Interview with Scott B. Bomar

Scott B. Bomar spoke with Chapter 16 about Southbound: An Illustrated History of Southern RockRead the rest of the interview here!

Long-Haired Country Boys

Rumbling out of the South at the beginning of the 1970s, Southern rock was a mix of back-to-basics rock and roll, blues, country, and soul—wrapped in a new vision of the American South. In his new book, Southbound: An Illustrated History of Southern Rock, Nashville native Scott B. Bomar chronicles the history of this uniquely American music and the musicians who created it.

Despite the chart successes of the Allman Brothers Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Marshall Tucker Band, and others, the artistry and innovations these musicians brought to rock music are often overlooked, casualties of persistent and pernicious prejudices about the South. Bomar tackles those oversights directly, building a case for the importance and inclusiveness of a style that sought to embrace the most admirable aspects of Southern life and culture while rejecting old bigotries. Drawn from interviews with dozens of musicians and illustrated with scores of band photos, album covers, label shots, and concert posters, Southbound gives the stories of individual bands as well as the history of a truly American music.

Bomar recently answered questions from Chapter 16 via email:

 There’s a great quote from Gregg Allman near the start of the book: “‘Southern rock’ is like saying ‘rock rock.’ Rock and roll was born in the South.” How did you arrive at a definition of Southern rock that was workable for the book, and what is that definition?

Elvis, Little Richard, Jerry Lee—all those guys came from the South, and understanding that is part of the Southern-rock story. When people use the term “Southern rock,” however, they’re generally talking about the Allman Brothers Band, the Marshall Tucker Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and so on. What happened was that you had these kids growing up on blues, soul, country, and rock in places like Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, or North Carolina. They had shared cultural experiences as Southerners, but they also had the shared experience of becoming long-haired music freaks in an environment that was fairly conservative. Even though Southern rock is often regarded as “redneck” music today, a “redneck” in the 1960s was a guy with a crew cut who just might be inclined to kick the ass of a freaky long-haired rocker.

So these guys were pretty countercultural and tended to stick together. As they formed bands and became successful in the early 1970s, the fact that they were Southerners made them unique in the wider world of freaky long-haired rockers. So they were fish out of water at home because they were rockers, and they were fish out of water in the rock world because they had funny accents. Needless to say, they tended to bond because they understood one another. Charlie Daniels told me that Southern rock is a genre of people more than it is a genre of music, and I think that’s a pretty good definition of something that’s a little slippery to fully define.

But I did write a book about it, so I had to come up with something more precise. In the introduction I listed four criteria that guided my decisions about who would—and would not—be included in the book. Sometimes people skip introductions, but this is one of those cases where it actually frames the entire book. And maybe it will even start a little debate.

You’re young enough to have missed the original heyday of Southern rock. How did you first discover the music?

My dad is in the music business, so I was surrounded by music as early as I can remember. Maybe I had some records for kids when I was little, but if I did, I don’t recall them. I was into Elvis and the Beatles at a very young age, so I was always looking to the past when it came to my musical choices. I started playing guitar around age twelve or thirteen. It was the 1980s, so what was on the radio wasn’t very guitar-heavy. That’s when I really got into classic rock, and it was around that time that 104.5 The Fox was just getting going in Nashville. Southern rock was a big chunk of their classic rock programming, so I was always hearing the Allmans, Skynyrd, Wet Willie, Marshall Tucker, ZZ Top, 38 Special, and those kinds of Southern groups on the radio. This was also around the time that everyone was embracing CDs, so I was building my music collection with the CD issues of classic albums.

00102657

Win a Martin D18 Acoustic

Contest Slide 770x420

Guitar Player and Rolling Stones Gear have teamed up to give you a chance to Win the Brands of the Rolling Stones! Now you can own some of the major brands of equipment the Rolling Stones played including Fender, Martin, Framus, Zemaitis, Gretsch, and Vox in this exciting new sweepstakes! They are also giving away the new book Rolling Stones Gear: All the Stones’ Instruments from Stage to Studio by Andy Babiuk and Greg Prevost.

And to wrap up this amazing contest, we present this gorgeous D18 Martin acoustic! The contest ends this Friday, so if you haven’t entered yet now is your chance. Don’t pass up this opportunity to win the brands of the Rolling Stones!

D-18

Listen: Scott B. Bomar on Freewheelin’ Sirius XM

Scott B. Bomar met up with with Chris and Meredith of the Freewheelin’ show on Sirius XM to discuss Southbound!

>>LISTEN HERE<<

Many of the architects of rock and roll in the 1950s, including Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Little Richard, were 00102657Southerners who were rooted in the distinctive regional traditions of country, blues, and R&B. As the impact of the British Invasion and the psychedelic era faded at the end of the following decade, such performers as Bob Dylan and the Band returned to the simplicity of American roots music, paving the way for Southern groups to reclaim their region’s rock-and-roll heritage. Embracing both Southern musical traditions and a long-haired countercultural aesthetic, such artists as the Allman Brothers Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd forged a new musical community that Charlie Daniels called “a genre of people more than a genre of music.”

Focusing primarily on the music’s golden age of the 1970s, Southbound profiles the musicians, producers, record labels, and movers and shakers that defined Southern rock, including the Allmans, Skynyrd, the Marshall Tucker Band, Wet Willie, the Charlie Daniels Band, Elvin Bishop, the Outlaws, the Atlanta Rhythm Section, .38 Special, ZZ Top, and many others.

From the rise and fall of the mighty Capricorn Records to the music’s role in helping Jimmy Carter win the White House and to its continuing legacy and influence, this is the story of Southern rock.

108 Rock Star Guitars: The Lou Reed Story

Lisa S. Johnson has a story about each an every guitar she photographed on her journey to create 108 Rock Star Guitars. Tune in to her Youtube page every week to hear a new story. Here she is talking about her experience in photographing Lou Reed’s blue Bolin.

Interview with Scott B. Bomar

Scott B. Bomar had a great interview featured in the online magazine, KUDZOO. Check out some of the questions Scott answered and read the rest of the article here.

Scott B. Bomar puts a face on Southern rock with the new book, Southbound

by Michael Buffalo Smith

With his new book Southbound: An Illustrated History of Southern Rock (Backbeat) writer Scott B. Bomar has delivered a fitting tribute to an often overlooked musical genre that more than deserves this type of homage. (See review this issue). KUDZOO caught up with the writer/researcher/historian/musician to find out what compelled him to undertake such a huge project

You grew up in Nashville in a “music business family.” What did your parents do?

00102657My dad, Woody Bomar, was a songwriter in the late 1970s and early ‘80s who wrote songs for Loretta Lynn, Conway Twitty, Lee Greenwood, Hank Williams, Jr., and other big artists of that era. He transitioned into the business side of things at Combine Music Publishing, which represented the songs of some amazing writes like Kris Kristofferson and Dolly Parton. He eventually launched his own company, Little Big Town Music, in the late ‘80s. After a little more than a decade – and about fifteen #1 hits – he and his partner sold Little Big Town to Sony, where he then went to work heading up the Creative department as a Senior Vice President. After a few years, he launched another independent company, and he’s still nurturing great songwriters, which is what he loves. My dad has a lot of integrity and isn’t into playing political games when it comes to his career. I grew up thinking that was the norm in the music business, until I went into the business mmyself. That was a wake-up call! My mom was a kindergarten teacher and doesn’t fully grasp our music geek fanaticism, so I guess the “music business family” is pretty much me and my dad. My wife also works in the music department of a national daily TV show. But my mom cheers us all on!

What are your earliest memories of Southern Rock? Tell us a little about your younger years, any memorable shows you attended, favorite albums.

I was born in 1975, so I completely missed out on the big Southern rock boom of the mid 1970s. I’m an only child, so I spent a lot of time around adults when I was growing up. Maybe that made me an old soul, but I’ve always been interested in the music of the past. When I was in high school, I was really into Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and contemporary bands like that, but I was also obsessed with classic rock radio. One of my best friends and I first met in the hallway in high school because I heard him say he liked the Guess Who. This was about 1991. Nobody our age liked the Guess Who. We went out to the parking lot during lunch and sat in his beat up Datsun hatchback listening to “These Eyes” over the single mono speaker mounted in the middle of the dash. After that, we formed a band.

But I digress. Growing up in the South, classic rock radio was heavy on Southern rock. I first heard Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Allmans, the Marshall Tucker Band, 38 Special, and all these groups on the 104.5 “The Fox” in Nashville. I don’t think that station exists anymore, but it was part of my education. My concert experiences were obviously after the golden era of Southern rock, but the most memorable would have to be the time I saw Lynyrd Skynyrd in Memphis. A very drunk woman passed out, fell in my lap and proceeded to pee her pants. I instinctively shoved her off very quickly and she kind of rolled down this little grass hill for several feet before getting entangled with some other concert-goers. So, I’d like to apologize to the drunk wet-pants lady wherever she is today. Maybe she’s still passed out on that grass.

Win Charlie Watts’ Gretsch Drum Kit

Contest Slide 770x420

Guitar Player and Rolling Stones Gear have teamed up to give you a chance to Win the Brands of the Rolling Stones! Now you can own some of the major brands of equipment the Rolling Stones played including Fender, Martin, Framus, Zemaitis, Gretsch, and Vox in this exciting new sweepstakes! They are also giving away the new book Rolling Stones Gear: All the Stones’ Instruments from Stage to Studio by Andy Babiuk and Greg Prevost. If nothing else, enter to win a set of gorgeous Gretsch drums just like Charlie used to love! Read below for an excerpt about the kit from Rolling Stones Gear. 

 

Charlie used his 1950s maple Gretsch kit and included an Italian UFIP 18-inch Chinese cymbal. Later, when UFIP was Gretsch RollingStonesDrumsGerman-owned, Richard King (who supplied Charlie with a lot of his gear) remarked: “[Charlie] did accept an endorsement from an Italian cymbal company UFIP. He likes their 18-inch China crash cymbal, and when the new German owner sent Charlie sixty to try out, only two were up to his standards.” Charlie later revealed: “I play a UFIP cymbal. I play it the Chinese way, with the edges up. I like them because they’re very trashy. They do tend to crack, and I can only drill them so much before they lose the sound and go dead. I’ve kept them all though, for thirty years.” Charlie, not a man of many changes, shed further light on his cymbals, a setup that has remained steady throughout the years: “John DeChristopher at 
Zildjian is always sending me cymbals. He’s a
lovely guy, but I never use them right away! I 
choose the ones I like, put them away, and let
 them marinate. For me, finding a cymbal is about
going into a second-hand shop and digging. I 
prefer one of Shelly Manne’s old cymbals to ten 
new ones. Even a guy in a dance band or a club;
 HIS cymbals get a sound and a look about them.
I don’t like new drums either, and I HATE new
shoes.” He continued: “I like things that are 
well made, like Zildjians, but that are fifty years
old. I use an old 18-inch flat ride, and I’m scared
 stiff it’s going to go. They’ve sent me new ones, but they’re never as good. I found it in Paris in ’70- something with Chuch Magee. We were bombed out of our ’eads at the time, but I’ve never stopped using it. I’ve used it in a piano trio, and I’ve used it behind Keith, and it’s fabulous. It’s a beautiful cymbal to record with.” Concerning Charlie’s stage sound, Benji Lefevre, the front-of-the-house soundman/sound engineer for the tour, commented: “Charlie tunes it his way, and it just produces the Charlie Watts sound, so I don’t mess with it. He does, however, have a very light jazzy bass drum technique, which enables me to use delicate high quality microphones on it.”

listen: C. Eric Banister on the High and Low Podcast

Eric Banister had a chat with the folks at the High and Low Podcast to talk about his Johnny Cash FAQ, which they call “one of the most comprehensive treatments of Johnny’s music you can find.”

>>LISTEN HERE<<

00119344Johnny Cash remains one of the most recognizable artists in the world. Starting in 1956, he released an album every year until his death in 2003. In addition to these albums, there were also some posthumous releases in the years after his death. From rockabilly to country, folk to comedy, gospel to classical, the prolific Cash touched them all. His hit singles crossed over from country to pop, as he transcended genres and became a superstar around the globe.

Cash skyrocketed from the beginning, flying through the ’60s until he was one of the country’s biggest stars by the end of the decade. Following his own muse through the ’70s, Cash slowly faded commercially until he nearly disappeared in the ’80s. Instead of giving up, he made an incredible late-career run in the ’90s that took him into the new millennium, along the way collaborating with various contemporary rock and pop artists.

His offstage problems often overshadowed the music, and his addiction often takes center stage in the story, pushing the music off the page. But Johnny Cash FAQ celebrates the musical genius of Cash and takes a look at every album Cash released, the stories behind the hits, and how he sustained a fantastic nearly 50-year career.