Last fall Micky and the Motorcars released their 7th studio album, Long Time Comin’. It’s been almost five years since the younger Brothers Braun, Micky and Gary, put out new material. After a busy fall, we were finally able to catch up with front man Micky Braun and have a good conversation. Here you go.
1. So your new record is aptly named Long Time Comin’. It’s been a while since “Hearts From Above.” Why the long drought?
We named the record Long Time Comin’ because of the song I wrote with Bruce Robison, plus it had been four years since we had put out a studio album. We also had always wanted to record a record up in Nashville.
2. You’ve always recorded locally in Texas, what was it like to go somewhere outside the state and record in Nashville?
It was really fun. It was nice to have that change of pace being in a different city which allowed us to spend a little more time on the record. We flew over there for a couple of weeks of pre-production, going through all the songs we had and seeing which ones would fit together for the album. Then we went on the the road for a while before heading back to Nashville to record. It was very refreshing to get out of Austin and work in a different studio.
3. Keith Gattis produced this latest album?
Yeah, we had been wanting to work with Keith for ten or twelve years now so it was cool to finally make that happen.
4. I had read that Gattis brought in his own band to help with the record. Did it feel weird that all of it wasn’t full Micky and the Motorcars?
To some extent for sure. It was different not having our usual band there, but it was also refreshing having the professional Nashville studio musicians that Keith wanted. It was his call, and they were all guys he’d worked with before so it made the process go a lot smoother. They weren’t doing anything that our band couldn’t do live, but he could communicate with them quickly on any changes and just got things done. It was all good and we really enjoyed the process. Our drummer Bobby said, “If you think I’m coming out of this not learning something from Sheryl Crow’s drummer, you’re wrong.” <laughs>
5. Did you get to visit any favorite Nashville haunts while you were out there recording?
During pre-production we were able to get out and visit some of our old stomping grounds but while we were recording I would try and stay out of the bars. We’d go back to the house at night and focus on what we were working on the next day. I wanted to be more professional, especially working with a bunch of guys I’d never worked with. I didn’t want to be the weak link as the lead singer. <laughs>
6. There’s a lot more of Gary singing on this one compared to previous Motorcars’ records. Did that happen organically or was it something you planned?
That just kind of happened. After our last record Gary just started writing a lot. He was going through a divorce and so he was writing a ton by himself and with other people. I was busy with a new kid and going back and forth between Texas and Boston so I didn’t have as much time to write. When we put all the songs together and picked the songs we liked. It just worked out to a 50/50 split. He also wanted to sing his songs which I thought was great. It helps a lot when the live shows come around, we’ll just put four or five of his songs on the set list and it gives me break.
7. You’ve have a lot of life changes since the last record, namely you got married and started a family. As you get older, grow up, settle down… does it get more difficult to write songs about partying or things you did when you were single?
You can still write on things from the past, but as you run out of things to write about you can just drum up things. It doesn’t have to be about you. You can live vicariously through friends or get ideas from books you’ve read or movies you’ve seen. As a writer, you are constantly writing ideas down and I’ve been doing that for over twenty years. I still go through my old books all the time and find a chorus or verse that I write and just go from there. With all the traveling and the people you meet, you are constantly living new experiences. As you get older and mature you might get a little deeper with your lyrics, not trying to write just a radio hit but rather a just good solid song with a great story.
8. Speaking of great writing, y’all got to team up with some heavy hitters like Courtney Patton, Bruce Robison and Josh Grider. I know you are all friends, but when you haven’t co-written with someone before, I would imagine there is a little bit of feeling each other out on process?
Yeah. I’d never written with Courtney before but have always liked what she’s done and her approach to writing. She had sent me a verse and part of the chorus over text and I loved what she had, so we set up a date in Austin for her to come down to my place. About two days before she came down, I had written most of the first verse and she had been tinkering with things on her side so by the time she made it down it came together quickly. We had fun and were a good fit.
With Bruce, I’ve been listening to him since I was twelve so it was a little intimidating at first. We’re friends, but once you’re there spilling your guts on the table if front of one of your idols it’s like “Christ, what have I gotten myself into?” He came in, we had a couple of cups of coffee and I started playing some stuff for him, including what I had for “Long Time Comin’.” He loved it so we started working it. He’s so good as getting the ball rolling, we wrote it really fast and it felt so natural. We’re hoping to get together again.
9. You obviously grew up in a musical family. You guys were home schooled and were on stage at a very young age. Were there any other profession besides music you considered?
Cody and Willie went right into music once they left the family band, but Gary went to work at a dude ranch for a few years and I continued to play music with my dad and another bluegrass band. Eventually I started doing an acoustic thing but at the same time worked for a company building log houses out in Stanley, Idaho. I did that for five summers, playing music on the weekends and writing a lot. If I ever stopped playing music I’d probably do something in construction – finish work, cabinets, building houses. I love that stuff.
10. Let’s take a step WAY back, almost 20 years. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the story of where the name Micky and the Motorcars come from, can you share?
It’s not really a big story. Gary and I have always been into cars. When we were starting out, I came down to Austin and told Willie we were starting a band and he said “Dude, what about Micky and the Motorcars?” I liked it so we threw that name in a hat with about five other names. Before we left for our first gig in Salmon, Idaho I told everyone we had to decide on a name before we got to the gig. We got there, went around and asked “What’s your say?” We all liked Micky and the Motorcars, so that’s how it happened.
11. You listened to a lot of Texas folks growing up – Jerry Jeff, Willie, Waylon, REK. Was that because of your dad or did you find those artists on your own?
It was my dad, but my mom was a big Merle Haggard fan and she got us hooked on Merle and Don Williams. My dad was friends with Robert Earl, Jerry Jeff and that whole crew. He also introduced us to the Everly Brothers, that was the first concert I went to, then there was Willie Nelson. Guy Clark was also on the list. Those folks were always in the cassette player growing up.
12.Favorite Braun Brothers reunion memory?
The hardest part is remembering! <laughs> Three years ago we had Alejandro Escovedo on the bill. He played right before us and “Hearts From Above” had been out for a year at that point. He did “Sister Lost Soul” with us and it was awesome. That was a big highlight. Last year we had Steve Earle play and he played for two hours and killed it. It was a great set, the band was rockin’, the crowd was awesome, it was one of my favorite shows I’ve seen there.
13. Favorite concert?
Two years ago I went with all three of my brothers to Red Rocks and watched Tom Petty. Joe Walsh opened which was awesome. It started raining, so the music stopped and we hunkered down at this little bar for 30 minutes. It eventually stopped and we rocked out for another hour and a half. It was great.
14. Favorite Austin eating establishment?
Maudie’s Too on South Lamar.
15. Favorite adult beverage?
Tito’s and Sprite.
16. Favorite stop on the road?
We stop at the Czech Stop all the time, which is pretty standard. Outside of that, I would say Choo Chai which is a great Thai place in Lubbock.
17. Salso or Queso
18. Boise State or BYU?
19. Name Association:
Cody Braun? Fiddle Player.
Willie Braun? – Songwriter.
Gary Braun? – Asshole.
Randy Rogers? – Queso. He loves queso.
Cody Canada? – PRS.
Wade Bowen? FaceTime calls from England.
20. Favorite George Strait song?
Amarillo By Morning.
If you haven’t already, make sure to check out Micky and the Motorcars latest offering Long Time Comin’ or head to https://mickyandthemotorcars.com/