Brent Amaker and the Rodeo Interview
Published in Blog Archive, Culture Bully. Tags: Interviews, Music.
Brent Amaker and the Rodeo appear as style-conscious cowboys, but there is nothing fashionable about the band’s traditional brand of country. Culture Bully’s Chris DeLine recently knocked around a few ideas with Brent Amaker, discussing country punk, the pussification of Nashville, short songs and why the band dresses head to toe in black. The band will be playing a series of CMJ dates near the end of October and will continue touring through autumn’s end.
According to Bob, from Bob’s Country Bunker, there are only two kinds of music: “country and western.” Where would Brent Amaker and the Rodeo land within that spectrum?
Brent Amaker: I think “country and western” is the best description for Brent Amaker and the Rodeo. We play both. It bugs me when I hear people say we are a country punk band, or a rock outfit with a country flavor. Hell, we are more true to the spirit of country music than most of the stuff on mainstream country radio today. I just want to tell some stories and have some good times. Country and western music is the best vehicle for that.
Speaking of The Blues Brothers – how’s your rendition of “Rawhide” these days?
Brent Amaker: I always wanted to play behind a chicken wire fence while everyone went crazy on the dance floor. We came close, playing in two Belgian prisons where people kept yelling “Fuck you America.” To answer: I love all that old spaghetti western stuff. We don’t really play other peoples’ songs, so I’d say my rendition of “Rawhide” is non-existent. But check out “Walking in My Sleep” from our new CD. That’s a pretty cool number.
According to “I’m The Man Who Writes The Country Hits” you are the man who writes the country hits, the man who sings our favorite songs, your words are solid gold and you’re the man who makes the panties wet. How much of that song is autobiographical?
Brent Amaker: 100% of it. And check this out: If you wrote out the words to that song, the ink would actually turn into solid gold. Try it.
“They make cowboys in Montana, but in Texas they make men.” If that’s true – what do they make in Seattle?
Brent Amaker: I couldn’t tell you. I was raised in Oklahoma. I moved to Seattle about twelve years ago to focus on my music. I will say that they seem to make a lot of bad ass musicians in Seattle. That’s where I found the boys in the Rodeo.
Johnny Cash used to dress in black for the “poor and the beaten down.” How about you guys?
Brent Amaker: We mainly wear black for the ladies. We get a lot of compliments when we’re on the road.
In “Dick in Dixie” Hank Williams III sang “we’re losing all the outlaws that had to stand their ground, and they’re being replaced by these kids from a manufactured town. And they don’t have no idea about sorrow and woe, ’cause they’re all just too damn busy kissin’ ass on Music Row.” What are some good examples of sorrow and woe on “Howdy Do!”?
Brent Amaker: Well the whole world’s been wussifying for the last few years, hasn’t it? That whole ’70s Waylon Jennings outlaw thing is definitely gone from Nashville, but things have always been ass kissy in that town – that’s why Waylon had such a rebel image. Sorrow and woe? I talk about stomach rot, heart disease, and cowboys with debt issues on “When Love Gets to a Man.” We just finished a video for that one.
Only one song on the new record exceeds three minutes (”My Cheatin’ Wife” @ 3:04). Are you guys simply more efficient in getting your point across in your songs than other bands or is there more to it than that?
Brent Amaker: I always dug the Ramones. We make sure we get the songs just right. Say what you gotta say, move on. We’re not crafting any constipated epics with deep social commentary, there are plenty of indie twerps that are great at that.
What can you attribute your loyal German following to?
Brent Amaker: Maybe because we’re so efficient in getting our point across. Maybe because so many American hicks did their army stint in Germany and blasted country music out of their jeeps. I dunno. I’ll say this: those people are up for anything. Go to Germany, they got cool folks there.
If as a small child you ate jalapeño peppers every day, what do you eat now?
Brent Amaker: I like eatin’ fried chicken. I like it better if you can get some pickles and white bread on the side. Better yet if you throw in some jalapeno peppers!
Give me the real deal here: Carrie Underwood or Faith Hill?
Brent Amaker: Sorry Faith, you used to be a real hot piece, but I gotta go with Carrie Underwood.