Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The Lost Writings #1

So I am trying my hand at being a freelance music writer.
I went out and got one interview on my own and was assigned one bye the JFP editors.
Strangely, neither one was published. There are/will be alot of reason for this. Some are my fault, some are editorial decision that are beyond me, some will probably be a fucked up situation outside of anyones control. But Whatever!
This first one is for a show that is happening here in Jackson on Friday. Enjoy!

If there is a phrase to describe Graham Colton, that phrase is, “Down to Earth”. Talking to the man is less like talking to a musician and more like talking to a buddy after work while catching a beer. Still, Graham has led a very story book life. He was once a high school football star; now is a successful touring musician and environmental activist.

Graham was born in late 1981 in Oklahoma City, where he went to high school at the Heritage Hall School. He was the football teams quarter back and led the school to an undefeated state championship with his friend and teammate Wes Welker, who is currently a wide receiver for the New England Patriots. After high school, Graham went to Southern Methodist University, where he played local bars, pubs and coffee house. With this local fan base, he recorded his first demo that eventually came into the hands of the Counting Crow’s Adam Duritz who asked him to open for them on tour. After that, Graham and his band opened for Better than Ezra, Train, John Mayer, Dave Matthews Band, and Kelly Clarkson. He has played on the Late Show with David Letterman, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and the Today Show. His music has been featured on TV channels like HBO, ABC Family, and Oprah’s TV network.

Graham is currently on tour to support his album, Pacific Coat Eyes vol. 2,with his Go Natural tour. He is currently crossing the south eastern U.S. doing stripped down, intimate shows. He is doing all this while promoting Compressed Natural Gas as a fuel source for his tour. You can follow his tour diary and blog at We caught up to him the night before his tour started.

Growing up what were your musical influences?

The biggest influences I had were the bands that I had when I got my drivers license. I remember when I was 16 and I left the DMV and I sort of had that moment of freedom. I put the Counting Crows record in there and bands like the Wallflowers, any thing that was post-grunge. I just felt like these are groups that resembled the classic, greats. People like Tom Petty and The Beatles. It was definitely ironic that bout five, six years later I was touring with most of these people. So it was just one of those things that, early on I got to live out my dreams.

Who are you listening to now?

It definitely changes. One of my favorite artists is a Mississippi guy, Charlie Mars.. I’ve know Charlie forever. We have been doing it awhile, but consider ourselves new artists. I definitely always have Tom Petty in the ipod. A band called Dawes and an artist called Kathleen Edwards, who in my opinion is, as close the next Tom Petty as you are going to get. And she is a girl.

How did you transition from high school quarter back to musician and how does that influence your music?

Growing up in Oklahoma, its kinda like a religion down here, same as the south, playing football is what you do. But for me I loved Friday nights more than I loved practice. My passion was always music, I was always thinking about where I was going to play after the game and on Saturday night. Wes would help me round up my friends when I would play at a Mexican restaurant every Saturday night after the game.

I get interviewed a lot about Wes and my story, we had a very “Friday Night Lights” kind of experience. We won the state title and went undefeated. It was a really magical time because it is like being in a band; you are right next to your friends. You are competing. It wasn’t just the stuff on the field that finds its way into songs. There is nothing like being in high school and playing sports with your buddies, the comrade is second to none. In a way being on tour feels like that. Going into these towns and being on stage, it is just a great experience.

You have toured with a lot of big name and diverse acts, both solo and with your band. Has time on the road affected your outlook and songwriting?

I think as I was just starting out, getting to go out on tour with the Counting Crows for off and on two years. Fortunately, when you spend that much time with any band you are going to absorb the best of what they do. And fortunately Counting Crows, in my opinion, is one of the best bands of all times. Bands like them and Better than Ezra are huge, big brother to me. Between them and Counting Crows, I would say I wear their influence on my sleeve. I think you will hear a lot of those bands in my music and you know what I don’t really apologies for it. I learned so much from those guys and still kinda ride their coat tails. It’s a big part of the songs that I’m writing now.

Have you always been environmental conscience or is that a more recent cause?

It has always been part of my life, but I have never taking a stand like this before. To be honest it really started kinda backward for me. When you are an artist like me, and there are many artists and bands out there at my level. As CD sales don’t do what they use to anymore, the business itself is at such a time of change, you got to do what you can to get your music to people. The way that I have found is you got to keep touring. With the price of gas it is really hard for guys like me to gas up the van, with the guys, and go from town to town for a long period of time when you are paying fours bucks a gallon. I got to thinking, what can I do to be a voice for other musicians, as you know, there are not many other business where guys tour around in planes, trains and automobiles. I approached the people here in Oklahoma and told them what I want to do. I felt like it was a good marriage of educating people bout the environmental positive of natural gas and also to be honest, it is easier on the pocket book.

Are you meeting with fans before or after shows to promote it?

The coolest thing is, all this is meant to be, obviously I am not playing arenas yet. It is going to be intimate venues, small clubs, and theaters. So much of what I do is about just getting to talk to people. I definitely feel like, every show I do I talk to people after the show. If I can throw out some information and some statistics on how much money I am saving and how much better it is for the environment, maybe people will be a voice and we can make some changes.

Come catch Graham Colton with Matthew Mayfield play at Hal n Mal’s Red Room on November 4th. Tickets are $10 at the door.

Yeah, I know. Hunter S Thompson, I'm not!

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home