ON THE ROAD... WITH SHONNA TUCKER

Editor's Note:

Hello friends,
As things continue to develop around here, we've decided to allow some of the writers who we enjoy reading most a bit more leeway - a bigger voice if you will. As we're sure you've noticed, we currently have Cook's Corner, the first and longest-running column on JamBase, currently approaching its 20th installment, in which our hot shot writer Dennis Cook tackles the ever-expanding world of recorded music.

Sure is crazy how time flies, but we feel that's part of the beauty. As they say, time only flies when you're having fun, and you can be damn sure we're having a good time, we hope you are too. So with all this time flying by and all these writers stopping in we are very pleased to welcome all you fine folks to JamBase's second column, On The Road.

And please be sure to keep checking back. In addition to having a fresh take for On The Road each month, we've got some other columns in the developmental stages which you're certain to enjoy. We're working on things, I promise. Thanks for growing with us, without you, we got nothin!
-Kayceman


I don't know about y'all, but most of my best ideas come to me late at night.

Sometimes, it's the lead to a story I'm writing as I sit at my desk in my kitchen/office at four in the morning drinking Bourbon & Gingers and listening to the hookers and pushers down the hill in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco. Mostly, it's just ways to exact revenge on my floor-stomping, Popov-drinking neighbor upstairs. This particular time, however, Kayceman had asked me to come up with an idea on which we could collaborate – a kind of standing column that both of us could contribute to and work on together. After tossing a few shitty ideas back and forth with no success, I woke up one night in a sweaty mess and scribbled down this sentence on a pad next to my bed:

Does the Polyphonic Spree play credit card roulette with their dinner bill?

Welcome to "On the Road With" - a short, 10 to 15 question interview with musicians on tour about life on the road. Some of the questions will be the same each month, while some will be specific to that month's particular guest. Got any questions you've been dying to have answered about life on the road as a touring musician? Send them to Editor@jambase.com.

For our first installment, we kick things off with perhaps the nastiest female bass player on tour, the Jack Daniels drinkin' low end of the Drive-By Truckers; Shonna Tucker.


Shonna Tucker :: DBT :: 04.09 :: Fillmore, SF
AT: What's been your favorite city to play on this tour and why?

ST: Denver was great. L.A. was a lot of fun. I got to see my best friend down in L.A., so that probably was my favorite.

AT: What about your favorite venue from this tour?

ST: The Great American here in San Francisco is really amazing. Jason [Isbell, DBT guitarist and Shonna's husband] called me from here during the last tour and told me all about it. I looked forward to playing there all tour. I walked in today and was totally amazed.

AT: What's your typical day like on this tour so far?

ST: It's pretty much the same routine. I get up when the bus stops, make myself some tea and relax. We usually watch some TV or DVDs during the day. Jason and I sometimes go for a walk. Between soundcheck and showtime, we're drinking Jack Daniels.

AT: Any superstitions or routines you have while on tour?

ST: Well, yeah... it's kind of strange to say, but I wear the same shoes every night. It feels weird to change shoes. Not really anything else.

AT: What's the one tour memory that will stick in your head 20 years from now?


Drive-By Truckers
ST: Playing in Europe for the first time was pretty incredible. We had a lot of fun in Amsterdam. There's nothing like Dutch karaoke, especially for a drunk-ass redneck from Alabama. [Laughs] That's some good, clean fun, let me tell you.

AT: If you could have any musician alive today sit in with you at the show tonight, who would it be?

ST: That's a good one. David Lindley, maybe. Recently, I've been listening to some old Jackson Browne stuff that someone sent us. It's just some old outtakes and live songs with David Lindley playing guitar. He's such a talented guy. I think he'd be a lot of fun to have up onstage with us.

AT: What DVDs or videos are you watching on the bus these days?

ST: We've got some Hank Williams, Serpico with Al Pacino, and a bunch of others. I brought The Carpenters DVD along.

AT: Who's got the coolest tour bus you've ever seen or heard of?

ST: I haven't been on too many except for the band's. Laurie Morgan has a bathtub on hers, but she's only about four feet tall. I saw that on TV. And I hear Kid Rock has a cool one, but he doesn't really like to use it.

AT: Name the band member that is the control freak with the TV or stereo remote?


Shonna Tucker :: Drive-By Truckers
04.09 :: Amoeba Record Store, SF
ST: Ohhhhhh... well, all of us would be, but none of us know how to work this equipment. [Laughs] We always have to ask for help. We all have great ideas, but we need help with the technical part of it. Whoever can figure it out is the one that wins.

AT: Is there a lady's man is this band?

ST: Well, Cooley seems to be the one who attracts both the men and the women. He's so photogenic. I think it's his cheekbones. [Laughs]

AT: What's in the CD changer in the bus these days?

ST: We're still playing Jay Z's Black Album. That's good stuff. We played an in-store the other day, so all of us got to pick something out. I got Fanny Pack, which is these three girls rapping about camel toe and other shit. [Laughs] It's great, you'll love it. We might play it before we come out one night. I got some Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris also. The new Tom Waits record is great and is in heavy rotation. So is the new Elvis Costello.

AT: What's one album or artist you wouldn't want to admit is in the CD changer, and which band member is responsible for it being there?

ST: No doubt, Hall & Oates, and it's Cooley's. Really, I've had enough of Hall & Oates. Ever since I've known him, Cooley's loved Hall & Oates. Go to his house to grill out, eat a hamburger, and you're sure to hear some Hall & Oates. Patterson secretly loves it too.

AT: If there is one golden rule for the Drive-By Truckers, what would it be?


Drive-By Truckers
ST: That's easy. Don't piss Brad [Morgan, drummer] off. [Laughs] He's the most laid back person in the world, but if you piss him off, you've done something really wrong. Don't piss Easy B off.

AT: Other than Jason, when was the first time you met the rest of these guys?

ST: I used to live in a house in Florence, Alabama with Dick Cooper and Scott Boyer. Dick was an early supporter and manager of the band, and Scott has played with Gregg Allman a few times over the years. It was a musicians' house. We used to have all kinds of people crashing with us, throwing parties and staying up all night long. Patterson came for a visit around Christmas time one year. That was the first time either Jason or I had met Patterson, I believe. I remember there were Christmas lights up in the house. We were all sitting on the couch and were just shitty drunk. We'd drunk a whole bottle of whiskey and done some other stuff. [Laughs] We were standing up and singing and playing and having a great time. I remember both Jason and Patterson had guitars, and Patterson played us "Heathens." He'd just written it. Jason just fell right in with him. It was one of those magical moments where Jason had never heard the song before, but he played every note exactly right. It was pretty amazing. We all kind of looked at each other and went, "OK, I see what's going on here."

AT: Any pranks being pulled on the bus these days?

ST: We're looking for a way to get back at Cooley right now. He tends to wake up before everyone else in the morning, and he plays a real bad trick on us. He locks the sliding doors on the bus and rips a horrible fart and then locks us all in here. The only thing you'll hear is him laughing at the front of the bus. [Laughs] I've woken up the past few days like that. [Laughs]

Andy Tennille
JamBase | On The Road
Go See Live Music!

http://www.drivebytruckers.com/

[Published on: 5/12/05]

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