Interviewers normally get more insight from the lead singer, lead guitarist, or main song writers. Sometimes things need to be shaken up a bit – you need to shock the readers. Well, be prepared to be shocked as Paul Chapman, the eclectic bass player for the Colt Ford band opens himself up and allows us to take a look inside and determine what makes the anchor of the rhythm section tick…
ToddStar: Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule for The Machine Shop. We appreciate it.
Paul: Todd, thank YOU! I am really grateful for the opportunity to talk with you guys!
ToddStar: If it is okay, I would love to jump right into your current position in the Colt Ford band. How did it come about that you got that gig? Where there any speed bumps along the way, as you weren’t the original bass player?
Paul: Colt had been touring for about six months when the first band leader called me in early 2009 and asked if I could fill in for a few shows since they had lost their bass player on short notice. After a rehearsal and the first show, Colt asked me to play in the band. I jumped at the chance because Colt is an artist who wants to get out and play a lot, up to 200 shows a year, and I love to be busy. We have had several line up changes, but the current one with Brad Henderson and Spencer Bassett on guitars, Justin David on fiddle/acoustic guitar and Tim Haines on drums is the strongest one by far. We are also very fortunate to have an amazing crew: Sarge, Zuehs, Tony, Van Halen, Evan, Tuley and Tim Todd. Those guys work harder than anyone I have ever seen and they do more before 8am than most people do all day!
ToddStar: Colt seems to find himself out on pretty good tours. Are there any country artists out there that you would like to see on the bill with you guys (either as headliner or support)?
Paul: We are really excited about the upcoming fall tour with Florida-Georgia Line. Those guys have been our friends for a long time and we are very happy for them and their recent success. It will be a blast to tour with them and support them.
ToddStar: ‘Declaration of Independence’ was released in 2012 and with the help of a couple singles really helped increase the exposure for Colt and the band. What is it like recording with an artist like Colt?
Paul: First of all, as a band we are very fortunate to have the opportunity to record with Colt. In Nashville, it is highly unusual for the road band to play on the albums. Most of the time, a producer will choose the musicians but Colt said “I want my guys” which is a testament to how much integrity he has as an artist and how much he cares about his band. Second, he just lets us all play the way we do and come up with our own parts, so it couldn’t be any more rewarding to have that privilege as a musician; recording your own part, then getting to play it live as well.
ToddStar: Do you find as you continue to tour supporting that album that the band is still gaining momentum and picking up fans?
Paul: Absolutely! We have people of all ages who come to the shows. It is uncanny how many of them know every lyric to every song, whether they are 4 or 74. Colt has amazing fans, and we are really thankful for their loyalty and support.
ToddStar: If you had to describe the sound of Colt Ford to someone who had never heard you before, how would you do that?
Paul: I like to say it would be like having an iPod on shuffle but every genre playing at once! There is country, southern rock, hip hop, metal, bluegrass, pop: a little bit of everything and something for everyone. Ultimately, it is a country show but we are out to entertain people as best we can so there are a lot of surprises in there. I have always been interested in bands that have multiple styles of music juxtaposing one another. To me, there are two types of music: good and bad, and it doesn’t have anything to do with style or genre. So, why not do a cross between Waylon Jennings and Jay-Z or Marshall Tucker and The Ramones? What I have seen happening in country venues for at least the past 15 years is a band will play country covers or originals, take a break, a DJ will spin dance music, either old school funk or hip hop, and the dance floor loads up with people. Then, they get in their trucks to go home and crank AC/DC or Slipknot. I think of Colt Ford as an artist who can give an audience all that in one show.
ToddStar: Playing in a band as diverse as Colt’s, you must have a ton of different influences. Can you tell us who made you want to pick up a bass and why?
Paul: Early on, I always gravitated towards heavy rock, starting with Kiss, Ted Nugent, Alice Cooper, AC/DC and Van Halen. I had a friend who played bass, but when I heard Dave Kiswiney’s bass lines with Nugent and John Deacon with Queen, I wanted to learn to play. Then I got into punk and metal at the same time: Motorhead, The Clash, Sex Pistols, Black Flag, Priest, Maiden, Sabbath. Soon after, I discovered jazz and R ‘n B: Miles Davis, Weather Report, James Brown and Sly Stone. I eventually went to the University of North Texas to study music. Anytime I heard music I liked, I wanted to pick up the bass and learn to play it and I am still that way. It is a zero to infinity deal when it comes to learning music; there’s no ceiling and there is always something new to pick up, so I will always be a student of the bass.
ToddStar: Other than your influences, are there any bass players out there that you really like or admire?
Paul: Wow, there are so many: Pino Palladino, Doug Wimbish, Rex Brown, Victor Wooten, Oteil Burbridge. Evan Brewer from The Faceless is amazing, super innovative and very musical. He has two solo albums out as well. Insane playing! Alana Rocklin is great, super versatile. She played on the last Rick Ross album and killed it. Lee Hendricks from Eric Church’s band is fantastic. I got the new Tedeschi-Trucks single which has my friend Dave Monsey playing bass on it, and he sounds great. Jeff Matz from High On Fire is killer and he has one of the most crushing bass tones ever. Norwood Fisher from Fishbone and Darrell Phillips from Austin’s Dirty Wormz; enough said there, two of the greatest!
ToddStar: Looking around on the internet, you are seen wearing shirts from bands as diverse as Black Flag and White Chapel. Do you find comfort in a diverse wardrobe or do you really enjoy punk and metal?
Paul: Man, Whitechapel are great, aren’t they? They are from Tennessee. Ultimately, I am a fan of music and I like to support the bands and people I admire and listen to. So, it’s fun for me to wear their shirts. Chances are, if I am wearing the shirt, I have seen the show or just had it playing on my iPod!
ToddStar: I understand you are a fan of Wednesday 13 and The Murderdolls. Do you have any interest in Wednesday’s country offshoot Bourbon Crow? What is it about Wednesday that caught your attention?
Paul: Oh yeah!! I think Wednesday is one of the most under-rated and talented singer-songwriters and performers out there. I’ve seen Murderdolls once and Wednesday 13 twice and he brings it every time. I have all his records including the two Bourbon Crow albums. Actually, I told Colt about him. I would love to hear those two write! They are very similar in many ways: both doing things on their own terms, very clever with lyrics, great sense of humor, great ear for hooks, very talented and prolific people. They could write some great stuff I think. Bourbon Crow and Colt Ford: I would pre-order it!
ToddStar: You guys seem to sell out every show you play at The Machine Shop (http://www.themachineshop.info/). What is it about The Shop that keeps you guys coming back?
Paul: Kevin and all the staff are just awesome. They treat the bands so well there, just like family. They are all about people and the music. You can tell they really love what they do. We always have a blast playing there and it is a highlight of our touring year when we get to play a show at The Machine Shop. It’s like coming home for Christmas or something like that! Plus, it is just such a cool place, great stage, great vibe, totally unique. I mean, where else can you see Mushroomhead and David Allan Coe in the same weekend? Or The Acacia Strain, Kill Devil Hill, Fear Factory, Texas Hippie Coalition and Jamey Johnson in the same year?
ToddStar: Regarding The Machine Shop, are there any memories or shows that stick out in your mind that you would care to share with us?
Paul: Every time has been fun! It’s hard to think of one great time because there are so many. Kid Rock has come out a couple times and even sat in with us once. He was really cool to us. I always like to walk around and see who has played there or who is going to play there. I have probably spent hours just looking at Jeff Mintline’s (http://www.mintypics.com/) awesome pictures on the walls!
ToddStar: If you had to pick possible pairings for an ideal tour, what other bands would you like to see Colt Ford out on the road with?
Paul: Again, the FL-GA Line tour will be a great pairing. In the past, we’ve played with Rehab, David Allan Coe, Jamey Johnson, Hank Jr., Shooter Jennings, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and Eric Church and those were all really great times. I’d love to see us play with Hank 3 sometime since I am a big fan of his! The thing is, Colt gets along with everyone and he loves to play. He is fearless too: he will share the stage with anyone because he loves that interaction with other artists.
ToddStar: What is next for the band? Any plans to record again soon?
Paul: We just did some new tracks that should be out soon, probably this fall. And Muddigger Volume 4 just came out which has a new Colt Ford song and a bunch of tunes by other artists on the Average Joe’s label. That’s a really solid, fun record and we are really excited about it.
ToddStar: Are there any bands that are currently releasing music or touring that influence you personally or professionally? What is the last CD/mp3 album you listened to?
Paul: Live bands whose shows have blown my mind lately include Rammstein, Down, Snarky Puppy and Rudder. And I’m always looking for new recorded music. Anything by Eric Church and Jamey Johnson for country. I just got new records by High on Fire, Iggy and the Stooges, Volbeat, Newsted, Philip Anselmo, Evan Brewer, Rob Zombie, Bad Brains, Black Sabbath and Daft Punk. Dave Monsey recently got me into the early Bob Marley recordings with Lee Scratch Perry. There’s always something new or old that I want to hear, it’s endless!
ToddStar: If there were one piece of music in the history of time that you wish you had written, what would it be and why?
Paul: Since I am not a writer, I might choose a performance instead, something like Sly and the Family Stone’s Fresh album, Miles Davis’ ‘We Want Miles,’ D’Angelo’s ‘Voodoo’ or Scarface’s ‘The World is Yours.’ Sick bass lines on all those.
ToddStar: What is the meaning of life?
Paul: I think the guys at The Machine Shop have it figured out: do what you love to do and treat others the way you want to be treated!
ToddStar: Other than making sure everyone checks out your website and Facebook page, are there any other current projects or sites you would like to promote?
Paul: The main thing I can say is support live and recorded music! Go to shows at great places like The Machine Shop. If you hear something you like, buy a CD and a t-shirt. That support is what keep us all going. I’d also like to thank Dean Markley strings for keeping Colt’s band wired up!
ToddStar: Thanks again for taking the time and we look forward to more Colt Ford featuring Paul Chapman on bass in 2013 and beyond!!!
Paul: I really appreciate it, Todd! Many thanks to you, The Machine Shop, and everyone who has taken the time to read this or come to a show and support us. We can’t do it without you!