While Stoney LaRue was down in Key West with everyone living his best Buffett life, he dropped a new live record to kick off what looks to be a more open and music filled summer. Double Live 25 is exactly what it says it is… 25 tunes plucked straight out of the modern day Stoney LaRue experience. Familiar favorites, groove-filled extended interludes, lots of guitar, soul and Stoney energy. We got to chat with him to discuss the record, his goings on, and of course the other random questions we bring to the 20 Questions segment.
You just got back from The Keys, what did you enjoy most about Mile 0 Fest?
I got to see a lot of people I haven’t seen in the past two years. Normally Steamboat is where a lot of us get together and catch up, but like everything else, it got cancelled. So it was good to finally reconnect, hug their neck and tell them you love them in person as opposed to infrequent texts like we normally do. Key West is also home of the sunset so I got a couple of those in, scooted around town on a scooter, had some good food and Columbian coffee.
Your last studio album, Onward, came out right before the pandemic. Do you feel you got enough mileage out of that record considering you really didn’t get to tour all that long before things shut down?
With COVID and the shutdowns at first I felt like “Ok, this is going to be a badass vacation,”, not knowing how long it was going to last. It did turn out to be a pretty good vacation and I have no qualms other than not getting out to gig because I really haven’t had a real vacation in 22 years. As far as the record and its legs, as soon as we got that project done I was done with it. It’s always good to get it in people’s hands however you can, but I don’t even know how to give people music anymore. Thankfully we have Van Fletcher and a good media team that know what the hell they are doing. I just like to go play it for people, put it in their hands and get into their heads.
I don’t think anybody knows the best way to get music to people now. Ultimately, it seems the way most make a living doing this is through live shows and selling merch at those shows. At least that way most of the money goes straight to the artist. What do you think?
Yeah, its the old “road medicine show” where we roll through your town, open the wagon and sell you the medicine. But hopefully people are getting something out of it, because we aren’t trying to pull the wool over peoples’ eyes. During the pandemic we did a few Facebook live shows and Cameos like a lot of people did in order to pull in some income.
Your new record, “Double Live 25” just released. You seem to be a fan of the live record over the years. You’ve put out just as many live records as studio projects. Why is that?
A lot of it is convenience. Records costs money to make, especially [doing them] the right way, and I’m not geared to throw thoughts on paper then get into the studio and record them all. If I’m going to do a record, I want to do it right, where it’s epic with all the bells and whistles. Also, with the live record there is stuff that can’t be captured in the studio. I love both equally and oppositely. But in the live show you can throw in a different inflection or word based on the energy of that crowd. The Grateful Dead did it that way, and I’m really a fan of them and how they built their audience or “family” if you will.
On this record there’s lots extended jamming, lots of effects on the guitars, heavy use of the wah pedal, etc. It almost has a Pink Floyd ambiance to it at times. Has that always been a part of your show?
We use to not do that. Back in the day, we had seven people in the band and we could fill in sound with a B3 [organ], a fiddle, or even a horns section. Now we’ve consolidated the band down to four and it was a little bit scary at first. I still don’t consider myself a lead player, but I’ve had to get comfortable with the idea now that we don’t hire additional players to come in. It’s just Jesse Duke on guitar, Kiko playing bass, Andrian Myers on drums, and now I’m one of guitar players in addition to singing. The feelings and those expressions now just come out in a different way.
For this record you picked from numerous recordings of shows you’ve done the past few years. How did you decide which tunes and specific performances of those tunes to include on the record?
We record all our shows off the board, if anything just for reference to go back and review to improve our sound and performance. Our manager, Van Fletcher, our sound and lighting engineer, Roy Shelton and Jesse Duke went through it all and hand picked what ended up on the record.
You entrusted them to do it for you?
Absolutely. If I had done it, it would have taken 20 year .
There are notable tunes like “Solid Gone”, “Texas Moon”, and “Let Me Hold You” that are missing from this record that are typically in your live shows. Any reasons why some were included and others not?
Those you just mentioned are really old school songs and the stuff on this record is really the nightly set list for shows in recent years. In a 90-120 minute set there’s only so many you can play.
I hear you’ll be putting some new videos out there in the near future. Anything in particular you want to share?
We sometimes bring a film crew out to the live shows, just to capture where we are at and just put more content out for the fans. Somebody might see a particular video and realize they were at that show and have fun looking for themselves on TV.
Any crazy pandemic story you want to share?
It was the fastest slowest time I think. <laughs> It started out eating junk food and drinking whiskey and ended up with “We’re getting gigs now? Governor Abbott did what??? ” With the gyms being closed and all I started doing pushups and eating eggs trying to whoop my ass back into shape again. While it was all shut down, I had weird sleep schedules where I’d go to bed at 9 o’clock in the morning and wake up at 7 or 8 at night because it didn’t matter because you couldn’t go anywhere.
So did you write anything? Are we going to get a new studio record out of this?
I wrote a bunch of stuff. I was just talking to Boland and I want to get together with him, Cody Canada, Brent Cobb, and Gary Nicholson and try to do some sort of collaboration.
Is the gig schedule filling back up?
We are booking into December now, so it’s getting packed
A few months ago you did an interview with Kliff Davis and hinted about getting into radio or even acting.
You going to hit up Bingham to get onto Yellowstone? <laughs>
I’ve always thought about it and I’ve a had few opportunities that didn’t work out. I guess the universe has a wonderful way of putting you right where you should be. I’ve read for a couple of actors just to help them out and found it to be fun. It’s an itch that I have that needs to be scratched, not really for the popularity, but to just do it with people that are good at it.
Which song is most personal to you and why?
“Downtown” because it’s one of the first songs I wrote and it’s a true story.
Favorite song to play live?
I love playing “One Chord Song” because it always seems to morph into something else.
Brandon Jenkins means a lot to you, with you covering several of his songs. What’s your favorite Jenkins tune?
They all touch me differently at differnt times. “Die Alone” is a great song, very eery and personal to me. “The Whole World’s Gone Crazy” is another one. I have
an entire album of collaborations that we did together that I plan to put out. “Til the Morning Comes”, “Straight Faced Clown”, there’s a lot of them.e
Favorite Petty Song?
“Running Down a Dream” is my favorite one to play live.
I’m going to get you in trouble…Texas or Oklahoma?
Either reposado tequila or my preshow sacramental Jaeger bomb.
You mentioned working out. Leg day or arm Day?
Today I did high intensity. I know what other people would say <laughs> and I work out my legs just as hard. I’ve got a new doctor and new workout schedule, so we’ll see what happens.
Favorite BBQ Joint?
Have to be in Texas for that. Franklin’s is great, but I had better say Cooper’s. I also love the burnt ends from Rudy’s.
Make sure you go check out Double Live 25 wherever you get music or go grab it over at www.stoneylarue.com