I feel it's important to pay attention to the guys coming up in music. They often work harder, and sacrifice more than anybody in practicing their craft. The payback is the music. I saw Highspeed Hayride perform at Smokey Wilson's Party in the Pasture, and they tore it up. They have a new album and can be found at a honkey tonk near you.
Highspeed Hayride is: Gene Moreno (Lead Vocals and Rhythm Guitars), Matt Groll (Drums), David Stockton (Bass Guitar and Harmony Vocals), Bo Carter (Lead Guitar and Harmony Vocals)
q. You are a young bunch. But having gone at it for a number of years now,
do you guys see yourselves as veterans at this point?
A-GENE:You never stop paying dues no matter what level of your career. There is always somewhere we’d like to be, other people we’d like to meet, other fans we’d like to play for. The day you lose focus of this, you may as well pack it up. Veterans are the guys kids want to be when they grow up. Hell, I don’t even know if we’ve grown up yet (lol). I’d say we’re veteran due-payers, with more battles yet to come!
A-MATT: I’d say we have defiantly had our fair share of miles but as far as veterans… not so much. We are seasoned and this is far from our first rodeo, but we realize we have a lot to learn and are eager to do so. We might not be able to tell you the right path to take for making music in the business but we damn sure could draw you a map of all the wrong routes we have taken over the years and the lessons we learned from them. Longevity is the number one key to success. Eventually someone has to pay attention, right? Haha.
q. I see from your schedule that Bellamy Bros. and Roger Creager are sharing
billing (and others) at some of your appearances. How do y'all get along
with other bands?
A-GENE:We are a very sharing organization. We understand our place at every show, whether it be support or headlining. We accommodate 100% for the headliner and give 100% praise to the opener depending on our place for the night. Most bands in Texas and even some Nationally have become great friends of ours because of shows together. These friendships make the show go so much smoother, and you can feel the commoradery even from the audience. I think this is hugely why it is important to match the opener and the headliner not only based on style of music.
A-MATT: We do our best to be as easy to work with as possible with other bands and sound crews. Those guys were in our shoes once before and they are generally more than accommodating. Every now and then you will come across a real jerk or two but it typically ends in beers and laughs... sometimes someone is just having a bad day and you have to give them the benefit of the doubt. We try and walk away from every show meeting at least three or four new friends, and co-billing with guys like that is always a great opportunity to learn how things operate in other camps.
q. Do you guys feel you get the music industry respect you deserve?
A-GENE:Being allowed to play music for a living is respect enough. If any musician wants more than that they’ve grown too big for their britches. You can’t make people like your music or you for that matter.
A-MATT:I’d say we are grateful for the support we have been getting. It’s really nice when other bands, DJs, or venue operators take an interest and go out of their way to let us know they appreciate our music and what you do. In the end though, no one owes us anything, we put out music we like and the folks who have supported us since the beginning have really helped turn many more ears our way.
q. "Red Dirt"; "Texas Music" C&W; Rock n Roll; "Americana". Do you guys fit into any of these catagories? How would you guys describe what you are doing musically?
A-GENE:Country…….A little rock influence…….Either way it is all original, we’ll let the people be the judge. Musically speaking. We are letting it come from the heart. We never force a song. People don’t get forced songs. It’s got to be a natural occurrence. We have to sing these songs sometime thousands of times; when you lose count is when you’ve got one from the heart.
q. Your fans like to party. Sometimes really hard. Do they get their
energy from your performances or vice versa, or both?
A-GENE:It’s a reciprocal relationship. We feed off of each other Just like energy there has to be at least 2 elements to complete the circuit, and you can’t have one without the other. Also Jager helps…….
A-MATT:It’s a fair trade I think. We do our best to put our energy out there for the taking, and I think it can have amazing effects on people. It’s funny, sometimes I’ll be sitting behind the guys keeping a beat and I’ll suddenly see David’s hat go airborne due to excessive head banging and stage stomping. As it arcs ever-so-gently through the air I can see through the glare of the lights people smiling and moving to the beat. I think David is like a generator- switch him on, the juice starts flowing, and you can’t help but to bob your head. But on those nights at the end of a long run when you have been awake for two days and all you can think about is home you defiantly have to pull some energy from the crowd and thankfully there is always plenty for the taking. No racks lately but we did get to sign a few thongs. Word of advice- sign small, that little triangle thing in the back is tough to get four names on.
q. You have a new record. Hows it doing, and what was the experience like
A-GENE:The only reason we keep track of our record sales is for sales tax purposes. We just want to get as many out there as possible, and when we need to print more, we do. I think the response has been warm. We’ve had a lot of great compliments that we’ve never had from people who would have otherwise looked us over in the past. All in all it has been a positive experience, and one that we’ll cherish forever. Making the CD………..Takes lots of time, money, effort, blood, sweat, and tears. It’s the same for anyone trying to get there product out. The experience was made great though by Billy High our producer and Adam odor our engineer. Being able to use Ray Benson’s studio was pretty sweet as well.
A-MATT:The album is actually moving really well. The first single “Boots” is making great headway on the Texas Music Chart and we have been getting a lot of great feedback from fans. We made this record independently at a cozy little studio in Austin owned by Ray Benson. We went in with 12 songs, 10 bottles of cheap whisky and came out two weeks later with a new album in or hands. My favorite studio experience so far.
q. Do you guys get along?
A-GENE:For contractual reasons only…………HAHA J/k It’s like a marriage. As much time as we spend together you have to be with people you get along with. The thing that is cool about our group is that we were friends long before we were musicians.
A-MATT:We have traveled the country for six years in a four door F-150 with five guys. We are brothers. We actually just got a brand spanking new van last week and I told the guys “If we made it this long with that, the rest of this should be easy!”
q. Are gas prices hurting your ability to travel much?
A-GENE:They hurt, but not the ability to travel. We will go even if we have to starve. Playing music is a privilidge and we’re not going to let gas prices take that away.
A-MATT:It doesn’t hurt the ability to travel but it has made an impact on the pocketbook. This is our life, and high gas prices be damned, we will bring or music to your town one way or another. I think we need a five seater tandem bike… or maybe a badass go kart.
q. What does the future hold for Highspeed Hayride?
A-GENE:Sunny skies, sandy beaches, big houses, and fast cars……..Hell that’s what everyone wants right?.....haha To stay healthy enough to continue making music. Everyday I ask God NOTfor success, only that he keeps me and my friends and loved ones safe and healthy and able to do what we love. Vanity is the death of everything……..
A-MATT:I guess we shall find out same as you guys. I think if we keep pushing the tunes and gigging as hard as we can everything will work out fine. Thanks to everyone for their support, we are all in this together.
Thanks everyone. Best of luck. This is THE hardest business in the world,
and you guys seem to be doing fine.