Patteron Hood of Drive-By Truckers talks to ILSUDH2

Patterson Hood was kind enough to take a few minutes out of his busy schedule to answer some questions about The Go-Go Boots Tour, our Mile High City, film making and the road in general.  His Drive-By Truckers will be at the Ogden Theatre Friday, March 18th and Saturday, March 19th.  You can purchase tickets at the box office or through ticketmaster.  You can also catch Patterson, Jay, and Shonna perform a semi-acoustic set at Twist & Shout Records at 4pm on Friday.  This set will be followed by a brief autograph signing with purchase of any DBT product.   Be sure to catch at least one of these ‘rock shows’ by one of the most consistent, hard working bands performing today!  You’ll find me in the front-row both nights!

Welcome back to Denver.  Last year I took the drive to Boulder and Ft. Collins to check the ‘rock shows’, so I’m really looking forward to the back-to-back local shows this weekend.

I have witnessed no less than 10 DBT shows over the past 6 years and am amazed how every show is different and how every album is represented.  What is the process for deciding on setlists every night?  How do you manage to keep it fresh so many nights in a row?

We keep it fresh by NOT using a set list. Ever. We usually decide the first song as we’re walking up to the stage and from there on anything goes. We have to cue each other and stay on our toes, which of course is a good thing. The goal is to always keep it flowing fast and smooth and usually it goes that way. There’s always that occasional trainwreck, but it keeps it fresh and exciting to us and therefore hopefully to Y’all too. Whenever there’s a new album, the emphasis is always on the newer material and a lot of the older songs are based around what flows well with the new ones. This tour we’ve been pulling out a few that hadn’t been played much in a long time and that has been fun.

Have you spent much time in Denver? I know you’re a man of stories, what’s your best Denver (or Colorado) story?

We’ve spent a good deal of time there over the last ten years or so. It took a long time to get out there the first time, but have always been treated great  there so it’s become a major stop for every tour. We met Scott Baxendale on one of our earliest trips out there and he has built us a bunch of incredible guitars. He’s a close friend and one of the best luthiers in the world. His life story is so interesting that it has already inspired a documentary, a screenplay and Cooley’s song “Check Out Time in Vegas”. He has recently relocated to Athens GA and builds his guitars in the same building that we make our albums and have our HQ.

In The Secret to a Happy Ending we see the harsh realities of the road,  but somehow the band seems to persevere, continuing to deliver fresh ‘rock shows’ every year. Has the band found new ways to cope with these realities or is it just a matter of powering through the hard times?

Things are MUCH better now than in 2005-2006 when most of that was filmed. We basically made a check list of everything that was making it suck and went down the list fixing things. That was a long and painful process, but it was either that or break up and then I’d have to find a new job which wouldn’t have exactly made us happy either. Things are overall pretty great nowadays. The band is playing better than it ever has and we’re all getting along really well and being very creative. We have great management and the best crew in Rock and Roll. We get along real well with our new label, who have all been very supportive and helpful.

DBT is the only band I have seen multiple times that has never disappointed…never had an off night.  It’s not often you find a band that never disappoints, especially after so many years.

We have a blast up there on stage for those 2-3 hours every night, but it takes a tremendous amount of work, all day, to get everything ready and right for that to happen. It’s like when someone spends months planning a wedding that lasts 30 minutes, we spend all day getting everything perfect so that when we get up there on stage it can be this effortless flow. Effortless, at least mentally. Physically it’s a very grueling show, but I like that aspect of it a lot. As long as we’re all well, it usually goes pretty great. Occasionally someone is sick and that makes it much harder, but we try hard not to let that show.

If you had to pick one band that never let you down, who would it be and why?

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band is probably the most consistent great show in Rock and Roll. He sort of picked up where James Brown left off. Brown was probably the all time master, even in his later years it was an incredible show.

After recording enough material for two albums and staging two tours around those recording sessions, what’s next for DBT?  Will there be a break after this tour?  A new album?  Side-projects?  A true crime book or movie?

We really want to take some serious time off after this year. I would love for there to be a substantial hiatus from touring. Most of us have small children and I have essentially been on the road their entire lives. We still have to pay the bills so I’m sure there will be some shows, but hopefully just special one-offs and maybe a few well chosen residencies. I’d love to do a little producing and maybe another side project like what we did with Bettye LaVette and Booker T. Jones. I’m working on a book, although I don’t have any real plans for it’s release, it’s more just something I want to do for creative reasons. I’d like to maybe make a movie. I’ve always been a bit of a frustrated director, so who knows. More than anything I want some time at home. Next year, as we have a lot of touring left to do this year.

Thank you for taking time.

Thank you. See you in Denver