A very enthusiastic Reverend Peyton took time off his busy tour planning schedule to talk to Orlando Examiner about the new record, the new year, and community, both at home, and on the road. Catch the band’s Orlando stop at Willl’s Pub on March 12th.
What is the inspiration behind “So Delicious”?
When I write songs for a record, I don’t really think of them like being in any sort of theme necessarily. All things in life can inspire me in terms of a song, from a tune to a place where we’ve been, people I know, and, just everything.
Are you on the road right now?
We are close to home, but we’re in Bloomington, Indiana, instead of Brown County, Indiana. We’re playing on the radio later in Bloomington. We’re rehearsing, getting ready for the big tour.
How long are you guys going to be out?
This one’s a big one. It’s one of the biggest tours that we’ve done in a long time. We’re going to be out, basically, until the middle of June. We’re getting to every single part of the United States, except the very far north part of the Pacific Northwest. Then we’re going to be spending about a month in Europe, and going to Curaçao. It’s a crazy tour. It’s going to be one of the biggest that we’ve done in a long time. I’m excited, you know? It takes a certain bit of mental preparation to get ready for a tour like this.
I’m sure. Are you leaving home for a little while?
Absolutely. We’ll be gone until the summer, and the entire spring. We’re going to spend the entire spring, basically, on the road. But we’ve had some time off, some time to help us prepare. And everybody’s so excited about this record. I am, you know? As an artist, you’re always on to the next thing, beyond what other people know you as. So, whenever you get a new record out, it helps get people caught up, to see “this is where I am now”, and it always feels good.
How long did it take you to write “So Delicious,” and record it?
I’m constantly working on songs. On the song “Front Porch Trained,” I actually made up that melody when I was about 13 years old. It’s been in the back of my head for a while. I’m always writing songs, always taking notes in the back of my head, and saving for later. So, it’s hard to say. I had a lot of the songs written long before I went into the studio. Some of them, I was finishing up right before (recording).
So, do you store (the songs) in your head, or do you record them, and go back to them?
It’s all in my head. I don’t make demos. I have a little book where I write down ideas, but mainly lyrical ideas. All the music’s in my head. Lately, I’ve wanted to, maybe, get something I can make demos with because I have so much music in my head, and I’d hate for it to be lost if something happened to me. I might get something to make demos, just so I can get more of this stuff down.
What is your favorite song on this album, and why?
I think it’s “Pot Roast and Kisses.” I think it’s my favorite song on the record. It’s tough to pick one, but I’m really proud how that one turned out. I had a lot of fun singing it. I tried singing it as lighthearted as I could. There are two songs on the record, “Let’s Jump a Train,” and “Front Porch Trained,” with some guitar theatrics. “Pot Roast and Kisses” isn’t as theatrical on the guitar, nothing where people will go, “Oh man, that guitar player is crazy.” But it’s actually one of the most difficult pieces on the record. The way that I play it, I’ve never heard anybody else do anything else like it. I’m really proud of it. It’s kind of cool that I’ve had other guitar players recognize it, write to me, and contact me through my friends, and point it out. They notice what I do. That’s kind of neat.
And the song makes you feel good, you know? There are certain songs that are heavy, and make you feel, one way or the other, a lot of different emotions, because the music is a lot about emotions, making you feel something, and that song just makes you feel good. If you see that video, and you hear that song, and it doesn’t make you feel good, then I really feel sorry for you. I think a person like that would be in a really bad place.
Did you guys come up with the concept for the video?
My idea started with us playing in the kitchen, and having the people in the kitchen dancing around us. I reached out to some friends of mine that are dancers, and I said, “Hey, I’m not a choreographer. I have this idea. Do you think you can help me?” And they were like, “Absolutely.” They gathered all the dancers, they started working on routines, then we all got together in this big kitchen in a children’s camp in Brown County, Indiana, way in the middle of the woods. That kitchen is so far out in the woods. Then, we made it happen. We had such a fun day doing it. Everybody looks like they’re having fun, because they are. It was such a great group of people to get together and do something like that. I’m always coming up with ideas that are beyond my funny-end reach, and we have to rely on our friends to really come through and help us with that, and with the “Raise a Little Hell” video. The “Raise a Little Hell” video took about 400 volunteers. I’m not sure exactly how many. We should have kept counting, but I know it was well over 400. The city of Bloomington helped us close roads. The parks department helped us get permits. We had a cherry picker donated so we could raise the camera. Upland Brewery, a really well known brewery in Bloomington donated the beer for us. I’ve actually seen Upland beer in Norway, which is pretty wild. All these people came together to help us do this thing. Not to mention all the talented people creating it. Everybody came out, and gave us an entire day just because they believed in us, in the music, in the idea. No one knew exactly how it was going to turn out. They just sort of trusted us that we had an idea, and it was going to be worth it. It feels really good. (It was) great working with Kevin (J. Custler, director). We’ve worked with him on a lot of our other stuff. He’s a great director, and we work so well together. He believes in the vision that I have, and he knows how to make everybody look good, and feel comfortable.
What artists can you name that inspired this album?
All the greats of country-blues inspired me from the beginning: Charlie Patton, John Hurt, Buck White, and Furry Lewis, those are my big heroes. But, also, this record was inspired by people like John Fogerty, Tony Joe White, and Levon Helm. I think they deserve a lot of credit for inspiring me with this record. They know how to make good records, and they also write good songs. The songwriters that are credited as being “good songwriters” usually are the ones that sit, and strum chords on acoustic guitars and have songs with tons, and tons of words in them. There are so many other ways to write a song, and so many other great songwriters out there that are doing other things. Every song you hear has to be written by somebody, and if you like it, you think it’s good, and it’s written by a good songwriter. I think that’s John Fogerty, and Tony Joe White. I think they deserve more credit in that realm, you know? They put out amazing songs, and they may not be as wordy as some of the people that get called “good singer-songwriters.” Country-blues has taught me that you can take a song, and you can have one chord – no chord changes, one chord in it, and the song is awesome. When I’m making songs, I want to make stuff that I think is cool, that moves me, that makes me feel something.
Do you have anybody in mind that you would like to collaborate with in the future?
Oh yeah. I’ve got a ton of people I’d like to do stuff with. I’d love to do something with Dom Flemons. He’s one of the founding members of the Carolina Chocolate Drops. I’d love to do something with someone like John Fogerty, someone who I think is really great. There are so many people I’d love to do stuff with. It’d be cool to reach out to Avett Brothers. They have such a different way of approaching music than I do. JJ Grey & Mofro, down in Florida where you are, he’s a fantastic musician. He was a big influence on me when we were coming up. He’s given me a lot of great advice. I would love to be able to do something with him. Rhiannon Giddens, also one of the founders of the Carolina Chocolate Drops has a new record out. It would be cool to do something with her. She’s such a great singer. Jimbo Mathus, Alvin Youngblood Hart, I’d love to do something with either one of them. We took them out with us on our Blues Revolution tour, and I think they’re really talented people.
To someone that hasn’t been to a (Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band) live show, what can they expect?
I can’t stand it when you go see a show and people are just staring at their feet. I think that’s boring, and it’s a rip-off. I feel like when you see a show like that, everybody is in the crowd thinking, “We should have stayed home and listened to the record.” Our shows are the absolute opposite of that. When we put on a show, I want people to leave full of adrenaline, feeling like they really experienced something, a community experience.