles. He’d definitely be the first to try to start that campfire sing along. Although we can’t convince him to play Sammy Hagar era Van Halen for some reason.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

I really don’t get starstruck often, but the one time I was speechless was when I was backstage for a local benefit and I met Tommy Shaw from Styx. I was just standing there, he walks up and shakes my hand and no words came out. It was “Wayne and Garth meet Alice Cooper” all over again. I’m not even a huge Styx fan, but for some reason he was the guy. I’m shocked that was the moment and I still have no idea why it was him.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

There’s magic about controlling a crowd. When you can get to that point where they’re in the palm of your hand and everyone is together in the moment, there is no substitute for that. The feeling of being there in the moment with everyone in the space is something that can only be accomplished from being a musician and going to a show. I’d probably end up being a writer. I just love that form of expression and creating something that wasn’t there before. I’m constantly writing non-musical things in my spare time so it seems like it’d be an easy fit.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I’m thankful this band is named after me, because you could always tell an interviewer didn’t do their homework when they’d ask, “How’d you get your name?” I’m glad I don’t get that anymore, unless someone wants to get into some weird genealogy stuff. “Ever had a moment when you had to replace all of your gear on tour?” One stop on a tour in Texas, there were some pretty ominous clouds on the horizon. We show up and it’s outside on a second story platform-thing and a tent over the top. Like something you’d find a street fair type tent. It wasn’t strapped down, just lightly placed on stage. Well, we start playing and the storm picks up… and the tent with it. The wind blows this thing clear off the stage, but one of the poles managed to snag my amp with it. It flies backwards and tumbles down off the platform and no more show. Luckily, it was the last stop of the tour, but I learned some important lessons about insurance and having a backup that day.

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?

I’d definitely like an attitude do over! I spent way too much time as an early musician worrying about what other people think and it really hampered my creativity and my potential. It ruined a lot of friendships and prospects. I’m glad I went through it to learn more about myself, but there was a lot of wasted energy that could have been spent doing the right thing instead of on stress and heartaches.

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?

I’m sure being there for all the classics would be fun, but I’d probably be the most interested in the recording of the Them Crooked Vultures record. There’s really nothing that sounds like that record and just seeing how they came up with some of those ideas would be amazing. That much talent in the room and them bouncing ideas off each other would have been incredible to watch. That record is so unique. When I first heard it, I must have played that album 20 times in a row and heard something different every time.

BONUS QUESTION – Due to the current world situation with COVID-19 / quarantine / shelter in place, what have you discovered you miss the most from your life before the pandemic struck?

The freedom to go out when I want. Now every time I leave my house, I think about the consequences of my actions. I was a homebody before all of this, but now that I don’t have the option to go out, it’s killing me. I feel like I didn’t get invited to the party. I wasn’t planning on going anyway but I at least want to say that I can’t make it.





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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