- Drive-By Truckers
Drive-By Truckers performing at The Gorge Amphitheatre, Washington, during the Sasquatch! Music Festival in 2010.
Background information Origin Athens, Georgia, United States Genres Alternative country, alternative rock, cowpunk, Southern rock Years active 1996–present Labels ATO, New West, Lost Highway, Play It Again Sam, Ghostmeat, Soul Dump Associated acts Adam's House Cat
Website DriveByTruckers.com Members Mike Cooley
Past members Jason Isbell
Drive-By Truckers are an alternative country/Southern rock band based in Athens, Georgia, though three out of six members (Patterson Hood, Mike Cooley, and Shonna Tucker) are originally from The Shoals region of Northern Alabama, and the band strongly identifies with Alabama. Their music uses three guitars as well as bass, drums, and now keyboards. Like many alternative country acts, the Drive-By Truckers record in analog (using 2 inch tape). However, unlike the majority of their contemporaries, the Drive-By Truckers have consistently pushed their labels to also release the band's records in a vinyl format.
- 1 History
- 2 Band members
- 3 Discography
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Drive-By Truckers was co-founded by Patterson Hood (son of bassist David Hood of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section) and longtime friend, former room-mate, and musical partner Mike Cooley in Athens, Georgia, in 1996. The two had played in various other bands including Adam's House Cat which was chosen as a top ten Best Unsigned Band by a Musician contest in the late 1980s. After the demise of Adam's House Cat, Cooley and Hood performed as a duo under the name "Virgil Kane." They eventually started a new band, "Horsepussy," before splitting for a few years. It was during this split that Hood moved to Athens, Georgia and began forming what would become Drive-By Truckers "with the intent of luring Cooley back into the fold."
Together with a revolving group of musicians, Drive-By Truckers put out their first two albums, Gangstabilly (1998) and Pizza Deliverance (1999). Following their second release, the band embarked on a nationwide tour, resulting in a live album called Alabama Ass Whuppin' (released in 2000 by Second Heaven Records, re-released in 2002 by Terminus Records). Fans were able to find shows and information because DBT had an entertaining and informative website long before most bands had begun taking advantage of the internet as a promotional tool. The band's online presence was created and is maintained by long-time friend Jenn Bryant and has been credited with helping the band gain momentum. The band also began to use another long-time friend, Wes Freed, to produce the band's signature style with his cover art and posters. It was the band's constant touring, however, that most helped them develop a large and dedicated following both on and off-line.
Southern Rock Opera
After three years on the road, a tight-knit group of musicians emerged and began work on 2001's Southern Rock Opera. Southern Rock Opera is a double album. The album weaves the history of Lynyrd Skynyrd into a narrative about a fictitious rock band called "Betamax Guillotine", whose story unfolds within the context of the South during the 1970s. Southern Rock Opera was originally released independently on Drive-By Truckers' own Soul Dump Records on September 12, 2001, and garnered praise from fans and critics alike. In order to meet the new demand brought on by, among other things, a four-star review in Rolling Stone, Southern Rock Opera was re-issued by Mercury and Lost Highway Records in July 2002. Soon after, Drive-By Truckers were named Band of the Year by No Depression.
Before Drive-By Truckers went on tour in support of Southern Rock Opera, the band ran into a problem when they were left with only two guitarists (Cooley and Hood) following the departure of Rob Malone in late 2001. The band added fellow Alabamian guitarist and songwriter Jason Isbell (originally from Greenhill, Alabama) to their line-up as the band's third guitarist. During his five years with Drive-By Truckers, Isbell's compositions became as highly praised as those of Cooley and Hood.
With Jason Isbell
After signing a new deal with Austin-based record label New West, Drive-By Truckers set about recording the follow-up to Southern Rock Opera. The result was 2003's Decoration Day, which, like its predecessor, received much critical praise. It was another concept album, containing characters who are faced with hard decisions about marriage, incest, break-ups, revenge, murder, and suicide.
After years of producing and playing with Drive-By Truckers, bassist Earl Hicks left the band on December 22, 2003. Hicks was immediately replaced by studio bassist Shonna Tucker, then wife of guitarist Jason Isbell. Tucker had previously guested on Decoration Day playing upright bass on the Cooley-penned track, "Sounds Better in the Song".
In 2004, Drive-By Truckers released yet another concept album entitled The Dirty South. The Dirty South further explored the mythology of the South, with songs focusing on Sam Phillips and Sun Records, John Henry, and a three-song suite about Sheriff Buford Pusser.
After touring throughout 2004 and 2005, Drive-By Truckers found their way to the Fidelitorium Recording Studio in Forsyth County, North Carolina during late 2005. These recording sessions, once again produced by David Barbe, resulted in the band's seventh LP, A Blessing and a Curse. Released on April 18, 2006, A Blessing and a Curse showcased Drive-By Truckers' ability to branch out into new territory, and can be seen as the band's attempt at shaking labeling by critics, detractors, fans, and followers, particularly the Southern rock label that has haunted the band since Southern Rock Opera. The album sounds less like Lynyrd Skynyrd, and more closely resembles the bare-bones British rock of the early 1970s such as The Rolling Stones and Faces. Tom Petty, Blue Öyster Cult, and Neil Young's influence on the band's sound is more prominent on this album as well.
On September 1, 2009, (after Isbell left the band) Drive-By Truckers released a collection of b-sides and rarities entitled The Fine Print: A Collection of Oddities and Rarities which were recorded during the Decoration Day and Dirty South sessions and includes tracks by the departed Jason Isbell.
In 2006, Drive-By Truckers reunited, both on-stage and on-record, with Athens-based, Savannah, Georgia-born pedal steel guitarist, John Neff. Neff first played with the band on their 1998 debut LP, Gangstabilly, and played pedal steel on three subsequent albums, 1999's Pizza Deliverance, and 2003's Decoration Day. Neff was featured heavily on the 2006 release, A Blessing and a Curse. During the next year, Neff began touring with the band as an unofficial sixth member.
On April 5, 2007 Jason Isbell announced that he was no longer a member of the band. The following day, Patterson Hood confirmed the break on the official site. In his letter to the fans, Hood described the parting of ways as "amicable" and expressed the hope that fans would continue to support Drive-By Truckers as well as Jason's solo efforts. In the same letter, Hood announced that John Neff would become a full-time member playing both guitar and pedal steel.
Shortly after Isbell's departure, on April 20, 2007, Patterson Hood announced via the band's website that a longtime friend of the Hood family, Spooner Oldham, would be joining the band playing keyboard for a string of acoustic performances called The Dirt Underneath Tour. This stripped-down tour would set the writing mood and style for the band's next release, 2008's Brighter Than Creation's Dark, a far more "swampy" and country record than its predecessor. Brighter Than Creation's Dark went to #37 on the Billboard 200 album chart and was billed as a gothic masterpiece by the band. Spooner Oldham contributed to the recording of the album, and also toured with the band in support of the record. The record boasted nineteen tracks, clocked in at over 75 minutes (for this reason the record's vinyl format was released as a double album), and features the first song contributions from bassist Shonna Tucker. Oldham stopped touring with the band at the end of Brighter Than Creation's Dark's "Home Front Tour." Yet due to his influence on Brighter Than Creation's Dark, much of the band's new material required a keyboard player. This, as well as playing with (and being heavily influenced by) keyboardist Booker T. Jones, led the Drive-By Truckers to enlist Jay Gonzalez as an official 6th bandmember. Gonzalez would go on to tour with the band and play a pivotal role in crafting the atmosphere and sound of 2010's The Big To Do.
On July 7, 2009, New West Records released the band's second official live album and DVD called Live From Austin TX. Material from Brighter Than Creation's Dark made up the majority of the mostly acoustic set-list. This was the first official release featuring Jay Gonzalez as the official 6th bandmember.
Work With Other Artists
In 2007, Drive-By Truckers backed up Bettye LaVette on her comeback album Scene of the Crime, which was released on September 25 on Anti Records. Scene of the Crime was mostly recorded at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. On it, LaVette transforms country and rock songs written by Willie Nelson, Elton John, and Don Henley, among others, into devastating mini-dramas. Scene of the Crime was nominated for a Grammy Award for “Best Contemporary Blues Album” and landed on numerous “Best of 2007” lists. Drive-By Truckers frontman, Patterson Hood, produced the album alongside LaVette. The album also features one song co-written by LaVette and Hood.
Drive-By Truckers backed up Booker T. Jones on his instrumental album Potato Hole, which was released on April 21, 2009. Neil Young also contributed over-dubbed guitar work to the album, though he and the Drive-By Truckers never met in studio. Potato Hole features a re-recording of the Cooley penned track "Space City," which originally was released on the album A Blessing And A Curse. The band performed with Jones as "Booker T and the DBTs" at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival on June 14, 2009. On January 31, 2010, Potato Hole won the Best Pop Instrumental Album award at the 52nd Grammy Awards.
In late 2009 Barr Weissman released a documentary on the Drive-By Truckers entitled The Secret To A Happy Ending. The film follows the band over three particularly straining years of their career, and captures their near break up as well as the departure of Jason Isbell from the band.
After being released from New West Records, the Drive-By Truckers entered the studio throughout periods of 2009 and emerged with two albums worth of material. The songs were divided between The Big To Do (2010) and the Drive-By Trucker "R&B Murder Album" Go-Go Boots (2011). The Big To-Do further brought media attention to the band, resulting in their highest chart success, appearances on David Letterman and Jimmy Fallon's late night shows, as well as a scheduled tour opening for Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. As the band's contract with New West Records expired after The Fine Print was released, the band signed and released The Big To-Do and Go-Go Boots on ATO Records.
On April 17, 2010, the band released a single penned by Mike Cooley to commemorate Record Store Day. "Your Woman is A Living Thing"/"Just Maybe" is the only record the Drive-By Truckers have released solely in a vinyl format. Digital downloads of the single can now be found on the band's website, as well as Facebook. Based on the success of the single, the band decided to release a limited edition (2,500 copies) special 10 inch 45 with two new songs "The Thanksgiving Filter"/"Used To Be A Cop" on Black Friday of 2010. Both of these songs also appear on the album Go-Go Boots.
New West Records released Ugly Buildings, Whores, and Politicians: Greatest Hits 1998-2009 on August 2, 2011. The announcement was immediately met with mixed perceptions by fans.
- Patterson Hood – guitar, vocals, bass (1996 – present)
- Mike "The Stroker Ace" Cooley – guitar, vocals, bass (1996 – present)
- John Neff – guitar, pedal steel guitar, vocals (1998, 1999, 2003, 2006, 2007 – present)
- Shonna Tucker – bass, vocals, guitar (2003 – present)
- Brad "The EZB" Morgan – drums (1999 – present)
- Jay Gonzalez – keyboards, vocals (2008 – present)
- David Barbe - producer, engineer and frequent studio collaborator on guitar, bass and keyboards (1998–present)
Former members and collaborators
- Spooner Oldham – electric piano, electric organ, vocals (2003, 2007–2008)
- Jason Isbell – guitar, vocals (2001–2007)
- Scott Danborn – fiddle (2003)
- Clay Leverett – harmony (2003)
- Earl Hicks – bass, snare drum (1999–2003)
- Rob Malone – guitar, vocals, bass (1999–2001)
- Jyl Freed – vocals (2000)
- Kelly Hogan – vocals (2000)
- Amy Pike – vocals (2000)
- Anne Richmond Boston – vocals (2000)
- Adam Howell – upright bass, vocals (1999)
- Matt Lane – drums (1999)
- Barry Sell – mandolin (1999)
- Gangstabilly (1998, re-released in 2005)
- Pizza Deliverance (1999, re-released in 2005)
- Southern Rock Opera (2001, re-released in 2002)
- Decoration Day (2003)
- The Dirty South (2004) #147 US
- A Blessing and a Curse (2006) #50 US
- Brighter Than Creation's Dark (2008) #37 US
- The Big To-Do (2010) #22 US, #61 UK
- Go-Go Boots (2011) #35 US
- The Fine Print: A Collection of Oddities and Rarities (2009)
- Ugly Buildings, Whores, and Politicians: Greatest Hits 1998-2009 (2011)
- "Bulldozers and Dirt"/"Nine Bullets" (1996)
- "Never Gonna Change" (2004)
- "Aftermath USA" (2006)
- "A Blessing and a Curse" (2006)
- "Self-Destructive Zones" (2008)
- "A Ghost to Most" (2008)
- "The Righteous Path" (2008)
- "This Fucking Job" (2010, retitled "Working This Job" for radio and music video channels)
- "Your Woman Is A Livin' Thing"/"Just Maybe" (2010)
- "The Thanksgiving Filter"/"Used To Be A Cop" (2010)
- Jason Isbell
- David Hood
- Muscle Shoals, Alabama
- Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section
- Muscle Shoals Sound Studios
- Wes Freed
- David Barbe
- ^ Weissman, B. (2011). The Secret To A Happy Ending [DVD]. ATO Records
- ^ http://www.drivebytruckers.com/records.html
- ^ http://www.drivebytruckers.com/news.html
- ^ http://www.knucklesammitch.com/
- ^ http://ncnlocal.com/ncnlocal_living/article_3c1a2abc-2eee-11e0-8d29-001cc4c03286.html
- ^ Weissman, B. (2011). The Secret To A Happy Ending [DVD]. ATO Records
- ^ http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2009/06/catching-up-with-patterson-hood-of-the-drive-by-tr.html/
- ^ http://www.drivebytruckers.com/records.html
- ^ http://www.facebook.com/notes/drive-by-truckers/ugly-buildings-whores-and-politicians-greatest-hits-1998-2009/10150253400672347
- Official website
- Drive-By Truckers at Allmusic
- Drive-By Truckers on RadioVA
- Drive By Truckers Interview CountryMusicPride.com March 24, 2010
- Drive-By Truckers Boulder, CO Concert Review Yellow Scene Magazine
- Truckers, Hold Steady take similar routes to rock success Boston Herald
- Simon, Bryant, "'We're Almost There': The Drive-By Truckers' Art of Place" Southern Spaces, 28 March 2011.
- Drive-By Truckers collection at the Internet Archive's live music archive
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