First thank you to accept to answer to our questions for our southern webzine.
RTJ : Grinderswitch is back ! First, can you introduce us to the members of the group that play with you on this album, and can you tell us how did you meet them ?
DRU LOMBAR :
1.Eddie Stone Keyboards/vocals
2.Steve Miller Bass /vocals
3.Jack Corcaran /Guitar
4.Wally Condon / Drums
I have known Eddie since the 70s from Doc Holiday.
when I decided to reform the band I called Him
and he said he wanted to be a part of Grinderswitch
Steve Miller is a veteran musician who has been living in Jax the last 10 years. Jack suggested we try him out, What a talent!
Jack is a young Blues player from around Jax. All the other guys I talked to were too Jaded. Jack is like a clean slate. He just keeps learning more and more.
Wally is my partner in Platinum Audio, our recording studio we do a lot of demos for songwriters so I figured if we can record together we should probably play together.
RTJ : This new album was waited for all the southern family, because this group is now a myth. Can you recall us what was Grinderswitch in the seventies ?
DRU LOMBAR : I do want to mention the Lady who is singing with me, Her name is Miranda Louise and she's from Nashville and as soon as I can get some tours I will add her to the band. She co wrote 2 of the songs with me. We wrote them in Paris when I had Dr Hector at the Meridien in 1999. She is a great singer and a great Lady !
The history of Grinderswitch is no myth, we were together from 1973 to 1982. We toured with the Allman Bros as well as MTB and CDB. We recorded 7 albums ,we just didn't get the push
like the Allmans or Skynyrd. But when we opened show for everyone we kicked ass!! A few of the bands management kicked us off tours because we would get the positive press write ups. Oh well, that's show business. The seventies even with the tough times hold great memories for me.
RTJ : What was for you as a human being and as a musician Joe Dan Petty ?
DRU LOMBAR : Lets talk about Joe Dan Petty, He exposed me to a lot of Roots Music (Lonnie Mack, Merle Haggard, Albert King etc) and it rally helped shape my style. Being a teenage in the 60s I was Influenced by A lot of the English bands(Stones, Animals, Manfred Mann) as well as instrumental groups like the Ventures and Duane Eddy and soul Artist like Otis Redding ,Wilson Pickett and Ray Charles.
By the time I did the first album I had these different kinds of music in my head. I still do today. Any way Joe Dan also taught me about commitment and keeping your values in order. He was kind of like a Musical Vince Lombardi. He was a very honourable man!
RTJ : What are your best souvenirs of your live performances ? Did you remember when you played at Charlie Daniels' Volunteer Jam ?
DRU LOMBAR : We played 9 or 10 Volunteer Jams, Charlie Daniels was always generous to us and other bands when it came to being included in his career. He was always willing to share the spotlight with everyone. A sure sign of self confidence and Honour. The jams were always a good time as well as a time for seeing other musicians. When your on the road sometimes you don't see anyone but the guys you work with. The southern music circle was a pretty tight knit group. Everybody was friendly with each other. The Jam gave us a chance to visit and catch up on each others lives. I miss that the most, The Brotherhood.
RTJ : This album is now out in Europe. Do you think you can soon come and play in Europe ?
DRU LOMBAR : I can only hope we sell enough cds that promoters will bring us over in the spring.
RTJ : You have written all the tittles of this album, but your drummer, Walter Condon, has created the song that gives his name to the cd, Ghost Train from Georgia. Can you explain us how did he compose this song and does it has a special meaning ?
This song is really great and seems to present Grinderswitch come back.
DRU LOMBAR : I was looking for a song that Had the southern rock flavour and Wally brought this to me and I thought what a story. So we put it together and I thought this is our "Gone With The Wind" song so I got the vocalist from my church and put together a choir
to open and close the song and it turned out pretty cool. To me Wally has written a new Southern Rock CLASSIC.
RTJ : How can you describe today Grinderswitch's music, less country and more blues ?
DRU LOMBAR : The new Grinderswitch has more Blues to it but it is still a mix of threw various roots music I grew up with.
RTJ : Can you tell us about the man that created the album's cover ?
DRU LOMBAR : There are 2 covers of the cd one for the U.S and one for Europe.
The U.S version is a simpler concept while Halycons is a very elaborate concept. VERY COOL !!
I don't know much about the artist who did the Halycon cover except He painted a lot of Great pictures of trains.
I think he has a web page but I don't know the address
RTJ : Eddie Stone comes at the end of November in Europe with John Samuelson.
Do you know him for a long time, and how did he come in Grinderswitch ?
DRU LOMBAR : I' ve known Eddie Stone since 1975.We always were tight with the Doc Holiday band.
When I started putting Grinderswitch back together I asked
Eddie if he wanted to play and he jumped on it's was trying to do the European tour with him but it didn't work out .
RTJ : Has Doctor Hector retired ?
DRU LOMBAR : Dr Hector is pretty much retired. The cost of touring a blues band has gone up but the pay hasn't. NEXT !!
RTJ : When you were a young boy, what kind of music did you listen to ? What were your main influences ?
DRU LOMBAR : I started playing when I was 11 years old and listened to Chuck Berry, Lonnie Mack, The Ventures and Elvis. I love all of the old records. The new music is not very good. I call them cookie cutter stars.
RTJ : How did you discover southern rock ?
DRU LOMBAR : Southern Rock discovered me. I was in the right place at the right time
RTJ : How did you begin to play guitar, and who were your favourite players ?
DRU LOMBAR : When I was 9 or 10 I saw Elvis and he was playing a guitar so I thought
to myself This is what I want to do.
RTJ : Do you still work and how do you train the slide style of playing ?
DRU LOMBAR : The way I practice guitar or Slide guitar is by going out and playing live. Thats where you really find the notes that touch people soul.
RTJ : Do you know and do you enjoy the new generation of southern bands, like Savoy Truffle, Tishamingo or Catawompus that seem to give a new breath to southern rock ?
DRU LOMBAR : I like all the new Southern Rock bands as they attract a younger audience to the genre and new audience goes searching for the source and find the ABB, Skynyrds and of course Grinderswitch.
RTJ : What is, for you, the future of southern rock ?
DRU LOMBAR : There is no doubt about it.90% of the southern rock bands started in Jacksonville. When I was 19 years old There was Skynyrd, Blackfoot, The Allman Bros, Cowboy etc. Our bands had different names but this is who we became. After them there was Molly Hatchet and 38 special. Jacksonville has always been a breeding ground for musicians.
From Ray Charles to Limp Biskit RTJ : I can see that you album, recorded and produced in Jacksonville, does confirm the name of my radio show -Road to Jacksonville- and this means that southern rock comes from Jacksonville, like Molly Hatchet, Lynyrd Skynyrd or Grinderswitch !!
RTJ : At the end of this interview, as we do it for each interview, can you tell us if you have to go on a desert island, what will be the five albums (and 1 or 2 paintings if you want) you take with you ?
DRU LOMBAR : The 5 cds I would have on a desert Island would be
Live at the Regal BB king
Walk don't run The Ventures
The best of Ray Charles Ray Charles
Born Under a bad sign Albert King
Silver Wings Merle Haggard
RTJ : Thank you to accept to answer to our questions.