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InterviewsInterview with Dan Baird & Warner E Hodges of Homemade Sin

Posted on Tuesday, January 08 2013 @ 13:42:25 CST by Dean Pedley
General It was way back in 1986 that the Georgia Satellites almost scaled the summit the Billboard charts with MTV favourite 'Keep Your Hands To Yourself', only being kept off the top spot by Bon Jovi's 'Livin' On A Prayer'. Founder member, vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Dan Baird left the Satellites in 1990 and would go on to form Dan Baird & Homemade Sin, finding a core audience in the UK and Europe where they tour every year. Just prior to them wowing the crowd at Hard Rock Hell, Sea of Tranquility caught up with Dan and veteran guitarist Warner E Hodges.

So here we are in Wales in the freezing cold in December…how are you enjoying the Hard Rock Hell experience?

DB: Well, we saw lots of sheep driving here through the mountains and all the jokes that people tell are not true…the sheep were really not afraid at all (laughs)

WH: Last year was the first Hard Rock Hell we had ever done and we basically drove here all night to do it. We got here, played early in the day and left and we were all in bed dead asleep by three o clock in the afternoon. But it's a really cool event and they have got all kinds of people here

DB: I like the idea of a winter event because you have so much stuff going on in the summertime and it's nice to do a thing where you have a "gathering of the tribes" kind of motif. We are playing at a reasonable time later tonight and we are not going to be like the walking wounded that we were last year…so we'll really stink tonight (laughs)

You are regular visitors here in the UK and Europe, how have the shows been going so far?

WH: We're four weeks deep, we've been in Europe already and we just got to the UK yesterday

DB: Europe and the UK really respond to us and it's kind of like the same thing that happened to the jazz guys back in the 1960's when Coltrane and all of those guys could still come over and play here. Back then when the Beatles hit in America they couldn't get arrested so they started coming over here. If you play hard and you still really mean it then there is an audience here that are still used to going out where in America they are not and they stay at home with their boob tube

As far as festivals go there really isn't anything in America to compare with the festival circuit here

WH: It has Bonnaroo which is really the huge established stars and the brand new kids. There is no middle ground so they will have Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty as the headliners and then a whole bunch of bands that I have never heard of

DB: Anything that would be a success where you had five or ten thousand people turning up just doesn't happen in the United States

WH: It isn't big enough (laughs)

An event like this with a small crowd but very much a captive audience must really appeal to you

DB: We operate under the premise that we play anywhere as long as there is enough electricity and enough people with big hair to absorb the extra high end off of our guitars so the sound man doesn't yell at us. I look at a room at the sound man looks at us and I say we're going to need 50 people or 100 people in here and half of them must be girls with big hair (laughs)

WH: It's a wonderful thing to play over here because the audience allows the band to go on the exploration that we try to go on every night and they seem to come with us which is a really cool thing

DB: We do about half and half between songs where we're going to go fishing a little bit and songs where we're going to play it straight and for those of you that want us to be normal and be in box then here you go but enjoy it, it's going to be quick. The rest of you all come on let's go!

How important has it been that you are still able to play new music and not be looked upon as a nostalgia act

DB: Very important. I never wanted a job…the verb is "play", it's not work. There are nights when it is go to work and those are the nights when we say "tomorrow we'll be better"

WH: The lifeblood of a musician is give me a new canvas and one of the things that is great about Dan even with his older stuff it mutates and changes and he very much wants it too

DB: If it was going to be exactly the same as it was thirty years ago then how invested can I be. It's all about trying to keep things moving along and keeping it fun for me and hopefully then it will be fun for the rest of the band

WH: That's totally true. If the singer is having a good time then the rest of us will, if the singer guy is having a bad time then we've got work on our hands and the wagon becomes quite a bit harder to pull. Dan's band is loaded with good players…

DB: I'm the worst player in the band

WH: (laughs) I disagree with that 100%

DB: You surround yourself with people who are better than you and you have to keep getting better so I had to get to be a better singer and a better guitar player

WH: All these years later everyone is still striving to be better than they were yesterday

The last Homemade Sin studio album was the eponymous release back in 2008. Can we expect a new Homemade Sin CD sometime soon?

DB: We might do; we are doing three new songs that are in the rotation that we haven't recorded yet. So I have to decide if I want to do like last time and put all of the new songs out together so people can buy them on a CD because the way new music is released has evolved since the last time we put out a record. So it's a case of lets introduce some new songs into the show because some will stay the same but some of them stand a chance of evolving and that's always interesting to hear where it's going to go

The two of you are also together in another band, The Bluefields…

DB: That's right I'm the bass player which is so much easier (laughs)

WH: The Bluefields was originally my next solo record which mutated into something a bit more serious. Dan came along, heard it and said "cool, I'm going to play bass on it because you don't like playing bass". And I thought well that should be interesting because he has been stood alongside one of the best bass players in the world for the last forty years. And it is very bass-player like and Dan puts his bass-player like hat on and the bonus is you have got Dan Baird in the room. So it mutated with a buddy of ours Joe Blanton who is a really good singer and we'd write something, I would sing it and Joe would be singing under his breath and it was like well that is 10 times better than me so Joe you need to be singing. One thing led to another and it has become a very cool project. Our buddy Steve Gorman from the Black Crowes played drums on it

There is a Southern rock theme tonight with Blackfoot and Molly Hatchet playing, do you consider yourselves part of that?

DB: Well we're from the South but I don't really see us as a Southern rock band…is Tom Petty, the B52's or REM Southern rock? Because of 'Keep Your Hands…' and the predictable nature of the chord structure and melody, which was my handshake to the world, people just went "well you are a Southern rock band". And my reaction was well we are a rock band from the South and it's not just splitting a hair…when I think Southern rock I don't think Skynyrd or Allman Brothers I do think Outlaws, I do think Marshall Tucker

You've had a long career, what would you like to be remembered for musically?

DB: For me, personally, it's an individual memory not collective. There have been a handful of nights when we have played and you can tell that everyone in the audience is getting the fact that "ok the Good Lord has seen fit to smile on us tonight". And it's that moment that you can sense someone's perception of what rock and roll can do has been altered. It's a combination of competence, fearlessness, musicality and I don't have those nights every night, no one does, but I think that we have more than our fair share

For more on Homemade Sin head over to www.danbairdandhomemadesin.com/
The Bluefields will be touring in the early part of 2013, check out www.thebluefields.com/

Dean Pedley and Mark Davies for Sea of Tranquility


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