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{20 Questions} Josh Grider

osh Grider is someone many around the Texas Music scene have heard more and more of over the last few years. We here at Galleywinter have been some of his biggest boosters, and rightfully so. Josh has an incredible way with words and song structure. His live shows are energetic, fun and original. In fact, to sum Josh and his music up with one word…I’d use original. Josh is a person of great character, faith and humor, which makes for a good interview. If you’re someone who is tired of the same ol’ same ol’ in whatever music you’re a fan of check out Josh Grider.

1. What’s new and exciting in the world of Josh Grider?

At this very moment we are still riding the success of our first charted single, Mama. It went all the way to #10, and is currently sitting at 13. I’d have to say that is pretty exciting. ’05 was a great year for me but some things seem to be brewing on the horizon that could make ’06 even better…more to come on that.

2. You went to college at Baylor. How did you end up in Waco coming from
New Mexico?

I have no idea. It was either Baylor or Belmont and for whatever reason I went to Baylor. You never know what a decision you make in life is going to do for you,
but as I answer this question, I know the man upstairs had his hand in leading me to Texas. I found my wife and a band and am currently (even if not as successfully as others) play music and get to drive around and share my songs with people. All in all I’m pretty blessed.

3. Name association:

-Randy Rogers–Couldn’t be any nicer, Brady Black too.
-Stoney LaRue–A guy who really challenges me, his new full band show (all great dudes) is fantastic. He is a real showman, and I got to play an acoustic show with him and Mike Eli this year. One of the highlights of my year. He’s one of the best shows out right now.
-Jason Boland–Don’t know him, Roger Ray is a hell of a guy though.
-Drew Kennedy–My big brother! Better everytime I hear him. We just played this last weekend a couple of acoustic shows and had a blast. Drew is talented, cool, and unpretentious. Drew and I would hang out whether music was our common identity or not.
-Peter Dawson–He and Elisabeth are very nice, helpful people. I just got to know them before they moved, but they said to call them anytime I was in nashville…and I will.
-Pat Green–The guy who introduced me to this music. I stood with twenty others on a gym floor at baylor in ’98 and watched this guy named Pat Green, bought his album, and here I am now. And everytime I’ve been in personal contact, he’s been very nice.
-Cory Morrow–Don’t know him, but wouldn’t mind writing a song with him though.
-Johnny Cash– “If I Were A Carpenter”
-Waylon Jennings– Would kick the asses of half the people who site him as a main influence in their music.

4. Who’s the best Saturday Night Live performer of all time?
Chris Farley

5. You achieved a great measure of success with your college band Riverside. You got to open shows for all the big names, put out a couple albums and really were starting to make a name for yourselves. Talk about the decision to disband Riverside and forge it as the frontman with your name on the product. Has it been harder or easier than you imagined? Has it been what you thought it would be?

Riverside was the luckiest college band ever, we got some incredible breaks, and
had a blast. It was just time for things to change. We’re still all great friends. As far as how difficult it has been on my own, well the music business is awful. I hate it with a passion. I love the music, I hate the business. It is really tough, but nobody made me do this. I have learned and still am learning a lot.

6. What’s the worst day job you’ve had while trying to support your music career?

Working for Gross Yowell Lumber Co. in Waco. Great lumber, not a great place to
work.

7. Favorite touring memory of the following towns/clubs:

-Dallas– Opening for Bob Schnieder and Wade Bowen in the same night at different
clubs.
-Ft Worth– Playing with Randy @ Woody’s
-Austin– Opening for Chris night at the Saxon Pub
-San Antonio– Winning KJ-97’s battle of the bands with Riverside in ’01
-College Station– Ugly’s shows are always a riot, we love playing there.
-New Braunfels– Hanging out with Dub Miller behind the RRIH getting schooled on how crappy this business can be.
-Poodie’s– The night he took us to his house after the show and we got to chill on his new bus, super highlight of this last year for sure.
-DJ’s– Jamming with Stoney.
-Hall of Fame– Leaning on the stage front row and watching Willie throw down.
-George’s Bar– Hard to pick a favorite, it get’s hectic in there when we play, I love it.
-Ugly’s Pub– As I said earlier, one of the spots that pops up on the calendar where we know it’s going to be all good.

8. If you were in charge of country music, what would be your personal
recipe for fixing what you see as wrong?

Well…how much time do you have (laughs)…how ’bout 3 options:

1. Everybody would have to wear blind folds when determining what was good and what wasn’t.

or

2. Every year those who win the awards for best whatever (song, performance, etc.)
should have to play on the radio, with nothing but an acoustic guitar and their
voice to deliver the song. If it’s still sounds good then they get to keep making
music.

or

3. All of us would be set against each other is some sort of talent show tournament
to be held in po-dunk somewhere that nobody knows who we are. We get an old
fashioned aplause-o-meter and the winner gets a record deal, and management, and booking for a year to prove it to everybody.

9. What influences do you think being from New Mexico has brought to your music? You definitely have an original sound when compared to the masses
of singer/songwriters trying to crack into the market in Texas.

I don’t know how much New Mexico has to do with anything, I think maybe just not being raised in Texas makes is sound a little different, plus a music education, that
definately helps.

10. Your lovely wife, Kristi, is also an accomplished singer. Any plans or thoughts of doing a duets type album? Even if it’s just for the grandkids. Also, did you ever take voice lessons?

Yes, I’ve had voice lessons, but they were classical. They really had nothing to
do with the way I sound now. That is just how I’ve always sounded. Kristi and I
will do something someday, definitely a duet on the next album as far as a whole
duets album, we’ll see, maybe someday.

11. Without naming names describe the worst gig you’ve had.

Sharing a mic at an acoustic venue and playing like that for two hours post
success with the single. Brutal.

12. Your a relative newlywed, any advice you can give to those of us soon
to be married? Or is there any pearl of wisdom you’ve learned over the
last year?

If she’s the right one, it’ll go pretty smooth. Nobody said it was tough to be a
newlywed. I am fairly forgetful and forgetting things like the toliet seat and turning the oven off and whatnot can make for an angry wife. And I have found out that when I am maddest at her is when she is acting like me.

13. Your guitar playing has sort of a Dave Matthews type innovative vibe, sound and look. How did that develop? Is it just natural?

Well, honestly the first guitar gig I had was a jazz gig. I just stood in the
back and played chords, I was just a band member. I didn’t, and still don’t, know
much about playing jazz, but I learned a lot of cool chords and was taught how to
“comp” as they say in the jazz world. Plus, I studied music, and listen to a whole
lot of stuff that isn’t even relatively country, that helps.

14. Stories behind the following songs:

-“Mama” –We were staying on a friends ranch in bandera in a hunting cabin and there was a hunter in the cabin who was there with his dog, whose name was daisy. However, the hunter called the dog, “mama”, and when the sun would come up in the morning daisy/mama would start barking at the peacocks and the hunter would start yelling, “Mama! Mama! Get away from them peacocks!” and would do so for about twenty minutes before going outside to shut the dog up. After three mornings of all that yelling of “Mama!” is was stuck in my head and ended up coming out as a song. We also inveted a yard sport called “mama” in college.

-“18 and Blonde” –I pretty much had the music in my head for this one before the lyrics. I stumbled across “I was eighteen, and she was blonde” and just reminisced about meeting my wife and how it took us so long to actually get together.

-“Everybody Knows” –my roomate in college, and Riverside bandmate Jacob Rucker, was going on a date and didn’t have any cash. He was pumped abou the date, but but bummed about no cash. I don’t remember how his date went, but when he left I wrote a song about being poor, but happy.

-“Shotgun” –Just a way to tell my dad thanks and that I love him.

-“City of Crosses” –I was just homesick one night and ended up with a song about my hometown, Las Cruces.

-“South of the Border” –It’s just what was done in high school.

-“Goin’ Down” –After a run in with a less than stand up record executive. I felt like I had just talked to the devil himself and the rest is what you hear. On the record that is some great solo work by Kris Farrow (my lead player) and Warren Hood.

-“Comin’ Home” –My wife lived in LA for a little while and i didnt’ get to see her much.

-“La La Land” –The wife and I found ourselves back in LA meeting with people who had the power to hook us up, they didn’t. We just got that song.

-“Pain and Misery” –Another one written when Kristi was living in LA. I missed her bad.

15. Speaking of “Pain and Misery” it’s such a crowd favorite. Was any thought given to putting it on the first solo cd? Any plans to record it in the future?

Maybe…we’ll see.

16. What are the pros/cons of a solo acoustic show versus a rockin’ full
band show?

It all hinges on the crowd. Acoustic just doesn’t work if no one is listening.
With the full band you have a little more chance to get their attention.

17. What do you think is the best song you’ve written? What is the one song you wish you had written but someone else did? Has there ever been a song that you heard and thought, “Man, I could’ve/should’ve written that.” or “That person must’ve been living inside my head.”

Right now it is a brand new song called “Tragic Circumstance” that I wrote with my
friend Ryan. I think it’s our best work. As far as from the album, I’d have to
say City of Crosses or Mama would be my favorites.

18. Compare/contrast the mainstream country music on the radio with the
more genuine music you and your contemporaries are making.

I think there is “genuine music” in both Nashville and Texas. There is more
freedom and it is easier to get exposed in Texas, and there is certainly an
infrastructure here to support bands. Nearly anyone can get a gig, somewhere, but
when you’re talking about quality of music that isn’t always a good thing. The
overriding majority of what you hear these days, Nashville and Texas, is pretty
lame. That is why everyone is buying i pods, so they can hear what they want to.

19. Rapid fire:

-Favorite cover song to play? “Another Brick in the Wall” by Pink Floyd

-Favorite highway in Texas? 27 from kerrville to medina

-Favorite NFL team? Chicago Bears

-Biggest musical influence? my mom, she taught me how to sing

20. Favorite George Strait song.
“Let’s Fall to Pieces Together”

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