Ean Evans - This was a vision of my own that's been for quite some time building up through the years of being a studio musician or club days....show case days with labels, etc. Always had a good product. But for whatever reason it just never panned out. Whether musicians weren't really the proper combination or the songs you compiled for your shop (to the labels) was a little out of kilter as far as it wasn't a narrowed style -it was kind of a conglemerate....They would be like "Hey you got 6 songs. I want 2." Ya know? Stuff like that. So then depending on musicians to come through and stuff, I just kind of endured over the years to where it got to a point to right before I was Leon's assistant. I started compiling songs. I had a cd out called Noon I did in '97. It was like Bobby's (Capps) Down Time was. I wanted to be on a cd. Flat out simple. But, that cd showed me the do's and don't as far as far as, ya know, if the songs don't match like I discussed there. I finally got to a point and said "Well, I play guitar and bass and can conceive the tunes. Let me start from scratch this one time and see what totally comes out of my head and my playing. So, the initial recording started about 2 years ago...right about...ya know...I've been with Skynyrd...it's been about 3 years in the making I would say. So at that point I started in my own studio at home here I have outside my house....just instrumentally compiling material. I already had an envision of the chorus. I would come up with the catch phrase per se and then I would take that to construct the music. Then I got down into it to where I got all the music drum machine recorded. I kind of got everything laid out myself - then got the choruses and I had the hooks. I knew I had to at least have some more things at that point. I had to have a messenger/singer for one. Which I sing, but I'm not a lead singer. I do more just utility type stuff. So, I said "We have to find a messenger." I want the messenger to involve himself in more than just singing. He's got to be a lyricist at the same time. So, I kind of started up the first verses to each of the tunes to kind of preface of what the song's about and stuff like that...leading up to the hook. So, now at this point, I have all the music constructed with a humanistic drum muchine that I knew would be replaced once we got everything in place with a live drummer. But, I had everything in instrumental form and some of the hooks kind of down to go in search of the messenger guy. At that point, ya know...once Leon passed away it became full time for me as oppossed to his assistant. When he passed away, of course Lynyrd Skynyrd and .38 Special tour all the time together. I really didn't know anybody in that group and stuff. It's not that I was green. But, I was new to the environment I was in. I had played with Hughie (Thomasson) and the Outlaws for many years and that's how I got into Skynyrd. I played with him for about 7 years in 2 different tours of duty with him. When the band disbanded, I went home to raise my kids and do studio work - just kind of studio out for awhile. Then Hughie joined Skynyrd. Then when Leon's arm was failing him...from the crash...left his arm really maimed..his arm was failing him...at times it would get really painful and he would have to take a break from it. So, they finally decided they needed an assistant for him and Hughie put my name in the hat...and that's how I came to be in Skynyrd. I really firmly believe Leon knew he was going to pass because he took me to Canada for a 2 week tour - insistant upon me being there with him. I knew the guys parts note for note and that's why he was flattered. We were friends for many years before at different time frames. He wanted to really show me the secrets of his playing. Which is something a musician really shouldn't not give away or give out. ...and I didn't want it. That's almost like "Seeking job" and I didn't want to feel like a vulture. I didn't want it. But, he was so insistant that I get this information. To appease him I did it at first..just to..not how a note for note part was played but how he goes about playing it anyway. It goes deeper than just "Here's how this song goes.- No. This is how I nuance my parts." I was like "Whoa. Dude. That's serious. You don't need to go there." He was like "I insist you know this. You got to know it. Please do it." I said "Ok." Well...he died 5 weeks later. Then it hit me why he did what he did. It's been the key to my success in the band (Skynyrd). I didn't come out of a phone book. I didn't come out of an employment guild. I didn't come out of another supergroup to fill the spot of Leon. Leon kind of hand picked me for this job prior to his passing..is what it boils down to. Then it had a little extra added kick because he (Leon) has a 19 year old son - Little Lee. ...and he's wanting to be an upcoming player. So, then it really dawned on me. He was like "Well, my dad really didn't get a chance to show me his playing" I said "He still does!" It dawned on me. "That's one of my purposes for him giving me that stuff so I can give it to you." I haven't had a chance to get with him much...only on a few occasions because of logistics and stuff. I look at him kind of like an adopted son in a way. He writes every now and then. We try to stay in touch the best we can. But, let's face it he's a late teenager and likes to be on the go. So, it's hard to communicate that way. But, my goal is for him to acquire his dad's style of bass playing so he can keep it in the family and hand it on down.
My story with Leon is even deeper. It goes back to where it's so uncanny on how our ships crossed in the night and just...everthing leading to us hooking up for all of this. In retrospect, you kind of look back at it and go "Well...maybe God kept me out of all these different things of life for what I'm doing now." There's a purpose behind everything and it kind of all synches up now that I look at it. I go "Well...the teeth did all line up. There wasn't a mistake or something before. It was kind of all meant to me."
With all that in mind, I want to be a writer and stuff like that so I kind of pursued this project. I met the crew guys before I met .38 band members because I would go down to the venue every day....just kind of meeting everybody I could to kind of get myself in as quick as possible. By doing that I met the crew first. They told me they were playing in a group with the keyboard player (Bobby Capps) - Down Time. I then went to the bus and heard Bobby sing because they were telling me that they don't do it (Down Time) anymore. Bobby was looking elsewhere. I said "Dude. That dude's badass. That dude can sing man. Do these guys realize how good of a singer they got?" They go "They do. But, if you think .38 songs you want the main guys singing them." He does sing the slow tune. (Second Chance) So, I listend to that I was like...man! So I approached him (Bobby) and he really don't know who I am at all. ....Who are you? kind of thing. I was like "Check this disc out" The next day he came running up like "Damn dude!" because he had the voice and I had the music. So, that's how we hit it off right off the bat. We were already ahead of the game as far as...here's tunes...hooks...first verses...go for it! Which Bobby did and he did a fabulous job. We just kind of went from that point of get to it when we can when time allows from off the tours and stuff and we just started going at it with every bit of free time we had until today. It's released out and ready to roll.
With all due respect, the only method I can figure out of doing this between us I guess....is... We definately want to get airplay and we're getting it. We've already got it out. There's already over 50 stations that's got it now. That's incredible for just 2 guys that has maybe..sure..a little red carpet handshake from where we come from. But, at the same time. We're a lot younger. We're like junior than the bands we play in. So, we're wanting to approach a younger market. It's really hard to..ya know..."Hey! we're from Skynyrd and .38 with a brand new young product." People will go "Yeah...right." So, there's a fine line on how we're to promote this thing for two reasons. For one - to project to the young crowd that "Hey! Skynyrd...just because they've been together for 30 years doesn't mean they're old. That means they started when they were very, very young. They were succesful at 16, 17 years old. Ya know? It's not that Skynyrd is old or anything." But, the music is of a classic origin. When people here the name Skynyrd, they think of that same classic origin on their new material. ...and it's not everybody's cup of a tea growing up right now. So, we wanted to kind of have a seperate identity. Which is perfect. I play bass for Lynyrd Skynyrd, but I play guitar for this project. Bobby's the keyboardist of .38, but he's the lead vocalist of this project. So, already we're seperate. ...and then once again there's no denying the music is definately seperate. So, we're kind of actually the best of both worlds. Skynyrd and .38 kind of gets us in the introductory door of identification. But, at the same time the stealthness of being an unknown is just an advantage as if we're with Skynyrd. You never know how it's going to turnout. I never want to have the Skynyrd hotwire and the Evanscapps hotwire touch because then you create a short. I don't want to have any...our dedication to Skynyrd and .38 is very, very deep. We love it. It's a phenomonom as far as the age group that comes to see Skynyrd. It's still going strong. I just feel like this is an outlet for us to kind of...ya know...what we're all about. Let's face it - we're a lot younger to where when Skynyrd and .38 decides to retire...I don't know when that will be....I hope it's years away. But, when they feel like it's time for them to retire, Bobby and I really want to have an outlet. We don't want to just go home and find a job.
I can't reveal the lineup yet. But, put it this way - it doesn't rank in the big name worthiness of say a Velvet Revolver. But, I can garauntee you this - it will have all of the musicianship and kick ass of big named groups.
All of them are saying that there is an Alice in Chains feel. There's a void open for that kind of thing now anyway. So, it's kind of really perfect and I love Alice in Chains. I think they're just great. Bobby's singing reminds you of a Scott Weiland. We're kind of in that ballpark. The drummer and bass player we have tentative. They all come from very, very large groups. I can't say them now...until it's definately confirmed then we shouldn't speak of it anyway. But, the makings is phenomonal and we'll sound just like the record. We'll be dead on the money. This isn't a throw together group. When time allows, which I'm thinking is in the Nov., Dec., Jan., Feb., March, maybe early April - those are the months where we'll really be able to design ourselves for touring. But...Hey....you never know! (laughing) You never know! Our seed's been planted and it grows everyday. We've got a couple of syndicated radio shows we're trying to get on. If those things happen, that allows us to do the distributing/marketing end as far as your Walmarts and larger distributors. All this is being done with no label and no management....almost like the peoples choice or djs choice. I know you gotta keep the gray out of your hair too! Let me tell you man...it's not an easy chore. I do understand the need for a label and management is there because they take on so much more of the mental stuff that you got to do and all the legwork. To where a musician - it's pretty tough on them. It's a lot easier for us because we've been blessed to have sent stuff out and it's worked. We haven't had it fail us yet. That doesn't mean it's not going to. It seems like the "join the cause" method where it's all of us - we're all connected for the same common goal.
Our stuff is kind of Southern alternative metal. I was a zeppelin head growing up. It's really hard to keep my things seperate from what I'm going to do in Evanscapps and from what I'm going to do in Skynyrd - even down to my guitars. I'm endorsed by Fender on bass guitar for Skynyrd. But, I don't want to use the same basses on anything I do other than recording with them on Evanscapps. But, I'm playing guitar. So, it's doesn't matter. I play Gibson in my project now. But, Fender is wanting to endorse me on guitar now for my project. They've done heard it. So, see - it's working even in that avenue. So I'm like...after this first 10,000 batch, they'll see me with a Fender on them pictures! I'll do it that route. They have just...man...Fender has been great to me. I love the guitar now! That's my first love. Yes it is!
I played trumpet at the age of 5 all the way up to when I was 15 and in to my Sophmore/Junior high school years. I was actually in conjunction with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. It was like a high school all state program. We would go out and do like the "Nutcracker" or the "Firebird Suite" - do like 4 shows a year with them. Then my dad got me a guitar at 15 and a half. That's right when "Smoke on the Water" was pumping. Ya know? One figure with a reverb on an amp and that was it man! Smoking lounge! Went on the road at 17. I was already on the road with cover groups.
I had a keyboardist - Joey Huffman. Who's been renowned for playing in Soul Asylum. He's done stuff with Chuck Leavall, who's done stuff with the Rolling Stones. He was my roommate for awhile. He joined up with a group that Neal Schon had put together - Witness. It was with Debbie Davis, who became a backup honkette for Skynyrd even. It's just a whole thing. Well, David Dix was the drummer and he was the original Outlaws drummer. ...And when he had to leave...me and Joey...back then...we were younger...had a bond..."we're gonna have a band!" Joey had to leave me to join that band. I was a little bitter about it. But, to make up for it...through David Dix, who was going back out with the Outlaws, David was like "Hey...does anybody know of a bass player?" ..and that's how Joey....actually....he's actually responsible for putting my name in the Outlaws hat. ...and that was how I finally got my first little breath of a word of mouth connection got me something. It started from that and then from Hughie putting my name in the hat here (Skynyrd) - got me to where I'm sitting. So really Joey Huffman is the entire key to where I'm sitting where I'm at. I don't know if he realizes it or not.
The Road Dawgs! They're good and have a lot of potential. You have to have a really tight unit of players. I think their guitar player left them after the completion of the cd. Which shows you once again...a cylinder won't fit in a square hole kind of a deal. I can see in them where I was with my Noon project. It was like diplomatic over what songs to put on it. It was a bunch of politics. It wasn't "band" done. It still sounded good. Don't get me wrong. But, I felt like it needed a narrower direction. When the guitar player left, I'm sure they were like "This is what we should of, should of, should of" I kind of co-produced them. So, that kind of gives me a little bit of reprieve on any criticism that may come because that was Hughie's baby. Now what I'm saying? He can get the brunt of it and I'll take just a little spanking on the ass! (Laughing!)
I feel all great things should come for Hughie. Ya know? Nothing but the best for him. He wanted me to pull out of here (Skynyrd) to go back (playing for the Outlaws) and I said "Nooo! Are you crazy? Man..no way" I came here under quote from management "I'm temporary until a suitable player is found". I was like "Dude...that sounds like a challenge to me. So, it's on. Let's go." I've built myself up from that comment all the way to now where I feel like I contribute to the youth of the band and still keeps it going.
To me Vicious Cycle was the best cd the band has done since the plane went down. The dvd that we've done ranks with one of the best ones I've ever seen. Period! When I look at it, I don't even believe I'm on it. It just amazes me. It's like..."That's me? Nah..."...I can't believe it.
The song "Mad Hatter" - I kind of did a Leon-istic bass riff in dedication to him that made it on the Thyrty album. The only one to make it on that album from Vicious Cycle. Which I was proud for him, that it did that. I felt like he was there playing the part to be honest with you. They were going "Man..we don't know what to do on bass on this song about Leon". I said "Let me see what I can come up with" Right off the bat - (making the sound) doo-doo-doo-doo....I go "There he is!" They just dropped their mouths. Like the middle break where it goes "Traveling Man" - I go and do a slower version of doo-doo-do-do...that minute of "Traveling Man" because Leon wrote that song. That kind of all ties in. It's so weird how everything is just kind of falling in to place...things that have been floating around up above...these little holes. Ya know? and then you see them start falling to where they're suppossed to go and you're going "I'll be damned!" Now it makes senses. Those are called signs. So now I'm a good sign reader. I'm just taking all the signs that have been giving to me and been keeping up with the Skynyrd stuff - the shows are great. It's going good. At the same time, I want to have my own outlet. I'm not on the writing team as of yet with them (Skynyrd). So, I guess it's still building up. I just cannot just sit back. I'm just not a bass player that's just hired to come out and play bass. I write. I play guitar. I do a lot of things and I want to have an outlet to do them.
I got one song that I'm working on. It's a remake of one of the biggest bands of all time, one of the biggest songs of all time, with one of the best singers of all time. I've already got the music...once again...recorded rough draft all the way through. I've got the rough draft vocals done of it. I've already sent a template out to the singer months and months ago. But, it went from hand to hand to hand and when a review came back, it went from mouth to mouth to mouth. It was very good...what I got back. But, I want to hear it from his own mouth. If this thing works out, it will be the 12th song on a the future reissue of the Evanscapps disc. It will be like your remakes where the singer will actually be singing with us. If that works out, that will be a smash. That will take this thing to the top. Once you find out who it is it will smoke you.
It would be a nice gesture if Evanscapps could open up a Skynyrd and .38 show - only if they offered. I don't think they'll ever do it. They love to keep the mystique of their own players sacred instead of revealing them before their time. ...and it makes sense because of the veterans that they are. We want to keep a mystique and everything...keep that anticipation and all building and building..."where they at?"...and then you come out on stage and there you are. As oppossed to kind of shooting a little bit of a wad early. Plus, our styles of music won't match up anyway. I would much rather be out with another band or bands that are more suitable towards the style that I'm portraying on the side...not that it wouldn't work. I just don't think it would be wise and once again you have those hotwires crossing.
Being with Skynyrd has been great. They've showed me a lot of stuff. They're behind what I'm doing. They don't ever want it to ever take me away from them of course. Which it won't. There's nothing wrong with Warren Haynes. Now what I'm saying? I'm going to have to learn from him.
I've worked really hard. I'm tired of living "what if I would of, if I did this, etc." All questions. Nothing but damn questions. I finally said "Man...here's the way you hear it" ...and if it don't work at least you know it was never meant to be and you don't have to second guess anymore. This particular Evanscapps cd...the songs don't bore me still. To me...that is the best sign of all.
Being a writer of 20 years, I've got over 120 songs - not counting the Evanscapps songs. I call them my treasure chest. They cover an era from 1983 and up from when I started writing material. When you're talking about ... say a late 70's style of clothing comes in, I can practically go into my closest and pull out the damn clothes. Or 80's stuff...whatever comes along, I can take my material that I wrote for that era - whether it was before or after it's time, augment it to today's sound and qualifications ... and Bam! I've got a treasure chest of them. Whether I do them or a younger group does them...or who knows? ... I can eventually produce and find groups to do my tunes for me. The avenue just expands for me.
Right now the Evanscapps thing is kind of what's hopefully going to get me and Bobby started. We thought the best way to do it was to be both giving and receiving - get the media and dj force involved to where they love it and believe in instead of being told to like it or play it by "The Man". Independantly speaking you're not going to get...if you're wanting to sell your cds yourself...and you have no record label pushing your stuff...no marketing department to find out which is your best song...no means whatsover...but, you want someone to buy your cd. They're not going to buy it hearing one song. Some may like it and some may not like that one song. But, if people can hear 4 or 5 songs...and they may like...say 3 of the 5....that may close the deal for them. Everybody loves "Hole In My Head" - Alice in Chains is the word that's highly used all the time for that song. We intended it to be that way. I just like the way they mysteriously do those notes and stuff. They do something different instead of major minor. They go off the grain. You got to. You've got to be reinventive. So we've kind of used that same approach - still stay mainstream marketed to some degree because you go to. But, then we have the heavier side too. We've got a lot of other songs that go heavier - they don't get any lighter. I don't want to close the line there. But, we've got some that we just said "these might be a little too heavy for the first one...we better keep these out right now." They were real deep lyrically done. All in your face. I was like..man..we might scare them away. ..and what we'll do as the success of this hopefully happens...the next batch will have more of those heavier songs in them. We'll have a booklet with lyrics. The sky's the limit. I just want people to hear it, pick it up and run with it. There's possibilites and probabilities, but no garauntees.