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Green On Red - Interview

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 18 / 5 / 2007

Green On Red - Interview


The vocalist for influential country band Green on Red, Dan Stuart has recently recorded 'Cast Iron Blues', his first album since the 90's with his side project Danny and Dusty, the group he formed with Steve Wynn. Anthony Strutt chats to himabout Green on Red's recent reformation and the new album

Dan Stuart was the vocalist for the influential Los Angeles-based Americana group Green on Red, which recorded six albums in the 80's and early 90's, 'Gravity Talks' (1983), 'Gas Food Lodging' (1985), 'The Killer Inside Me' (1987), 'Here Come the Snakes' (1988),'This Time Around' (1989) and 'Too Much Fun'(1992). Green On Red reformed in 2005 in tribute to their drummer Alex McNichol who had died shortly beforehand , and played two tours of Europe and also a 'Don't Look Back' show at the London Astoria in which they played the whole of 'Gas Food Lodging'. They also released earlier this year a BBC sessions CD. Dan has also recorded a solo album 'Can O' Worms' which came out in 1995. His most recent release is 'Cast Iron Soul', the second album of his side project, Danny and Dusty, which he formed with Steve Wynn as Dusty in the mid 80's. 'Cast Iron Soul'album features some of musicians, including ex-Long Ryders guitarist Stephen McCarthy and Green on Red organist and pianist Chris Cacavas, who played on Danny and Dusty's original album, 'The Lost Weekend',which was released back in 1985. The band turned up for their first ever UK gig at the London Borderline as Danny and Dusty two hours late. Steve informed me that due to their late arrival the interview might not even happen, but, after they had both soundchecked, Dan and Steve were both happy to talk to us. Dan spoke to us first, while Steve's take on Danny and Dusty will follow in next month's edition. PB : I know everyone up on stage apart from two of the guys, the rhythm section. Who are they please ? DS : It's Bob Rupe on drums and Johnny Hott on bass and they are from Richmond, Virginia. PB : Which bands are those guys from? DS : Johnny plays in Sparklehorse but he was in the House of Freaks and Bob was in the Silos and Cracker. PB : The first track that Danny and Dusty ever recorded was 'Bend in the Road' which appeared on a sampler. Was there a big gap between that and 'The Lost Weekend' ? DS : I don't remember. It was probably fairly short. That first album was recorded over a weekend, and then we mixed it afterwards. It was eight songs. On this new one we cut fourteen songs in a week so there really wasn't that much difference. PB : 'The Lost Weekend' was written really quickly. Was 'Cast Iron Soul' written really fast as well ? DS : I would say that is the big difference. For this Steve had broken his ankle. We spent the fall writing it. I live in New York now would go up there once or twice a week to Steve's who is also there, and that's how we hatched it out. We took a lot more care over this one, but once we got around to cutting it we did it really quickly again. Most of the takes on this record are first, second or third takes. PB : You did two solo albums in the 90's before doing two Green on Red reunion tours and a 'Don't Look Back' show for 'Gas, Food, Lodging' at the London Astoria. Why did you choose to do a Danny and Dusty album as your first recorded album in some time ? DS : Green on Red are not going to record again, and that's because we don't want to compromise ourselves any further then we have done already, and as we did with the Astoria show and by going on and making even more money still (Laughs). What happens is when you go out and start playing again you start writing again, and I got together a bunch of songs and I started to get curious about being in a studio again, so I was thinking about recording again. Then Steve broke his ankle. We been talking about doing another Danny and Dusty record for 25 years. It just seemed the time wouldn't be as right and the stars were all in line. I thought I missed the studio, but I hadn't really missed the studio as much as I thought I had. As far as recording the album, I really enjoyed writing it and I enjoyed recording the record, but I don't really feel that I have to make another one. PB : Do you still enjoy playing live ? DS : I'am enjoying this tour because I am playing with both old and new friends and everyone has a relationship with one another in the band in one way or another. It's a fabulous band, one of the best group of musicians I have ever played with. It is up their with my best ever experiences. PB : How did Steve get the name Dusty ? DS : I don't remember. I just started to call him Dusty, , probably because he is the opposite of a Dusty. He would never be a Dusty. I actually hate being called Danny. This is the only context that I will accept it. If you called me Danny, I would, as a man or as a little boy, hit you in the mouth. It's Daniel or Dan. PB : You recorded the album. What was the idea of taking it out on the road ? Did you just want to play to people whom had bought both albums ? DS : Here's what it is. You get people for 20 years saying when are you going to do it, and, of course, you have got to go out to play it, but what we are finding out is we radically over estimated our legendary status which is kind of nice in a humbling way, because it is like we are 20 again and trying to break a record. It's funny. It's cute. We all thought we would make this record, and have a thousand people a night and it hasn't been the case. PB : And you're playing the venues where you started out. DS : Yeah, and bigger venues too. PB : My Space has since come along in recent years. How involved are you with the Green on Red and the Danny and Dusty pages ? DS : I hold up my hands in disgrace. Very little. Green on Red started up a website and I have not had very much to do with it. I work for www.brink.com so I should know better. PB : After you did the solo album, it seemed like you had disappeared until Green on Red got back together. I heard that you have had a kid. Did you just leave the music business and get a day job ? DS : Yeah, I helped my wife through Grad school, and I did some physical and emotional stuff involving a lot of white collar angst that was rough and then the Brink restored me. It rescued me and got me back into writing. Being an editor there, which is what I do, has been a real blessing. PB : If Alex hadn't died would Green on Red ever have reformed ? You have said that you did it in tribute to him. DS : I don't think so. The right guy died, We miss Alex and he was a total sweetheart, but, within the dynamics of musicians, I think his passing is what allowed the other of us to do what we had to do. PB : Is there anything you like in music now ? DS : I have a nine year old son whom is a New York City punk, whom got me into hip hop. I like the Fiery Furnaces, and that kid from the Arctic Monkeys. I am involved as a fan in music in a detached way. We get the shuffle on the iPod going over dinner. I'm a big fan of bubblegum pop. I'm a big fan of 1970's album rock. I am still both a fan of country and soul. PB : Is there anything else you would like to add? DS : No, thanks for coming and being here. Do you fancy a beer ?

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Green On Red - Interview

Green On Red - Interview

Green On Red - Interview

Green On Red - Interview

Green On Red - Interview

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