The MusicNerd Q&A With The Drive-By Truckers

Photo by David McClister
Photo by David McClister

It’s not everyday that acclaimed rockers Drive-By Truckers are in our neck of the woods. So for that reason along with the fact that they are an amazing band, I would highly recommend getting your ass over to Prince Edward Island this Saturday (July 12) when the Drive-By Truckers perform as a part of the Big Red Music Festival.

Stating he was very much looking forward to his group’s first visit to Atlantic Canada, The MusicNerd Chronicles had the pleasure of chatting with Drive-By Truckers vocalist-guitarist Patterson Hood last week.

The three years that lapsed between 2011’s Go-Go Boots and your newest record English Oceans was the longest span of time between albums for the band. Was it simply time for the band to catch its breath after seemingly ceaseless touring and recording in the decade prior?

We definitely needed to step away from the band for a period of time. We had worked to a point where, had we not taken the break, it would have been working against us rather than for us. From 1998 onwards, we would release a record every year to two years and then spend the next year to year and a half touring the album. We literally just hit the wall. We were all physically burned out but we were suffering musically as well.

Did you keep moving forward all those years because you were afraid of losing the momentum that the group was building?

Very much so. On the less rational side of things, I think a big reason why we went so long before we considered taking a break was because we started this band when we were in our 30’s. Other bands were 10 years younger than us, doing the same thing. So once the group began gaining momentum, we had worked so hard for it that we were so terrified of losing what we had built up. But then it dawned on us at some point that if we don’t take care of ourselves and started putting out substandard records, it’s all going to go away anyway.

Are you working towards finding a better work/life balance for the band moving forward?

In the past, it was more of the function of economics that kept us so busy. I love touring but I also love seeing my family so finding a balance between the two would be a good thing.

Last month, you performed a benefit show with your band mate Mike Cooley and former Truckers member Jason Isbell who left the band after 2006’s A Blessing And A Curse. How was being back on stage with Jason?

We have been on wonderful terms with one another for awhile now but especially over the last couple of years. I couldn’t be prouder of Jason and everything he has done both on a personal level as well as a musical level. The issues that we all had are like water under the bridge now. We’ve all moved on and have nothing but the utmost of respect for one another.

An abbreviated version of this interview was published in the July 10, 2014 edition of Here Magazine