An Interview with Bryce Barnes and Tag Graves of
on the Fort Myers Waterway on board the Barnes’ homemade Boat ‘Heavy Metal’ (as well Sonya Barnes, wife of Bryce and my mate, Rick Wilson as part of the madness) on the afternoon of 14th May, 2006.
We are going down the river area and it’s very overgrown on the banks to which Bryce exclaims, ‘It’s a jungle’ – so I sing the old GNR classic ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ much to the joy of all present. ‘There he goes’ Bryce says, ‘It must be great to be young’ – going on to say my rendition was pretty good. Anyway onto the interview – with various intermittence. This is one hell of a ride – scuse the pun – lol.
Glenn: Why did you called the band ‘Tribal Tongue’?
Bryce: Well actually we were cruising down the road one day after a good gig in Naples (Florida) and a friend of ours – his name is Bob. What’s Bobs last name? What is it? Anyone?
Tag: Uncle Bob.
Bryce: Uncle Bob. Uncle Bob we call him. Uncle Bob. So his first name is actually Uncle I suppose – Uncle Bob.
Sonia: Bob is his last name.
Bryce: … who is actually one of the road crew and management for The Beach Boys.
(Bryce showing Rick and Tag the route)
Bryce: Yeah. He turned around and looked at me one day in the van all the way home from a stupid little gig and he goes, “What about calling the band ‘Tribal Tongue’?”, and I looked at him with my eyes and I said, “My God, how did you come up with that?, he goes, “I don’t know, it just came to me” and we said, “Wow that’s pretty weird”.
(Bryce then looks where he’s going in the water)
“Hang on I’m gonna hit these trees, hang on, look out, hey, hey, hey” and sounds his horn, “Hey what’s that?”,
Tag: Get out the way.
Bryce: Oh man.
Tag: We’re doing an interview here.
Bryce: It’s cool, it’s cool. Alright, we’re back online.
Glenn: How did you guys get together?
Bryce: Well we met at an orgy in ’79, yeah! No (laughs).
Tag: Man, I was just a pup.
Bryce: Yeah. God, what a good looking man. Hey. How did we get together? Well Joe and I moved to the Island a long, long time ago, long, long time ago (American Pie style) – bet you know that one?
Glenn: That’s the one. (I start singing ‘American Pie’)
Bryce: That’s the one. That’s the one. How did we get together? That’s pretty tough. Well out of desperation I called Tag across the United States and he said, ‘Goddamn it, I’ll be there in 2 hours’. I was like, ‘Just calm down’ - he was in Louisiana’. Tag said, ‘I’m on my way’. God – he saved our lives. You realise that (he says to Tag, laughs). And Tag came runnin’ on down and then he came up with all these crazy ideas of doing original songs and hell, these songs were ready so we recorded the suckers. And there they are, they’re on tape.
Glenn: Yeah, nice. Right what’s your background, let’s talk about Edwin Dare and bands before that.
Bryce: Well before Edwin Dare there wasn’t anything besides just local. So there you have it.
Glenn: I’ll ask Tag. What’s your background of getting to this – people you’ve worked with like Rod Stewart, Brooks & Dunn, Clapton and that?
Glenn: How was it working with some of those guys?
Tag: Oh man, it’s experience I won’t ever forget it.
Bryce: Let’s put into words Michael Abanski and Mike Wambo, Jim Schneider – they were my original reason for being in music at all. Those guys right there were the ones I grew up with. Ted Nutsker was another one. You wanna talk about going all the way back. Wow - there it is. Heart was my very first concert in my life. (He says to Tag) Tell him about the crazy brothers – that’s history from hell.
Tag: Oh well I got two older brothers back home and this is what we did all our lives. With my dad with Hank Williams and Bob Wells and Ernest Stubbs – it’s what we grew up with, so my brothers got pictures of us at home with us playin’ – I was probably 5 I think it was and we were so short. My dad was standing off the side of the bandstand, holding the microphone stand over-down because we couldn't reach it.
Bryce: (to Tag) Didn’t you have the guitar on your lap at the time?
Tag: Oh yeah yeah. We used to lay it down with a board like a slide. So that’s how we started out. Then we got involved with Leon Russell. Through Leon, we worked with (Eric) Clapton, worked with Dr. John and Billy Squire before he was ever signed to any label. Kevin and Gerry Ridgewright from REO Speedwagon – we all used to hang out together – we all associated with Leon.
Glenn: What was Dr. John like to hang out with?
Tag: Oh – well I’ve not seen anything of him since those days with Leon and you know we were in the studio one time and (George) Harrison come walkin’ in and when Clapton came in, he pretty much took Leon’s band at one time which opened the doors for us in many ways. Yeah, it was cool.
Glenn: So you became Clapton’s backing band?
Tag: Yes. And it was for Leon.
Tag: We did shows all over the (United) States and stuff like that.
Glenn: When was that?
Tag: That was back in ’75. But I’m only 36 and holding – you understand that right?
(Bryce laughs in the background)
You better make damn sure you print it like that. 36 and holding. Wooo !!
Glenn: What’s it like playing along with Clapton? What’s he like to get along with?
Tag: Oh man, it was an honour to play with the man.
Tag: Yeah. It was different with us because we were with Leon so it was the whole thing. With Leon Russell and my brothers and I. So it was really cool. Yeah. Learned a lot in this business and from those people.
Glenn: Are there certain things that stand out from that Leon Russell /Eric Clapton period?
Tag: We were just the sidemen – the band shall we say – we never really played on any recordings that as far as we know were recorded. We recorded stuff in the studio with ‘em. But as far as I know, nothing that we ever did was ever laid on the tape.
Well there was a first time I met (George) Harrison in the studio with Leon. We were recording and all of a sudden Leon says, “Yo, take a break. We’re gonna take a break”. So Leon gets off the piano, runs into the control room. We thought something was wrong. We thought we done and messed up some place. So go in the control room and Roger’s playing the track back and everything and all of a sudden one of my road guys comes back and says, “Wow man, one of the Beatles just came in” and I said, “Oh man, don’t f*ck with me like this” and I kept listening to the track and I saw this guy walk right behind me and with a big black hat and long black jacket and just go over to the far corner of the studio and sit down.
Glenn: So you got to hang out with George Harrison quite a bit?
Glenn: Did you get to tour with Brooks and Dunn?
Tag: I toured with Brooks and Dunn. Same way with Charlie Daniels. Same way with Joe Dippy Martina McCride. Hank Jnr. You see we did some of those Country USA festivals throughout the country. Anybody who’s anybody in the country market play on ‘em all through the summer and spring so that’s how we got associated with all those people. Those were the bands real posse they had signed up – they all play for Polygram.
Glenn: Got ya. Nice One.
Glenn: So you all met (Tribal Tongue) and got together … the rest is history so to speak – well not history.
Tag: Well Stet (Howland) and I met whenever we were doing the ‘Southern Rock Legends’ thing with Dave Hlubeck and his people from Molly Hatchet. That’s how I first met Brcy and them – I come down here… I’d already been playing with them and if you mention Bryce or Stet I had no outlay of who the hell they were but I knew we were gonna be playing together somehow, so I got here, we hooked up, flew backwards there, we sat down, we had a meeting. I think I went out to the club they were playing at which is ‘(The) Beach(ed) Whale’… and anyway, I sat in with ‘em. Oh god, there was something there I didn’t feel with the other guys with everything and later on, I guess a few months down the road it just worked out and here we are.
(A mad moment at The Barking Shark, Fort Myers Beach, May 2006)
Glenn: Nice One.
Tag: Yeah. It was cool. And now I live on the f*ck*n’ beach.
Glenn: (To Bryce) What was it like when you played with Blackfoot?
Bryce: Playing with Rickey was an absolute riot. Rickey is one of the coolest musician people in the sons of guns I’ve ever met. I’m so happy for him to be in ‘Skynyrd right now – he’s just finally re-achieved what he was meant to have all those years. You know what I mean.
Bryce: An amazing man. But playing with him in Blackfoot was a riot. Rickey had some big-time attitude I’ll tell you that. Rickey and I were usually the ones up all night driving the van home from various gig and he would go through these stories. He’d tell me stories about his older days and I’d sit there with my jaw droppin’ thinking ‘I’m hearing this legend of a man – the founder and the member – the one who brought Blackfoot. Hearing those stories was awesome to think that I’m sittin’ in the van travellin’ across the country I’d never even thought I’d meet or be playing with at all. It’s weird.
Tag: That’s the way it was with me and my brothers with Leon (Russell). We’d sit there and watch jam videos and movies of Leon (Russell) - you know – ‘Mad Dogs & Englishmen – Joe Cocker’ and all these other people. My God, you know and we didn’y expect to be playing with him.
Bryce: It’s just amazing to think how after years and years of being in the business – you don’t understand how many connections you actually meet but you become avoided with it. But as a kid growing up you idolize these different people and all of a sudden you’re on the same stage with ‘em. I mean, look at his, Mr. Graves for Chr*st sake. You know what I mean. He’s in our band for gods sake, come on (he says surprised at the fact).
Glenn: How did you get in Blackfoot originally? How did you meet up with Rickey?
Bryce: Well I knew Rickey and Al way back before I got in the band because we used to go to Anarbor, Michigan where Rickey and Al had a place out (there) - Mally Music or Melly Music and I always knew Rickey was the frontman for Blackfoot and all that but it was a star-stricken time back then – I was just a kid in my own band going to them as an agency for them to get us gigs and stuff like that. The band broke up I was in called ‘Edwin Dare’ they broke up and I was in limbo and my manager, Kel Pleet called me up and says, ‘I got a new gig for ya’ and I said, ‘Oh boy’, he said, ‘You know how to play the bass?’ and I said, ‘Well not really’ and he goes, ‘Wow, you should go get one because I got you a gig with Blackfoot. I said ‘Oh jesus’, ha ha. (Laugh). I’m seriously just about sh*t myself and basically well said, ‘Hey man, let’s try this’ and Kel says, ‘Get yourself a bass and learn the songs, I’ll get you the records’. So he comes back with the albums and we worked at a little storage company with my beautiful wife Sonya (behind the counter).
Sonya: I know the bass-lines.
Bryce: Yeah, she knows the bass-lines to every Blackfoot song. So I learned like two albums worth of Blackfoot material, came down, auditioned with Rickey and he says, ‘Like we only do like two songs out of everything you learned’ ha ha ha.
Glenn: Oh man.
Bryce: He goes, (speaks in a southern accent) “Ok Bryce, you passed the audition”. He goes, “You’re in the band, you’re in the band ‘Blackfoot’ man”. At that point I was like, ‘well this is really getting bizarre’, you know, thinking back in high school when a buddy of mine says, ‘Look at this new Blackfoot record ‘Strikes’ with the snake on the front’ and I was going, ‘Man, that’s awesome’ and it’s like ‘Train, Train’, I put it on and it’s like, ‘This is great, this is great’, then all of a sudden, here we are now talking about it. It’s crazy man.
Glenn: How did you get the Tribal Tongue stuff together, the style and the songs and everything else?
Bryce: The style and the songs all came from his (Tag’s) writing and his soul – the music. Joe and I, the Heavy Metal Guys, come to think of it, (to Tag) I don’t think you ever did any Heavy Metal did you Tag?
Tag: No. Not really, not really.
Bryce: Well that’s what made the true entities come together and actually work. Tag had the idea for the songs and Joe and I said to Tag, ‘Let’s put a little edge on this and rock it up a little bit. Tag was like, “Do what you wanna do with it, whatever happens here is gonna be great”. He had full confidence in and it worked.
Tag: I mean everything works. We got the music from different directions then we got the vocals to come in.
Glenn: What I like about the songs is that they’ve got such a positive outlook on them as opposed to the usual I wanna kill myself….
Bryce: You know, even in contrast to the Edwin Dare stuff, some of that was a little cynical in itself. What I really love about this record is it’s got a bunch of really cool things to say. It’s all really good stuff. ‘I got love’, I mean, my god, I mean, come on, what a great name for a song. ‘One More Shot’ which is exactly what we’re doing – this is it, we’re gonna give it one more god damn push and until who knows whose blazers will pop first.
Tag: This could be the one.
Bryce: And even if it’s not, we’ll make another one. We’ll follow it up with something better. I mean, the writing style that we have I think nowadays is a style that needs to come back. There’s an empty hole right now.
Did you see that fish?
Glenn: I missed it!
Bryce: Oh my god, are you out of your mind, you’re looking right there.
You must have seen it.
Glenn: I must have seen it and not known.
(Anyway, back to the Interview)
Who decided on the vocal harmonies, you’ve got so many harmonies on there?
Bryce: That was just about being able to actually have the ability to create ‘em for one thing and then have the imagination to figure out what type sound good on top of that type of music.
Tag: Oh yeah.
Bryce: I think the harmony structure is a little ‘Styx-like’, don’t you Tag? It’s got that kind of texture to it.
(Tribal Tongue @ The Beached Whale Fort Myers Beach, May 4th, 2006)
Tag: Well we just have all the right to tell from it that’s the thing. Everyone knows pretty much what these songs need.
Bryce: Right. You’ve got three lead vocalists in one band. You know everybody just has to..
Glenn: Muck in and…
Bryce: Yeah, just go with it…. My god (surprised at how good it sounds)
Glenn: It makes sense.
Glenn: What have been your favourite gigs so far? Joe mentioned the Lynyrd Skynyrd one last night.
Bryce: Oh that was a weird one. A couple of my favourite gigs in my life was of course warming up for Kansas because they are like one of my all time, all time favourite bands.
Glenn: What about certain gigs that have stood out to you and why?
Bryce: Wow, wow, we’ve played with Dio once in Columbus at the Alrosa Villa. But that was one, warming up for Dio was great, the Kansas thing was, Foreigner was a great thing. So many bands that we played with always stick out in your mind because the crowd’s already there. You know what I mean?
(Alrosa Villa, Columbus)
Bryce: The crowd’s already there so you feel like a star to begin with or you’re nothing. Take a number (laughs), you’ll get to the backstage.
Glenn: You were saying that EMI was on about doing some sort of deal or something?
Bryce: We don’t know what the hell’s going on there. We’ve done a little bit of research and found out that EMI is actually overseas with a record label – they’re somewhere in Australia or somewhere.
Glenn: What would you say is your favourite song on the record?
Bryce: ‘One More Shot’ because it does depict exactly what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. Just the lyrics themselves. Another one is, I like ‘Nothing stays the same’ – not because I sing it but because Tags lyrics are really heartfelt and they are very, very true – it’s real. ‘Nothing stays the same, nothing that the songs that we sing and the music that we play’. Nothing else will ever stay the same but that. Everybody knows that change is inevitable and everything except music. So there you go, that’s my two favourites right there.
Glenn: What about you Tag, what are your favourites?
Tag: Any one of ‘em. I don’t have a favourite. To me, I suppose they have different meaings you know?
Tag: It’s just sitting round and whatever drives the thing come out. I just write the words down and hope like hell they work and have to change it here and there to make it work. But the advantage we have in this thing is that we got 3 great frikkin’ singers in the band and everything just works together. We get it, lay it out on tape, we start playing it ‘til we find the right thing that works. You know, most of the time it’s pretty much laid out and I get it that nobody bitches at the stuff so everything is cool – it all works good. So I don’t really have a favourite – ‘One More Shot’ is.. pretty much explains what we’re doing because we’ve all been in this business all our damn life. I’ve been onstage with the best – I’m just trying to give this ‘One More Shot’. I need one more good run with this thing and I think we got the music that’s gonna do it. I would just give the songs out to Pop and let him decide. I think it’s for good though.
Glenn: What influenced some of the other songs?
Tag: What, you mean the words?
Glenn: Yeah, the lyrics behind the ideas and that?
Tag: Oh wow, well ‘Nothing Stays the Same’ is pretty much you know that there is everything else in life. You got your high points, you got your low points but it doesn’t feel all that to assign. It doesn’t matter how sh*tty life is – you get on stage and you play your songs – that stays, you know that doesn’t change unless you let it change. If you let it change then you’re just getting away from what it’s was at one time - what the stuff was all about. So it goes deep (does) Nothing… I’ve done this all my entire life and so this is all that all my family’s really ever known. But we still do it to this day because it’s what we do – it’s what we do.
Glenn: Yeah. What’s the plans for new songs?
Tag: I’ve already got, just from my own step well I’ve already got a whole ‘nother whip of stuff on CD ready to go, you know?
Tag: And so, we’ll all get together here in the next few weeks and start hashing stuff out. See what everybody wants to do, you know, we got a lot o’ stuff to lay on the table and make a pick and just thunder with it.
Glenn: What ones can you talk about right now?
Tag: Well one’s called ‘Stampede’. One is called ‘Legends Buggage’ – a real rocker – really cool. I got another new one called ‘Rain Dance’ that I’m bustin’ on - just really just startin’ the lyrics on – got the music all done and I’ve got some other stuff of some other CD’s that I recorded in the past that I’ve been signed to different labels with that I’m itching to bring to the table as well.
Glenn: You’ve got the legal rights to them all?
Tag: Yeah, I wrote the songs, I wrote the songs, they are all mine.
Glenn: So you are gonna do a revamp?
Tag: Yeah. Well they was recorded you know when I was on the third band with Polygram but never released. So now, they got me my deal last time so maybe they’ll help get something happenin’ again. That was ‘Real Posse’ out of Nashville Tennessee. They were a great band. A real successful band.
Glenn: What is happening in the future for ‘Tribal Tongue’?
Tag: Well we got this thing in quite a few different countries in Europe right now so we’re really getting up. I’m amazed at the response that we’re getting from this thing. So there’s a lot of stuff on the table. We’ve got different promoters out in Germany trying to get us over there some time this year and we hope something can come out of this interview here with your deal. If we can get as many… I just wanna get it to as many people as we possibly can. I wanna see this thing go… just get me out of hell here.
Glenn: You want the lights, you want the fireworks, you want the ovation, you want the…
Tag: I want it all again. Yes indeed. And now I think we can get it.
Glenn: You deserve it.
Tag: Thank you.
Glenn: I appreciate it.
Tag: You have my compliments.
Glenn: Which promoters in Germany have showed interest?
Bryce: It was Wolf – a boxer man. He’s a boxer but he’s a promoter as well and he does all the concert venues as well. We are supposed to hear from them (the promoters) at the end of May with dates.
Glenn: Do you enjoy all different types of gigs from your small bars to your massive baseball stadiums?
Tag: Oh yeah.
Glenn: (to Tag) What’s your thoughts personally to different sized venues?
Tag: Well it’s always good to be able to be close to the crowd and everything. But the bottom line is, I don’t care how you look at it – we always, we start in the clubs and we end up back in the clubs, you know. The glory is to get on the big stage where you are in front of 30 or 40,000 people. I miss that. I wanna get back to that size and everything. But that’s what we’re into this music for. That’s what we’re here for. There you are.
Glenn: When you aren’t working, what gigs do you like to go to?
Tag: It’s weird because I’ve probably been able to go to maybe 4 or 5 concerts in my lifetime because most of the time we were playin’ em. But the ones I’ve gone to see are… I’ve seen ZZ Top – great bands ya know, I’ve seen Grand Funk Railroad – Bloodrock back in 1970 which was actually one of the first shows I went to in Shreveport (Louisiana) when my brothers and I came back in from Europe. But all the whole deal throughout the years I have been wishing up I would play with some of them. I’d never thought I’d ever meet some of them that are somebody. It’s great I don’t really have any favourites – I didn’t have much opportunity to go and see the show because I was playin’.
Glenn: You had the opportunity to play with Rod Stewart, how did that come about?
Tag: Well Jay Davis is from my hometown, Shreveport, Louisiana and he and I, the other guitar player who was a friend of ours played in a band called Axxis – at the time Danny Johnson, that was his name – we were old-time rivalry’s shall we say, Craig George, my brothers and I and Jay and Axxis. Jay and Danny were out getting the deal with (Rod) Stewart so I made a decision to go to LA back in 81 I think it was. So I got in touch with Jay, went to his place, hung out, found other stuff to do and out come other deals and then I started writing some stuff and I had the chance to do the (Rod) Stewart band. You may think it’s kind of weird but it’s the truth though.
At that time I was playing the club scene in LA, I had Jay Davis, I had Tony Rock and Jimmy Z, the sax player and I had Jenny, the keyboard player at the time – all four of them on the club circuit from the Roxy, Epic Station, Orange County so we went to LA at that time too. So when they went out playin’ with (Rod) Stewart, they’d all get together and come and play the dates with me. So that was my way in to just be associated with him. To just be with those players was phenomenal – great people – great time. I’ve had a good life – a good life.
Glenn: (To Bryce) Where did that voice of yours come from as you’ve got the most incredible voice, are you from a singing family to start with?
Bryce: I don’t know. I really don’t know. I’m actually adopted so really don’t know my heritage or linear range. For some reason art and music was my way that was just the direction I went. Other people do other things, being doctors and lawyers. You have doctors that come to see you play and they look at you and go, ‘I don’t know how you do it!, how do you do that?’ and you look back at the Doctor and go, ‘My god, How do you do it? (being a Doctor)’. There’s a scale – we have a balance.
Glenn: Do you have a knack on keeping your vocals in trim?
Bryce: Not really, I just kinda go with it. Try not to abuse it too much.
Glenn: Have you always have that voice or did you get that top octave when you reached about 30 years old or have you always had that big range?
Bryce: Not always. As a matter of fact when it started out I remember the exact night when I discovered how to scream high – I remember that day just like it was a broken toe. You know what I mean?
Bryce: Cause my whole road crew, the light guy and the sound guy looked at me and went, ‘How did you do that?’, I said, ‘I don’t know but I’m not gonna forget that.’ So from that point on I realised how to flip a switch in your body to make you be able to go up like that - and that very day forward I never forgot it. It was a weird thing – even I was looking at myself going, ‘My God, how am I doing this?’. I’m singing ‘Zeppelin, I forget what it was, ‘Rock and Roll’, I think it was ‘Rock and Roll’ and you know when it gets real high at the end, I was doing it like flawless and I’m think, ‘Well I never could do this before’. Maybe it was just when that puberty thing happened.
Glenn: I was talking to Stet Howland and he was saying that you were one of the most talented people and friendliest guys he’s met.
Bryce: Oh. That’s really something to hear that from a guy like that - that is to me one of the most amazing humans I’ve ever met in my life musically, my god.
Bryce: I mean, people that play drums are one thing but people that really play the drums are another thing. I mean, some of your flashier fast players, you can see that it’s not what others are that really have it in their heart. Bar none, he’s the best drummer I’ve ever played with – ever in my life – and probably ever will.
Glenn: Well you play bass and lead & rhythm and sing, plus the drums as well?
Bryce: Well I don’t really play drums itself, I’m more a percussion – like the bongos and congas kind of thing. But my real heart lies in playing the guitar and singing. Those two things are foremost – 1st the singing of course and then guitar comes after it. If I have to do anything from this point forward in my life I’d like it to be to sing and play guitar.
Glenn: Do you still get guys coming up to you and saying, ‘I remember you, you were the guy in ‘Edwin Dare’?
Bryce: Yes, Yes still to this day. The band is still going strong as far as interest in the band and it’s been over ten years since it broke up.
Glenn: And I remember ‘Edwin Dare’ from a good few years ago.
Bryce: (In surprise) You do actually remember that.
Glenn: I can’t remember much about it but …
Bryce: Well that’s amazing.
Glenn: I remember reading reviews on ‘Edwin Dare’.
Bryce: Yeah big reviews and the band was a really hot phenomenon for its style of music because I think we added a little bit more art to the writing and the creativity of the substance of the songs, you know what I mean, they were important to us. We took a lot of pride in the music that we wrote and we didn’t wanna do anything that was fake or see-through or just you know, (starts singing) ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’ and not too much of that, I love that, I love that.
Glenn: But there was just too much of that and you gotta have some substance behind it as opposed to some songs sounding the same.
Bryce: Well I think growing up with the musical influences that we’ve had in the 70’s that really did write for, from the heart and from the mind like Yes and Kansas and Boston and everybody – they all wrote from a real perspective of life – not just to write a hook line to sell a song. It was real lyrics that were from experiences – life experiences. I don’t know what’s going on now but that’s the way I felt of back then. That’s why it impacted me so hard.
Glenn: Got ya.
Bryce: Made me wanna write the way I do and made me not settle for second best – if the line sounds like something I’ve heard before I’m gonna change it right now and make it original. If it sounds like something I’ve heard, ‘B*llsh*t’ – no, can’t do it. It’s so hard to do because so many songs have been written, it’s hard to be original anymore.
Bryce: It really is.
Glenn: How does it make you feel in the last few years when ‘Edwin Dare’ got big when you heard your songs in a club?
Bryce: It was really cool. As a matter of fact one of the coolest things I’ve ever had happen, you’re gonna love this, ‘I’m sitting in a gas station, fueling up my car, in the middle of the intersection a hundred yards away is a car blasting our music and I’m thinking, ‘I don’t even know who that is or anything but my song is being played in someone elses car’, to me that was huge, Imagine hearing it on the radio, come on.
Glenn: Yeah. Class.
Tag: I remember walking into a Pawn shop or some place in Mississippi or something place downtown, we were stopping and buying new CD’s.
Bryce: Ha ha, saw a ‘Real Posse’ CD in a pawn shop.
Glenn: Ha ha ha ha.
Bryce: That’s great.
Tag: God damn, somebody must don’t like it , maybe they did like it and it got them some money.
Bryce: Like this is like going back in time. You see somebody wearing your t-shirt and you have to walk up and say, ‘Where did you get that because it was ten years ago or 20 years ago when the shirt was made? Where did you get that shirt?’ and the best answer I ever heard was ‘A Garage sale’.
Tag: Oh wow.
Bryce: Yep there it is, ‘I got your shirt at a garage sale’. It’s like ‘Oh’ and that meant a lot to somebody didn’t it? Boy somebody really liked that one. They got one for 5 cents (laughs) – come on !
Glenn: What hobbies and interests do you guys have outside the band?
Bryce: The only hobbie I’ve got outside music is my wife and that’s artwork in itself and art – I paint and draw and then that’s what I do. I’ve got to get back into painting some day. I feel that when my legs don’t work and my voice blows out, I got my hands and I can still make scribblings and go.
Glenn: What sort of stuff do you like painting?
Bryce: (looks at Tag and jokes) You. Yeah. Come to my house at 4 O’clock and don’t bring anything.
Bryce: Anything and I mean anything.
Tag: I’ll make it a point not to be there.
(We all laugh)
Bryce: Shoes, I don’t like feet.
Glenn: And what’s the way forward for ‘Tribal Tongue’, you’ve got your gigs happening, you’ve got a new album out this year – isn’t it around December it’s coming out?
Bryce: Oh, of the new Album?
Bryce: I’m hopin’ that… I’d like to get back in the studio as soon as we possibly can and do another record. I mean the only thing to do right now is create another record to back this one up. That’s the right thing to do.
Glenn: Yeah. If you could get signed with a certain label, who would like to get signed with and why?
Bryce: Well, I would of course look for distribution – the right label, I mean that they’re actually gonna do something for the band instead of just let us be a tax write-off if it fails. I’ll look at a record deal that exists – it’s a curious thing for all bands. If they come to you saying, “We’re gonna advance you a hundred grand or whatever then you pretty much know they it’s for real. But if they say 50 or 20 then you go, ‘Oh well, this isn’t gonna be persued like you usually do”. So there’s a lot of variable things with contracts and labels to sign with. A deal is a deal and if it’s a good one you know it.
Glenn: If I had a label I’d sign you tomorrow if I could.
Bryce: I know.
(At The Beached Whale, Fort Myers Beach, 16th May, 2006)
Glenn: It’d be great to get your name around and get you gigs in the UK and all that sort of stuff.
Bryce: I can’t wait. I’ve never gone overseas and I can’t wait to do it. Can’t wait. Tags played all over the earth. I’ve never played anywhere outside the continental US and I can’t wait to do something like that. Just to see what it’s like to be somewhere else.
Glenn: Yeah, yeah.
Bryce: Especially if the music is already there and people know it. To see the response that you might get. You know?
Glenn: Yeah. It sounds good to me.
Bryce: I can’t wait.
Glenn: If you were to write an autobiography what would you call it and what would you have on the cover?
Bryce: Wow that’s heavy duty stuff. I don’t know – on the cover I’d have to search back in my childhood to a vision that was probably one of the most influential things and I already know what it is. It would be looking down through water at stones on the bottom of the water and wondering how they got there and why? You know what I mean? And that’s kinda like where we all are. How did we get here and why?
Glenn: How did Bryce get here and why?
Bryce: Exactly. That’s it. How did we get here and why? That’s it, that’s it.
Glenn: Looking at the stones.
Bryce: Looking at the stones under the water, floating on an innertube at 6 O’clock in the evening and in the evening the water’s calming down and the boats have stopped and you’re looking down at the little pebbles and stuff and the beauty of it, each little rock is so different and you’re thinking ‘Why?’, you know, how did they get here and why? And why am I here witnessing this?
Glenn: What about you Tag?
Tag: I’ve got pictures at home of me in my brothers lot as well as when we all made our split. Film as well as pictures of my whole family. I can remember the days when we were kids and every Friday and Saturday morning we were on t.v. by the time I was 5 till about 19 years old. So that’s what we did on Friday and Saturdays. But on Sunday morning, it didn’t matter how late we stayed up, my Dad would get us all up and my Grandad whenever they were around – you know, my Grandad played fiddle – I’ve got fiddles that my Grandad played on and that my great Grandad played on that I’ve kept over these years. So every Sunday morning, that’s what we did – we got up and we played music. I’ve got pictures from back then to this day with just about every act I ever played with. So I would do a lot of stuff with pictures. I mean, I’ve actually thought about that cause because this Graves family has been in this business for a long time and to me as well as my brothers we’ve always been associated with major people together as well as apart. So there’s a lot of stories (laughs), there’s a lot of stories, you know.
Glenn: Could you think of a certain picture for the cover or a title?
Tag: God, I really wouldn’t know what to call it because, I mean, because it’s all I’ve ever done. So yeah, it’s a kind of strange question to be able to answer.
Glenn: Maybe Sonya could answer that one?
Tag: Maybe she could.
Glenn: (To Sonya): If you were to write an autobiography about living as a wife of a rock star, what would you call it?
Sonya: Brand New – I’d never dated a musician before I met my husband, and I met my husband and I knew from the 1st time that I met him that he was the one. As far as our lifestyle goes, I work in a bar, I see lots of musicians, I see lots of people. We keep late hours, we have lots and lots of fun, we have lots of freedom, we have no children and it’s the most fun I’ve ever had.
Glenn: That’s spot on that.
Sonya: Well I think its nice. People think that if you are married to a rock star that you are scraping for money all the time but you really are the most fortunate person in the world. They choose to do what they love for a living and it means they are the happiest person at home.
Glenn: What made you move to Florida?
Bryce: Blackfoot. The band was based out of here in Fort Myers. There was a studio here and that’s exactly what brought us here – Blackfoot itself.
Glenn: Yeah – you got to record the ‘One More Shot’ CD at Rickey’s studio.
Bryce: Yes we did and it’s exactly how we got to be able to do that.
Glenn: How long did it take to put together in the studio?
Bryce: It took us a good 2 or 3 months maybe of a couple of days a week going in like three days a row in a week and we’d spend anything like 8-15 hours at a time.
Glenn: How did Joe (Monroe) become to be a member of the band, did it originate with him being a friend of yours?
Bryce: Well Joe was in our band originally, way before that, here on the beach. We picked him almost exclusively because he was the next most absolutely talented musician we could have. It’s like if we are gonna put something together, let’s get the most talented people we can find.
Glenn: Makes sense.
Bryce: Hell yeah. And it was undeniable. We had to have him and he outrageously said ‘Yeah’. I never thought he would. That was way back in the days of ‘The Oysters’ way back when.
Glenn: Got ya. What would you like to say to fans who read this – fans of Tribal Tongue, Edwin Dare or fans of you all individually?
Bryce: All I can say is thanks to everybody for sticking with us for this long and following us and keeping tabs on what we’re doing – we’re just like you are, we’re just gonna strive forward and keep going in whatever we’re doing. Whether you are cooking in a restaurant or doing whatever you do, we’re musicians and we’re just gonna keep going and please keep looking for stuff in the future and keep coming out because we’re not giving up yet, we’re not giving up.
Glenn: And you Tag, what you like to say to fans and future fans who will read this interview?
Tag: Oh man, I hope we can get to everybody we possibly can and fan members, get ready guys I hope I’ll see a lot of ya again.
big thankyou to all involved on this trip, the staff at The Channel
Mark & The Parrot Key and of course Rick & Crystal Wilson for
making it all possible.