As a songwriter, I love what I write. I think we have to. I mean, it'd be tough to get behind a new composition that sucked, right? When I actually put in the time to turn a new guitar riff or lyric phrase into a full words and music song, instead of allowing it to remain in Idea Purgatory, I do feel pretty clever. The song will stay stuck in my head for days as I kick it around and fully iron it out, and I'm convinced I have the next Song of the Year on my hands. . And then, if it passes scrutiny when the band plays thru it for the first time, we're ALL charged up about the new song. Yay! We're effing geniuses! And THEN, when we gather 10 of those genius songs and put them on a CD, we're all in a collective awe of our own inherent brilliance. And that's when the Ugly Baby Paradox rears its head. It goes like this: When new parents give birth, they typically see this wonderful living creature that it the personification of beauty and perfection. But most of us have probably seen a newborn at some point in our lives that looks more like a drowned rat than the personification of beauty and perfection. Hell, I could submit my own baby photos as evidence. So, when we release our music, we go into it believing that the world will embrace the beauty of our new baby. But in the back of my mind I can't help but wonder if we have a drowned rat on our hands, despite all the praise and kudos from the producer, engineer, friends, family, etc. Truthfully, it shouldn't matter. I write what I write, and we play what we play, and I'm extremely proud of our music. But really, the ultimate success of it is determined by total strangers. People who buy your album because they want to hear you, not because they're your next door neighbor and they feel obligated because you bought their kids' Cub Scout Yankee Candle fundraiser. And radio people not in our market, who don't know us from a mud puddle but still add a track or two because they like it. Those are the people who determine if we're eating Kraft Mac n Cheese or Gruyere. So, we gave birth to our new baby "Songs From Schaefer's Outhouse" last week. Here's hoping it's a beauty queen.
RELEASE DATE: 9/27/16 Our 3rd album "Songs From Schaefer's Outhouse" is visiting Southern California as I write this, getting mastered at Lily Pond Sound by the great Jeff Dykhouse. Hell yeah. The new record is 10 tracks of pure Clam, recorded mostly live at Sucker Punch Recording Co in Washington DC with engineer/producer Mark Williams, whose credits include OAR, Darius Rucker, & Fountains of Wayne. These songs were born on beaches, backyards, and bars, and honed out on the road in front of live audiences up and down the coast, and I love how each one tells our Eastern Shore story in its own unique way. The boys and I spent yesterday under the watchful eye of lovely & talented photographer Kathy Gowin, shooting album cover and publicity pics at a bunch of cool locations around the Shore. It was hot, it was humid, but also a blast, ending with an short and completely unplanned acoustic set for some enthusiastic folks on the shore of the Chesapeake. Good times. We'll be announcing a few album release events as we get closer to the actual date, and plans are in place for a national radio push as well. As always, our gratitude for your love and support. You are why we do this.
This just in: we absolutely suck at keeping a blog going.
It's official: our two albums "Raw Barn" and "Hard Road Home" are now available for sale in Japan, Australia, and Russia. So now with the distribution we already have in North+Central+South America, & in Europe, this pretty much makes the Roadhouse Clams a bonafide worldwide entity. Hell yeah!
One note from the new distribution news that's kinda interesting: the track order of Hard Road Home was changed for the Russian market. Everywhere else, Star Spangled Dogs is the opening song on the album. In Russia, it's Track #3. Why is our pro-America theme song not kicking off our latest record in Russia? We honestly don't know. Maybe we're causing an international incident, because online downloads of Star Spangled have been strong from the Motherland since the album went live.
Should we send Keith into Red Square with Old Glory, and he can run around hollering "freedom!!!", William Wallace style? Perhaps we will.
-from the 7/21 RCM eblast:
You've heard mention that the band is performing at the Coffee Pot Roadhouse this Saturday (Baltimore's great Sean Preston & band are there on Fri too), but in care you're not familiar with this place, here's the deal: been there since the 1930s, and is considered to be the "CBGBs" of Americana/Roots music. The list of amazing past performers is longer than 7 Mile Bridge, and includes the likes of Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Ralph Stanley, Bill Monroe, the Statler Brothers, and Richie Valens (!), and it's rumored that Hank Sr and Elvis Presley both appeared there (separately) early in their careers.
And now, amidst all that history, here come the Roadhouse Clams! How'd that happen? "Well, we've got a pretty amazing fan base down that way," lead singer Rik Ferrell said. "They're known for making the trek all the way up to MD to see us perform. So when they started making a ruckus to bring us down there, it was the Coffee Pot who really took notice. The owners found us online, and loved our music and attitude. A couple of phone calls and emails, and the date was on."
The band is excited about their first trip to SW VA, and there are two solid connections to the area. Mandolinist Keith Thompson is a New River Valley native and Virginia Tech grad. And Rik got his chops and learned to play guitar in nearby Chatham, about an hour south of the venue.
"Looking forward to bringing our Eastern Shorebilly music down to the land of Curtis Turner, moonshine, and Ralph Stanley, and performing in an iconic venue with an amazing musical history," says Rik.
"Yep," adds Keith. "We'll know real soon if we're contenders or pretenders!"
Keith will also be making a personal appearance at the Christiansburg Farmers Market on 7/23 from 12-1.
New EP is out this week on 9/16, and damn does it sound good. It's basically a 6-track sampler of stuff from the upcoming "LIVE FREE OF FRY full-length, featuring your most requested Clam tunes: 1) Star Spangled Dogs (producer Mark Williams added a wicked guitar solo on this one) 2) Corner of It's Over & Goodbye (the first "single" is already getting airplay on a number of terrestrial an online radio stations) 3) Southern Fried Sushi (yes! a rare vocal appearance by the infamous Lugs Harvey) 4) Poor Man in Richland (this love song is proof that we're more than just pretty faces) 5) Hard Road Home (title track already receiving airplay) 6) Macabuca (our gypsy surf show closer, edited to a more recording friendly three and a half minutes) Pick up a hard (road) copy at a Clams show this Fall, or digital download at CDBaby.com.
It's the morning of the 4th of July, and we're enjoying a rare Summer day off, planning on chilling with family and friends before tomorrow's doubleheader. It's been a monster few weeks for us, with both highs and lows. In case you missed it, we had a great time performing at the beach last weekend, and having our set from a packed Seacrets in Ocean City broadcasted live worldwide on irieradio.com. New EP sounds phenomenal, thanks to the efforts of uber producer Mark WIlliams. The first tracks from Hard Road Home are making their way to indie radio stations (terrestrial and online) now, and we're already happy to be getting airplay on great stations like WAAI and WINX, with plenty more to come. We expect to have them available to purchase by mid-July. Also excited as hell that we were tabbed to open for Alabama's Teddy Gentry and his Rockit City Band at the great Ram's Head On Stage in Annapolis on Aug 14, and to perform at the massive national boccefest event at the beach in Delaware on 8/9. Word has it that if Teddy likes us live, we'll be added to more shows on the tour. . Pandora declined this week to add tracks from "Raw Barn" to their music library--we'll try again with the new tracks and cross our fingers. We were also denied entry into about 20 different music events that we'd applied for--can't win em all, right? (...sons of bitches....) Even though we're not getting love from everyone, the band truly loves the packed shows we've been playing this year--your support is what means the most to us. Be good, and we'll see y'all soon at a room near you. .
DEBRA: First off, I have to know, but I'm also afraid to ask: Where'd the band name come from?
Rik: "Came from an actual incident that happened a few years ago somewhere down in the backwoods of Georgia to a good friend of ours. Needless to say, he now avoids seafood in most honky tonk establishments."
Keith: "I never touch the stuff. You don't get sick from Chili Cheese Fries."
Rik: "Well, your arteries just might argue that point."
DJ: What is your most memorable moment so far?
Rik: "Wow, that's a toughie. There's been a few, good AND bad."
Keith: "Mine would probably be opening for Jonny Lang in Baltimore, and having the crowd singing with us on "One More Time".
Rik: "Yeah, and he was amazingly cool too. Made it a point to find us after our set to say how much he dug it. Boom! Another is when we played a festival at Merriweather (Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD) with the Avett Brothers, Gin Blossoms, Flogging Molly, and a bunch of others and the Bacardi supermodels asked for our autographs backstage. Great ego feed right there."
Derek: "Yeah, you were a diva for like the next month."
Rik: "Sorry about that. I was stuck in the moment, and I couldn't get out of it."
Keith: "Great. Now Bono is going to sue us."
DJ: The Clams' sound has a lot of different bits and pieces to it. How do you categorize it?
Keith: "Actually, we try not to."
Rik: "Well, that's not entirely true. We do categorize it as 'sound'."
Keith: "Good point."
Derek: "We've been called 'Redneck Rock n Roll', 'Outlaw Country', 'Dirty Americana', and our personal favorite 'Drinkin Music'. But really, we just play what comes out of us, with no forethought at all as to what fence is going to be put around it. Sometimes things don't fit so neatly into pretty little boxes."
Rik: "Hell, if Skynyrd came out today, they'd probably be called 'Country', right?"
DJ: What exactly is a Macabuca?
Rik: "Ha! That's funny right there. We named that song after this little bar we fell in love with when we were playing the islands last year."
Derek: "It's heaven on a bun."
Rik: "Macabuca (is) on the northwest coast of Grand Cayman. It's a tiny open air tiki bar, away from tourist land. They make Bloody Marys with Scotch Bonnet Peppers, pull fresh conch out of the water every day for the menu, and had Merle, Marley, and Waylon on the stereo. Have a few drinks, grab your dive or snorkel stuff, and step down this ladder by the bar, right into coral reefs. Then when you're done, come back up the ladder, drop your gear, and your bar stool is still there waiting for you. Once we found it, we were back there every day."
DJ: Let's go. I'll drive.
DJ: Besides the off-kilter nature of your songwriting, the re-worked covers I've heard you do, like Prince's 'Kiss", and the John Lee Hooker take on the Beastie Boys' 'Fight For Your Right' are unique. How'd you come up with those?
Rik: "Well, all kinds of ways, really. We came up with our version of ACDC's 'You Shook Me' (uptempo bluegrass) when this girl at a show in Key West a few years ago told us she'd take her top off if we played ACDC. That's incentive right there. We did, and she did. Been playing it ever since. Covers aren't a have-to; we do them because they're fun."
Derek: "They definitely get reactions though."
Keith: "I love the look on people's faces when we break into 'Kiss'. Especially in the real redneck bars."
DJ: Thanks for your time, guys. I'm excited to hear the new album, and it's good to know that you still have a screw loose. Anything else you'd like to add?
RIK: "Really, just a sincere thank-you to you for featuring us, and everyone else who feels that what we do is worthy."
KEITH: "Don't forget the website."
RIK: "All yours, Mr Announcer."
KEITH: "Check us out online at Roadhouse Clams Dot Com."
DEREK: "For all your Roadhouse Clam needs."
Well, now...The recording for "Live Free or Fry" is done!!!! It's a glorious day!
And lemme tll you, the difference it makes when you have a pro producer like Mark Williams on your side is just incredible. "Good enough" is no longer good enough. Go til you get it nailed, and that's what we did. Mark is blessed with an incredible ear, a great sense of space, and the patience of a glacier, which is most definitely needed when you work with us. And the payoff...well, you'll hear the results for yourself soon enough.
For "Live Free", we had access to a treasure trove of exceptional guitars and amps, which had Rik, Keith, and Derek grinning like mental patients. Vintage Fender Surfmaster, hot-rodded Tele, Vintage P Bass, a gorgeous old Gibson Melody Maker, PRS, Martin...just a killer arsenal. And the amps? Classic Fender Bassman, Matchless, and Purple, all delivered thru Pete Cage's fantastic cabinets. All delivered warm, honest , soulful sounds and made our tracks come alive.
We knocked out vocal tracks in yesterday's final session, and damn, we almost sound like real singers. Scary good.
If you've dug what you've heard from us on Raw Barn and the Hard Times for Softshells EP, Live Free or Fry is taking the Clams sound to an entirely new level. Can't wait for y'all to check it out.
Next up is fine-tuning, mixing, and mastering, with a release date coming in early 2014. CD Release events are being planned in Baltimore, on the Mid-Shore, and at the beach. Stay tuned for details on all that mess.
See y'all soon!
We've been hard at it of late, cutting tracks for our 3rd album in Washington DC with producer Mark Williams. The days/nights are long, but the sound so far is exquisite.
Our first two albums "Raw Barn" and "Hard Times for Softshells" were both cut with a real wham-bam, thank-you-ma'am attitude, which allowed us to capture the rawness of our live shows, but limited the scope of the songs themselves.
Mark, on the other hand, is slowing down the process, taking the time to get the most out of each individual performance and track. And since he's worked with heavyweights like James Taylor, Vertical Horizon, Justin Sheehy, and even U2's Bono, we feel inclined to take his word for it! The process is slow and exacting, but the results so far are staggering. That's GOOD staggering.
We're also using a blend of vintage gear and top tier new instruments this time around. The '65 Fender Jazzmaster I played on our surf instrumental Macabuca was so perfect and pristine, I felt like it came straight from God's own guitar collection. And Darlington used a Mike Dirnt signature Fender bass that added an extra layer of sweet fatness.
We'll be previewing songs from the new album in the next few weeks, and are looking to mid-Summer for our CD release. Hope yer as excited as we are! -Rik