I often find myself looking for bands that radiate that “special something”. I listen to hours of music on sites like Our Stage to find those great musicians that deserve to be passed around on mixed CD’s and shared with all your friends. So, when my ears caught a listen of their song “Really”, I instantly thought, “Damn, that’s good.”
On their myspace they describe themselves as minimalists and in many ways they are. With their “Midas touch”, they spin simple words and phrases into pure, catchy gold that I find myself captivated by. All of it is sung in this earthy, gritty tone that makes you believe every word. There is no doubt that they are guitar whisperers as well. Not to mention the addictive rhythm of the drums could stand alone and still make you dance like crazy. Every note, every solo, every word in two words could be summed up as this: naturally cool.
I got the chance to talk with the mastermind behind The Panderers (who couldn’t have been nicer), Scott Wynn. Here’s what he had to say.
1. Who/What inspired you to pursue music?
First, my dad's side of the family is really musical - mountain people from Kentucky. My dad's had a great uncle that used to cut records in a log cabin until the cabin burned down and melted all the recordings. I understand that you used to be able to mail order catalog record making machines for home use back then and they didn't need electricity. You would wind them up. Maybe they were cylinders like the Edison machines of the period, not sure.
My aunt is also a published Gospel singer and a trio that she competed in Knoxville, TN one year and won a major outdoor festival with all music genres competing. They won not only their genre of gospel, but also won out over all genres at the massive outdoor competition. My sister got a vocal scholarship to college. She is an alto. An alto can really make you appreciate a good deep bass voice ya know. Too high pitched voices hurt my ears. I am part puppy.
Then, growing up in Indiana, we lived next to Lonnie Mack's brother. Lonnie played bass on the Doors "Roadhouse Blues". He was more famous for being the first artist to popularize the Gibson Flying V guitar with a song called "Memphis" back in the 60s. We lived next to Lonnie's brother, Alvin McIntosh. He was a major influence in my musical upbringing. I still record almost exclusively with the guitar that I got from him at age twelve, a Japanese-made 1971 Epiphone Bard acoustic. Alvin happened to be a USO entertainer during the Korean War. How cool would that be?! Playing to sailors on ships during a war. He was an older dude, but cooler than Ray Charles, but in a hillbilly way. You can't fake being the "real deal." Humble and talented and uniquely humble and talented. He was homegrown. His whole family had it. I played rhythm for him starting around age 11 or 12. He was my biggest and most direct influence. He played a lot of bluegrass and trucker country. He was bad ass. I got exposed to music that I other wise would not have. That's like a free gas card.
2. How do you usually write your songs?
I am mostly a stream of consciousness writer. I play keys/synth/piano or guitar and rough a song together the words just want to be joined with it. Mostly it's about vibe an feel and not overdoing it. Being reserved and varying from song to song are my intent. Simple and humble rocked-out or vibed-up "ditties."
3. What is the first artist you remember loving as a child?
Joe Walsh/James Gang. Funk 49. That dude meant it. Some Classic Rock is truly "classic."
4. If you could collaborate with one musician, dead or alive, who would it be?
Yeah, Ray Charles. Smooth rough silk. I would just write simple ditties and listen to him turn them into smoke.
5.What is your dream venue to play?
Prolly a sold out UK football arena with Kings of Leon and Alabama 3 (A3). A3 does the Sopranos theme song. It's weird how in America, we have to resurrect The Rolling Stones to pack a football stadium. The Brits do it rather regularly. They have their priorities right. America is at an all-time low for seeing bands on tour. So, we steal music and don't go to shows. Not sure what that says about us.
6.If you could experience another decade of music first hand, which would it be?
1966 to 1976. Mamas and The Papas, CSNY, Zeppelin, Woodstock cast, Three Dog Night, Bread, Loggins an Messina, Zappa, AC/DC, ELO, Foreigner, Steve Miller Band and Bad Company. This is one dead-ass decade we are in now. The radio has nothing to say anymore. If video killed the radio star, Reality Shows killed the video star. I like mixtapes and satellite radio instead. Someone will come and save us. The last distinct and massive shifts in rock music were early 90s grunge and new millennia garage rock, followed by the popularization of many the forms of techno, then a rock disco binge, a hair metal burst that lasted a blip. But, mostly, it has been this one volume thing that Creed ushered in and morphed into Nickelback. These guys are all good, but I am saying the clone bands between that spread have really made rock dismal and mono-mono/same-same. I'm just saying, the bands I listed above co-existed at the same time and sounded nothing alike. Where is distinction. There are distinct bands out there, but the powers that be keep spinning the "safe stuff." I think most bands today that get national attention are indistinguishable from Nickelback. Record companies don't find hit songs, they finance the success of a song - often more than it deserves.
have no fear, some new Cobain or Jet "newer thing" will manifest itself and usher in a new era unleashing the hounds.. and it will be good. It's overdue, and it will take us by surprise... if we aren't immune to everything under the sun that is. We need help. We aren't satisfied unless we are shocked with "Crazy Bitch" and suggestive lyrics. I just want to slow down to the prelude to Ike and Tina's "Proud Mary" (Rolling on the River). Nice.....and ....slow.
Right now I am listening to that "Give me that filet o' fish, give me that fish" song. You play anything over and over enough and I will buy it as ringtone. Music is product - and someone has been stealing our product! What was the question?
7.If a movie is ever made about your life, who would play you?
Robert Blake and Robert Duvall's man-child.
8. If you could pick a gemstone to symbolize you and your music what would it be?
Shale. It's not a gemstone though, but it's a lackluster rock found above coal. It is mud condensed into rock. If it has cooked long enough underground and under pressure, it will become slate.
My dad was a coal miner at points in his life. He also cut mining timbers to hold up the shale roof in the mines. A small piece can weigh hundreds of pounds. Like the size of a car hood an inch thick can weigh 400 to 500 pounds My uncle had his back broken when the fragile flaky roof came down with a large piece and broke his back when he was mining as a youth. He recovered luckily.
So yeah, shale is it. No sense in sugar coating it - making it what it's not. Our sound is not gem-like, it's loose and underdone, gritty and dirtier and more reflective of human nature in general. It's okay not to be perfect. I don't like music that is uber-perfect and over produced. I prefer honesty and understated simplicity.
9. Is there anything that I haven't asked that you'd like to say?
Bit torrent servers suck. Music pirating may not hurt Mariah Carey, but the level of theft can break an indie band and make it difficult to impossible for us to get out and reach a larger number of people. Our first release was pirated for over $1M because we got exposure from a prominent a video game commercial. That money is what an Indie band tours on. People need to know that they aren't keeping bands from getting rich, they are keeping them from touring when they pirate music. That's all I got to day about that.
There you have it. Now GO LISTEN! :D