Thursday, June 30, 2011

Life is Tough

I remember an evening about a year ago. I think about it all the time; almost every single day.

My wife, daughter, and I were on a shopping trip to Wal-Mart (we’ll save the “I don’t want to shop at the Big Blue Monster, but don’t have any choice” debate for a different post).

We were walking through the main aisle, past the folks in line waiting to check out. My daughter was at my side. She noticed a little girl sitting in the front of a cart, while her mommy unloaded their supplies. The little girl was cute, but she looked very rough. She had curly blonde hair and blue eyes. She was somewhere between two and three. My daughter was most likely three.

When I say the little girl looked rough, I mean she was dirty. Not “I was playing outside this afternoon” dirty…I mean, deep dirty. Her clothes were grungy. Her hair was matted. Her mother looked the same. I don’t mean this to sound judgmental, but they were clearly impoverished. The mom looked like she’d just had it. With what, I don’t know.

The thing about the little girl that broke my heart was that she looked like she’d had it, too. This less than three year old little girl looked tired. Not from staying up too late or skipping a nap. She looked tired the way her mommy did. Weary; to the bone.

There was absolutely no spark or light in this little girl’s eyes whatsoever.

As I walked past, thinking to myself, “What’s really sad is that she’ll most likely never have that spark. She’ll probably live her whole life without it,” my daughter locked eyes with the little girl. As is often the case with kids this age, they were pretty intrigued by each other. Again, as is often the case at this age, they didn’t quite know what to do about or with each other.

After an awkward pause, my daughter waved. It was a non-committal/non-intrusive kind of a wave. The little girl waved back, with even less enthusiasm than my daughter did.

I wondered if the other little girl wondered why my daughter had some spark in her eyes. Or if she wondered why my daughter’s clothes looked clean and bright.
That little girl did nothing to deserve to feel the way she did. I’m not implying that it’s the fault of her parents, either. Quite in fact, I’m insinuating that this situation, like so many other things in life, is just a zero-sum game. It’s not anyone’s fault. There’s not much anyone can do about it. But, put simply, some folks have it and some don’t. Some folks get it…and that means others don’t.

More than anything, this brief but profound interaction made me realize one very simple truth:

Life is tough.

Tennesee Blues

As I've mentioned before, I think Steve Earle's been reading my mail...

TENNESSEE BLUES

By Steve Earle

Sunset in my mirror, pedal on the floor
Bound for New York City and I won’t be back no more
Won’t be back no more, boys won’t see me around
Goodbye guitar town

Ghosts out on the highway, voices on the wind
Tellin’ me that we may never pass this way again
Voices on the highway angels beckonin’
Like a long lost friend

Fare thee well I’m bound to roam
This ain’t never been my home

Stranger in my mirror, lines around my eyes
String around my finger but I don’t remember why
Don’t remember why, boys don’t remember how
Goodbye guitar town

Fare thee well I’m bound to roam
This ain’t never been my home

Blue dog on my floorboard, redhead by my side
Cross the mighty Hudson river to the New York City side
Redhead by my side, boys sweetest thing I’ve found
Goodbye guitar town

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Submit Your Favorite Albums of the First Half of 2011

I'm going to put together a listing of my favorite albums released so far in 2011 (through June 30). I'll post it here on Monday, July 4th.

I'd love your input, too! If you'd like to submit your favorite albums of the year so far, please email the list to: dirtyroots@rocketmail.com. They can be new or reissued albums, so long as they were released between January 1, 2011 and June 30, 2011.

There won't be anything scientific about my list - just albums I liked for one reason or another. I haven't decided whether or not to include any kind of narrative with each album. Feel free to include one in yours, if you want, to explain why you liked that album. There's no limit to how many or how few to include in your list and you can organize them by your favorite, or just leave them random).

Please email them by Sunday, July 3rd, so I can have them posted on the 4th.

The Things That Matter Stay The Same

Before enlightenment – chop wood, carry water
After enlightenment – chop wood, carry water
-Zen Proverb

Best Pal

From the "getting to know Ryan Mifflin" category...I thought I'd introduce you to my best pal, Gracie.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hopeless Community

Damn! Is it just me or is everyone in some sort of a life-altering, identity-defining existential crisis of epic proportions? What gives?

It’s like the universe recently deemed it necessary to take a big fat shit on everyone close to me, all at once.

And those who weren’t shat upon can’t seem to grasp what those of us wearing the shit are going through or why we seem to be in so damn much anguish.

How are you supposed to be there for each other when everyone’s going through it? Regardless of my struggles with faith lately, I believe we need to live in community and lift each other up. Help one another bear burdens. But when everyone’s under the pressure and no one can wrap their head around what’s happening to them, how are they supposed to be there for their neighbor?

This works pretty well when the shit’s spread around, so not everyone is going through it at the same time. We can work in shifts.

But, nothin’ kills hope faster than a community made up entirely of people who can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

DIRTY ROOTS RADIO - June 23rd Playlist

Tune in to Dirty Roots Radio every Thursday night from 8 to 10 p.m. (central) on WGRN 89.5 FM. Listen online from anywhere in the world at www.wgrn.net.

Rolling Stones – Hot Stuff
Rolling Stones – Cherry, Oh Baby
Tom T. Hall – Me and Jesus
Iggy Pop – Success
Robert Cage – Get Out of Here
Cedell Davis – Keep On Snatchin’ It Back
Jerry Lee Lewis – What’s Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made a Loser Out of Me)
Scott H. Biram – Still Drunk, Still Crazy, Still Blue
Social Distortion – 99 to Life
R.L. Burnside – Miss Maybelle
The Centurians – Bullwinkle Part II
The Cramps – Goo Goo Muck
Hank Williams – Alone and Forsaken
Motorhead – Ace of Spades
Rolling Stones – All Down the Line
Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears – Booty City
Jerry Reed – Guitar Man
Jimmie Rodgers – Blue Yodel No. 1 (T for Texas)
Joey Ramone – What a Wonderful World
John & Jackie – Little Girl
Gene Vincent – Cat Man
The Animals – Talkin’ Bout You
Charles Bradley – Heart of Gold
Merle Haggard – Sing Me Back Home
Albert King – Honky Tonk Woman
The Phillips’ Specials – I’m a Soldier
Tom Waits – Flower’s Grave
Peter Tosh – Why Must I Cry
The Clash – Jail Guitar Doors
T-Model Ford & GravelRoad – Little Red Rooster
Howlin’ Wolf – I Asked for Water
Johnny Cash – Sea of Heartbreak
Bobby Womack – Across 110th Street
Steve Earle – Little Emperor
Esquerita – Rockin’ the Joint
The Paul Butterfield Blues Band – Mellow Down Easy
James Leg – Have to Get It On
Little Walter – Boom, Boom Out Goes the Light
Charles Bradley – The World (Is Going Up In Flames)
Bottle Rockets – Radar Gun
Bo Diddley – You Can’t Judge a Book by the Cover
Chuck Berry – Our Little Rendezvous
The Cramps – Everything Goes
Loretta Lynn – Fist City
Reverend Charlie Jackson – God’s Got It
Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band – Good Eye (RIP, Clarence Clemons)
Johnny Dowd – Brother Jim
Ike & Tina Turner – I Idolize You
Muddy Waters – Mean Old Frisco Blues
Marty Stuart – Hangman
Scott H. Biram & Possessed by Paul James – Wayfaring Stranger

Background Music: Oliver Sain – St. Louis Breakdown: The Best of Oliver Sain

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“Radio news is bearable. This is due to the fact that while the news is being broadcast, the disk jockey is not allowed to talk.” - Fran Lebowitz

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind: Because sometimes asking the right questions is the answer...

I came across one of these "self-assessment/share more about you with me" kind of surveys today. But this one went a little deeper than "what's your favorite drink?". I jotted the answers down, just so I could read them back. Please share your thoughts below...

1. How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?

24

2. Which is worse, failing or never trying?

Never trying

3. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?

FEAR

4. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?

Probably

5. What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?

Greed (I believe that all of the world’s problems, every single one of them, stem from greed)

6. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?

Writing

7. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?

Settling, in a professional sense. Doing what I believe in as “a hobby”.

8. If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?

I’d take many more risks that could have negative impacts on my family (i.e. – Chase the dream and not worry as much about “providing, long term”.

9. To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?

In one sense, not at all. I’m not that ambitious or disciplined. In another sense, very much so…rather than going for the dream, I’ve always managed to rein myself in and do “what I’m supposed to”.

10. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?

I’m more worried about doing the right things, as in, the things I’m “supposed to do”. I don’t put enough effort on doing them right. I spend more time getting by. Kind of a wimpy self-defeating form of rebellion, I guess.

11. You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire. They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend. The criticism is distasteful and unjustified. What do you do?

Ask them if they’re talking about “so and so”….the “so and so who ____ (fill in the blank) ____???” Act as though I can’t believe it. When I do that folks always ask why. And then I get to give them my interpretation of my friend and say that I can’t believe they’re talking about the same person.


12. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?

Take risks. Start taking risks early. Don’t go into debt…that’s the best way to ensure you have to work within the system and can’t take risks. (That’s all one piece, right? It’s all about the same piece, anyway).

13. Would you break the law to save a loved one?

Hell yes.

14. Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity?

Absolutely. I generally recognize them at the same time. That’s the beauty of each.

15. What’s something you know you do differently than most people?

The way I think about the world and the way I integrate my love of music into my writing on life.

16. How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy?

I don’t mean this in a snobbish way, but I’m one of those masochistic people who enjoys wrestling with life. Torturing myself needlessly, some might say. I think people aren’t willing enough to get uncomfortable.

17. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do? What’s holding you back?

Write a book. Lack of discipline and fear that it won't be good is holding me back.

18. Are you holding onto something you need to let go of?

Of course!

19. If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why?

Arizona. I just feel a connection there. I love the beauty and history of it. I feel creative there.

20. Do you push the elevator button more than once? Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster?

Sometimes. No – I just like to make sure it got done.

21. Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?

It depends. Sometimes I’m one and sometimes I’m another. Whichever I am, I always wish I was the other. I think a lot about the red pill/blue pill choice from The Matrix and how the different characters in the movie reacted to the decision they made.

22. Why are you, you?

“I don’t want to be anyone if I can’t be myself.” – Scott H. Biram
I guess I’m me because of the unique circumstances, choices, and actions that have brought me to where I am. Same reason you’re you.


23. Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?

Up until recently, yes.

24. Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you?

Losing touch with one nearby.

25. What are you most grateful for?

Music and my wife and daughter.

26. Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?

I’d rather lose all of my old ones. Old memories can be great and beautiful, but you gotta look forward.

27. Is it possible to know the truth without challenging it first?

No.

28. Has your greatest fear ever come true?

I see two levels of “greatest fears” here. First is the kind I can do something about (failure, for instance). The answer there, is NO. I’ve sold out too many times and sacrificed for too many, probably unnecessary, “insurance policies” for that to happen. The second kind of greatest fear is the kind I probably can’t do anything about (something happens to my loved ones). Thankfully, that hasn’t happened.

29. Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset? Does it really matter now?

Only as a learning experience.

30. What is your happiest childhood memory? What makes it so special?

I remember riding in the car with my parents. It was before we knew anything about car seats and seatbelts and safety. I was sitting on that moveable hump that used to be between the passenger and driver seats (the one you could put up to fit someone else up front, or put down for an armrest). I remember me and my family (just my mom and dad, before my brother was born) were going somewhere fun, but I don’t remember where. I remember being conscious of how great it was. How good it felt. That everything seemed right. Just me and mom and dad. Feeling like I had everything I needed. Feeling like everything was going to be OK.

31. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?

When speaking in front of a crowd, motivating them (to do anything; laugh, learn, get involved, care, danc...).

32. If not now, then when?

If not now then never. Either do it or don’t. I need to take my own advice plenty of times.

33. If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose?

Security/safety. Which I hate. I’m not worried about it for me – I’ve said a lot lately that if it were just me in my life, I’d have taken many more risks recently. But I’ve got a wife and little girl to care for. I want to show my daughter that you should take risks, don’t listen to society, etc. But I also want to make sure she has a house to live in and food to eat.

34. Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever?

Definitely.

35. Why do religions that support love cause so many wars?

I’m wrestling with faith and religion right now like you wouldn’t believe. I’ll default to my earlier answer that greed causes EVERY single problem in life.

36. Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil?

I believe so.

37. If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job?

HELL YES. I'd work and stay busy with things. But they'd only be the things I want to work at and stay busy with.

38. Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing?

I’d love to have less work in general, but compared to the work I don’t like…I’d be happy to accept a lot more work I do like.

39. Do you feel like you’ve lived this day a hundred times before?

Yep.

40. When was the last time you marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in?

About two years ago. And the aftermath still stings. But I’m getting closer to doing it again.

41. If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today?

I’d throw together a party for everyone to get together in one place, so we could all mingle and all see each other, with families, etc.

42. Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous?

Nope.

43. What is the difference between being alive and truly living?

Who you choose answer to. Who you try to please.

44. When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right?

As soon as you determine that it’s right.

45. If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?

It hurts. Mistakes hurt. Embarrassment and shame hurt. Growth and learning REALLY freakin’ hurt.

46. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?

Not listen to them!

47. When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing?

I intentionally listen to it once in a while. Not sure why. The last time it unintentionally caught my attention was when I had H1N1. It sounded really weird. After I’d stopped exhaling I could hear my lungs pushing out air for another second or two. It scared me.

48. What do you love? Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love?

Music. My family. Writing. My dog.
Yes. But probably not enough. Except for music. I’m pretty good about expressing my love for music. And shame on me for not expressing it so well to the others – especially my family.


49. In 5 years from now, will you remember what you did yesterday? What about the day before that? Or the day before that?

Yesterday and the day before that…yes. I was on a mini-vacation with my wife and daughter. The day before that…nope. I was at work.

50. Decisions are being made right now. The question is: Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you?

I’d like to say the latter, but I know it’s usually the former.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

RIP CLARENCE CLEMONS

I've just been notified of the passing of Clarence Clemons, a/k/a "The Big Man", saxophonist for Bruce Springsteen's legendary E Street Band.

I'm not a Bruce "super fan" nor do I really know much about Clarence. I know he had charisma. I know he had a lovable, easygoing stage persona and seemed like a truly wonderful human being.

But what is it about this story that seems to have affected EVERYONE so deeply? People who've never heard his music were pulling for him following the news of his stroke. I mean, obviously, it's proper to pull for anyone when you hear they have a stroke...but people were touched by this.

Clarence played a sax solo on a couple of tracks on Lady Gaga's new album. I thought it was very touching when she asked her fans to record videos of support for him. YouTube is riddled with "get well" videos from her "Little Monsters".

As immature and basic as this may sound, I think it's because of the man's stature. Not necessarily his stature as a musician (though that's certainly a factor for his millions of fans). I'm talking about his physical stature. Clarence Clemons was a beast of a man. Bruce didn't call him "Big Man" for nothin'.

He was also very warm and lovable. He seemed like a truly nice guy.

We all know folks like that. My grandpa was one of them. He was one of those guys who, if you weren't strong enough or brave enough to accomplish a specific task, he'd brush you aside and do it himself....when you were a 17 year old defensive lineman and he was 75+. But my granddad was gentle.

The shop teacher at my high school was another example. He passed away a few days ago. He was huge; one of the strongest people I've ever seen. One of my buddies worked with him over the summer and loves to tell the tale of the day he saw the teacher literally pick up a soda machine. He was a hard-ass and he meant business. But, if you showed respect and a genuine interest, he'd do whatever it took to teach you anything in the world, regardless of your skill level or your background.

Clarence "Big Man" Clemons seemed to be like that. He projected that aura. He was one of Bruce Springsteen's very best friends. But he gave off the sense that if you met him on the street, he'd be happy to talk to you. And that he'd be nice. And interested in who you were. And that he'd make you feel good without flaunting who he was.

People tune into that. While the masses can be fooled by the Hollywood/Music Business PR machine, we all have a bullshit detector deep down inside us. And guys like Clarence Clemons don't even budge the needle. And we can see that. We recognize the real deal.

And when a guy like that suffers a stroke, we all - die-hard fans, casual fans, and folks old and young who never knew who he was - are saddened and pull for him.

The world needs more guys like Clarence Clemons. RIP, Big Man.

"I have seen the future of the whole fuckin' thing and it is Big Man Clarence Clemons!!!" - Bruce Springsteen

Friday, June 17, 2011

DIRTY ROOTS RADIO - June 16th Playlist

Tune in to Dirty Roots Radio every Thursday night from 8 to 10 p.m. (central) on WGRN 89.5 FM. Listen online from anywhere in the world at www.wgrn.net.

Gil Scott-Heron – The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
Waylon Jennings – Lonesome, On’ry and Mean
Gil Scott-Heron – Johannesburg
Scott H. Biram – Down Too Long
Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears – Gunpowder
Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears – Sugarfoot
Roy Anthony & His Orchestra – Thunderbird
Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – There’s Something Wrong with You
Hasil Adkins – Somehow You’ll find Your Way
Steve Earle – God is God
T-Model Ford – Sallie Mae
X – Your Phone’s Off the Hook, But You’re Not
Scott H. Biram – Only Jesus
Rolling Stones – Before They Make Me Run (TWICE)
James Leg – Have To Get It On
Credence Clearwater Revival – Up Around the Bend
The Faces – Stay with Me
R.L. Burnside w/the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – Snake Drive
Joan Jett & The Blackhearts – Love is Pain
Johnny Cash – Delia’s Gone
Titus Andronicus – A More Perfect Union
Nina Simone – Ain’t Got No – I Got Life
Mike Ness – Ballad of a Lonely Man
Neil Young – Hey Hey My My (Into the Black)
Johnny Thunders – Great Big Kiss
Robert Johnson – Last Fair Deal Gone Down
Gil Scott-Heron – I’m New Here

Background Music: Link Wray - Rumble: The Best of Link Wray

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

INTERVIEW: Scott H. Biram

The Dirty Old One Man Band from Austin Texas, Scott H. Biram, rocked the best joint in St. Louis (Off Broadway) last Friday night, June 10th. You can expect a review of the show coming soon, and hear my interview with Scott on Dirty Roots Radio next week, but given that it's already a week past (I never claimed to be prolific), I wanted to get some of this out to you. Enjoy!


RYAN MIFFLIN/DIRTY ROOTS RADIO: I appreciate you takin’ some time to hang out, brother.

SCOTT H. BIRAM: It’s my great pleasure.

First off, describe what it is that you do…

I’m a one man band; I guess my moniker is “The Dirty Old One Man Band”. And I play the blues with a punk edge and throw some country and some heavy metal in there and mix it all up, stir it all up, and try to make some money.

Who are some of the artists in that mix that are influences?

There’s a lot all over the place, but the biggest ones, I guess, would be Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie and Bill Monroe and Lightnin’ Hopkins and Black Flag, Jerry Reed, Jimmy Martin, Doc Watson, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings. On and on and on and on and on.

It’s quite a stew then…

Yeah, definitely.

I know you were in bands before you did the one-man-band thing…how did you get from that to what you do on a stage every night now. How did you arrive at being a one-man-band and how did you arrive at the sound you’ve developed?

Well, it’s ever evolving and I’ve gotten closer to what I’ve been looking for, for a long time, recently. But, I originally started in punk bands. The first kind of guitar stuff I learned was blues guitar. I was in a punk band in high school and college and towards the end of my college career I was in two bluegrass bands, the last of which I toured with. All along I’d been doin’ a solo, acoustic thing; just singin’ and playin’ Dylan and Townes Van Zandt and Doc Watson covers and stuff.

When the bands broke up, I just took the info that I’d found for the tours we did with the bluegrass band and I booked more shows by myself and I kept pushing it and kept going out. I started stompin’ my foot on the floor and that wasn’t enough for me, so I started amplifying it by making this stomp box that I could run through speakers. I always had a dream of having a wall of beat-up speakers behind me.


Nowadays I have these two giant subwoofers right behind me and I sit down and stomp on this board that I made and it goes through those and gives me a big loud thud. I play guitar and some harmonica and put a little grit on the vocals.
I needed to compete with rock bands in order to play in rock clubs and the only way to do that was to turn it up and make it louder. I didn’t want to get stuck in coffee shops for the rest of my life, you know? I don’t drink coffee.

But you drink the stuff in the bars!

I drink all kinds of shit, but not coffee!

Homemade moonshine on the street and everything! {NOTE: Story on this coming soon, too}

Oh yeah.


I’ve been reading a lot about Jerry Lee Lewis lately and he had the whole thing of his cousin being a preacher, and he kind of believed in that, but he wanted to do the rock and roll thing. You were in this movie, “The Folk Singer”, with Possessed by Paul James, which had an element of wrestling with demons and working out faith. Even on your posters downstairs, one of the posters has “One Man Band from Hell” on it, but there’s Jesus imagery on a lot of the merchandise you put out. So, I feel like there’s some kind of that spiritual, or good and evil, struggle in what you do.

I’m not into organized religion. You can hear a little story about that in a movie I was in called “Seven Signs” that J.D. Wilkes from Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers put out. I’ve got a little spiritual side to me and I love gospel music. I say prayers and things like that, but I don’t know who the hell I’m talking to. I might be talking to myself, I don’t know. It just feels good to be able to ask for forgiveness or ask for help sometimes and hope that someone’s listenin’. I generally kind of revolve around the whole “energy flow of the universe” kind of way of thinkin’.

But I also have a tendency to…I feel like it’s my, uh…What did I used to say? “One of my purposes on earth is to offend the shit out of overly critical Christians”. I don’t know…that’s not exactly how I used to say it. It’s some other thing that sounded better before.

But I don’t know. I think people are just uptight and need to fuckin’ chill out a little bit and be cool, man.


Tell us about the life of a touring one man band. You tour internationally and go all over the place, but it’s not like you have Willie Nelson's tour bus sitting outside.

Right. I take a crew with me sometimes. Generally one person, sometime two people. And that helps out a lot. The last two tours I did in the states I went by myself and that was a real chore, especially when I was out west driving through all these blizzards after blizzards after blizzards and it was just really scary.

It’s a lot of work, even when I have help. The preparation for a tour; all the booking and all the getting ready for it and everything…rolling T-shirts and ordering things and running all over town tryin’ to get posters made and all this and that. That’s a lot of work and then you get in the van, you gotta drive six or seven hours a day a lot of the time. Get to the club. Try not to drink too much…which never works. Then play your heart out and load all that stuff back up and then do it all over again the next day. Maybe even party a little after the show and then do it all over the next day.

Meanwhile, while driving all those seven hours, eatin’ shitty food, unless you can find something good, but a lot of time you’re in a hurry and you don’t have time to…time to…Waffle House been killin’ me all day!


You have a new record, "Bad Ingredients", coming out in October. Tell us about that and what’s coming up next.

Worked really hard on this new record. I had six songs already recorded when I came home from Europe. I was gonna record five more songs. I recorded one more and then I started lookin’ on my computer and I found all of these songs from when I was stoned at three a.m. and I was like, “I don’t wanna forget this one!” and I went and recorded it. I ended up with 22 songs and I was like, “Oh, shit. This is a dilemma!” So, I ended up, the label let me put out 13 of ‘em and we’re saving the other ones for B-sides on some vinyl 7-inches we’re gonna put out and possibly an EP at some point.

I think I’ll start working on a live one once this one gets done. ‘Cause people been askin’ for that for a long time. Meanwhile, still trying to learn how to play guitar.

I’ve been tryin’ all kinds of different tunings for a while now. I’ve gotten to where a lot of the stuff I’ve been playin’ for so long – I’ve been playing guitar for 23 or 24 years now – and I’m branchin’ out and tryin’ to do other things. Play weird stuff that’s not really very traditional, but keep it with that roots sound in there somehow. A lot of it always leads towards metal, ‘cause I’m a metalhead at heart.

Thanks for taking the time to talk with us!

C'est mon grand plaisir! ["It's My Great Pleasure" in French. Biram recently returned from a tour in France and said he'd been picking up on some of the language.]

Keep your eyes peeled for a review of Scott's June 17th Off Broadway Show...

You can hear the audio from my interview with Scott H. Biram next Thursday, June 23rd on Dirty Roots Radio.

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Monday, June 13, 2011

ANOTHER TOWN


Sometimes I think Steve Earle has access to my mail...

ANOTHER TOWN
By Steve Earle

One of these days when my minds made up
And I'm sick and tired of hangin' around
I'll be on my way in a cloud of dust
On the road to another town
Once upon a time I loved this house
Now I'm thinkin' 'bout burnin' it down
And I'll be long gone when the fire burns out
On the way to another town
To see another city in another light
With my past behind me and my future bright

One of these days when I've had enough
Buddy, you ain't gonna see me around
Just as soon as I get my courage up
Gonna take it to another town

I used to walk these streets with my head held high
Now I'm always lookin' down at the ground
But I see my feet on the outbound side
Of a road to another town

And I'm gonna tell everybody I know
Yeah I'm gonna spread it around
That there's a great big world out there where I go
On the road to another town
To see another city in another light
With my past behind me and my future bright

One of these days when my mind's made up
And I'm sick and tired of hangin' around
I'll be down that road in a cloud of dust
On the way to another town

-From the album "Transcendental Blues"

Monday, June 6, 2011

Real Deal

Tain't never been a movie to so perfectly capture my current state of mind, as well as the music I love...

More to come...