I believe you're from Washington,
did Washington artists such as
Billy Hancock or Tex Rubinovitz
have something to do in your
discovery of rockabilly ?
Yes, I was born in Washington DC,
and Tex Rubinowitz and The Bad
Boys are the first live
rockabilly band I saw and, well,
pretty much changed my life.
I saw Tex perform live at an
outdoor free concert series at
Fort Reno Park, and man, they
were rockin' like crazy and
brilliant! I mean Hot Rod
Man, Ain't It Wrong, Feelin'
Right Tonight! Great songs, and
excellent rockabilly music! Also,
there was a blues quartet called
The NightHawks, who influenced my
musical direction a great deal
too! A brilliant band who, in my
opinion, deserved much greater
recognition! Also, others in the
area were Robert Gordon, Johnny
Seaton, Danny Gatton, Evan Johns,
as well as Billy Hancock... and
also, all the great bluegrass
music, like The Seldom Scene, and
the Johnson Mountain Boys.
Plus, the brilliant jazz
guitarist Charlie Byrd lived in
the area. My Dad, who is an
excellent piano player, took me
to see Charlie Byrd, Barney
Kessel, and Herb Ellis, twice!!!
We had a ball. Plus, we went to
see the greatest, Andres Segovia.
We also went to see the
greatest, Chet Atkins!!!
So, yes, Washington artists, like
Tex Rubinowitz did have something
to do with my discovery of
there a lot of music around you
as a kid? Did members of your
family play music?
Yes, my Dad plays piano, and his
Mom, my grandmother, played
piano, both very, very well. As
far as guitar, not really, except
that my Dad does play a few
chords and some folk songs like
"Froggie Went A-Coutin'."
However, everyone in my family
loves music. My Mom
remembers seeing Louis Armstrong
in New York City, at The Blue
Angel nightclub, and what a
brilliant show it was.
you remember the first record you
bought by yourself?
I actually don't... I
remember listening to a lot of
Ted Nugent in High School, though.
Actually, the first record may
have been a Tex Rubinowitz
12" EP on B-Sharp records,
that I still have, called Hot Rod
and when did you start the
I started on the guitar when I
was around 18 years old...
my Dad had an old acoustic
harmony guitar that my younger
brother, Marc, was taking lessons
on... and he did not go to a
lesson and asked if I wanted to
go instead, so I did... and then
just kind of kept on going with
guitarist made the biggest impact
on you? Of course, one can hear a
lot of Merle Travis and a lot
rockabilly/country guitar players
in you style. But there's a lot
of jazz too like Oscar Moore or
Yes, Merle Travis, is the one who
has made the biggest impact on me.
For several reasons, not only is
he a brilliant guitarist, with a
whole guitar style named after
him "Travis Picking,"
he was an incredible songwriter.
I mean, all you have to do is a
little research on him and you
realize what a giant he was,
brilliant. I could go on and
on, however, anyone who is
interested can look into the
Merle Travis phenomenon on there
own. Yes, of course, I love
Oscar Moore and Charlie
Christian's guitar playing, how
can you not?! Brilliant
innovators on the instrument.
In fact the ending chord in Shaun
Young's/High Noon's song "Stranger
Things" is an E9b5 chord
that I learned off an Oscar Moore
recording. Furthermore the
riff on Shaun's song "Rocks
Me Right" is a variation on
the Charlie Christian "A
Smooth One" lick!
Anyway, you have great ears to
pick that influence up!
talk about High Noon now. How did
you meet Kevin and Shaun?
I met Shaun Young and Kevin Smith
in Austin, Texas on 6th Street in
1988. They were playing in
Shaun's Rock-a-billy band called
The Shifters, and I was working
with a country band called
Chaparral. ...and we
just got to talking and hanging
out through a mutual love of the
traditional, true rockabilly
music sound. We got
together one day and in my garage
on Ave. C, and just played for
hours, song after song, Sun
Sessions, Buddy Holly, Carl
Perkins, etc... just all
stuff we knew in common that we
had always wanted to realize, but
did not have the right musicians,
After that, we just played as
much as we could, anywhere,
anytime, all the time... 25 gigs
a month in and around Central
Texas was not unusual for High
Noon, at that time!
bands changed the rockabilly as
we know it today. Big Sandy, Dave
& Deke Combo and High Noon.
You proved that with an "authentic"
sound rockabilly was a today's
thing by writing solid originals.
Was it something you wanted to do
from the beginning with High
Yes, I have always been a fan of
great songwriting... and I know
that Shaun Young, Kevin Smith,
and I have always aspired to high
quality songwriting, as well as
rockin' rhythm, and pickin'!
made some great recordings with
Willie Lewis.Is he easy to work
As far as I remember, he was easy
to work with.
the band wen on hiatus, the three
of you worked on his own project.
Tell us about the Sean Mencher
Combo. What kind of style do you
play? The Sean Mencher
Combo is similar in sound to High
Noon at times, however, there are
drums, and usually another
soloist, like a fiddle or trumpet.
The style we play is truly a
combination of influences
filtered through slap bass,
acoustic rhythm guitar, electric
thumb-picked lead guitar, fiddle,
you have any release?
We do not have any
release yet, however, we are
exploring the possibility of
this period you've also played
and recorded with Wayne Hancock.
He seems to ask a lot from his
musicians. Some kind of Bob
Wills' attitude like "Look
at me or you won't get any solo"
Yes, Wayne Hancock does have that
kind of attitude, in that he
wants to feel the
musical solo as well as hear it,
it's not about what you play, so
much, as how you play it.
With conviction, guts, and pride!!!
Wayne is one of the best
songwriters I have ever had the
pleasure to work with, and a
truly one of the greats.
also known for your activity as a
producer. Tell us about the band
you produced (Jessie Lee Miller,
Croonin' Kurt, The Gin Palace
Jesters, The Twilight Ranchers
I am glad that I am known for
activity as a producer. I
enjoy working with artists/songwriters/bands
to help them realize their music
in a recording. Let's see,
regarding telling you about the
bands I produced, I would rather
just let the recordings speak for
themselves... also, there
is probably too much detail to go
into to answer this question, as
each band is different, with a
unique set of circumstances
surrounding the recordings I have
been involved with.
a producer what is your point of
view about recording on vintage
My view on vintage equipment is
this, I want the recording to
sound good to as many people as
possible. In other
words, I think that Ken Nelson,
Capitol Records producer, got
excellent sound, and I strive for
that sort of sonic quality.
I mean I could go on and on...
there is a friend of mine in
Berlin, Germany, who will not
even consider digital cds... he
says that as soon as you put the
material on cd, it does not
matter what you recorded on
because it has been converted to
digital to reproduce... so, you
could record on all this pristine
vintage recording equipment and
release it on cd and he would
argue that it makes no difference
because it's not on vinyl!
So, I mean, you can go to either
extreme, I am sure there are
others who record on the computer...
all digital, all the time...
the way I work is by trusting my
heart and and my ears... I
focus and listen and try to get
the best sound I can for each
recording. So far, it has
been a combination... usually
recording to tape, and then
mixing analog, and mastering on
computer, and then onto cd.
Each situation is different.
I remember High Noon released a
78rpm at one point.
would you like to produce?
Well, I look forward to Jessie
Lee Miller's new recording.
Really, I would like to produce
whoever thinks they might benefit
from my assistance. I
always thought it would be cool
to record Hank III and Chris
since they are Nashville
country music superstar grandsons.
we said when High Noon appeared
the rockabilly scene was small.
Today it seems that not only
there are more bands but the
level is higher. Did a newcomer
recently impress you?
The newcomer that impressed me is
the Two Timin' Three!!!
Shane, Jeff, and Eric are an
excellent rockabilly trio from
Austin, Texas, who write and
perform in the highest quality.
Also, a band from St. Petersburg,
Russia, The Neva River Rockets,
are top notch!!!
Really, there are so many good
new bands it's hard to
remember and name them all.
kind of music do you listen at
home? What is the last record you
The last cd I bought is Chet
Atkins Solo Sessions. I
listen to all types of music at
home. I listen to Jessie
Lee Miller a lot at home, also,
The Starline Rhythm Boys (whose
new cd Red's Place I produced and
will be released June 19th, www.starlinerhythmboys.com ).
I have also been listening to
Deke Dickerson's The Melody.
Deke never ceases to entertain,
impress, and inspire me to get
the guitar out!!! He is
awesome. Also, I enjoy
Jimmy Sutton's Four Charms new
cd, which I will not try to spell
out here. Dwight Yoakam's
new Blame The Vain is very good.
Dwight is fortunate to have such
a brilliant bassman, Kevin
Smith, in his band now.
played with High Noon at the 10th
Rockabilly Rave. Another
highlight was the more than
welcome come-back of Dig Wayne (Buzz
& The Flyers) with you on
lead guitar. How did you get in
touch with him?
Well, I have been a fan of his
since I first bought his EP with
Buzz and The Flyers. My
brother, Marc, located him in Los
Angeles to book him at the second
Green Bay Rockin' 50s Fest, and I
asked if I could play lead guitar
for him, and be the band leader,
and it worked out well there.
Jerry Chatabox was at Green Bay,
and asked if we could perform at
The Rockabilly Rave too, and of
course, we said yes!
seems he'll record a new album
soon. Will you be involved in
Yes, I hope so. I recorded
some with him in Berlin, Germany
at Lightning Recording Studios
with Axel Praefcke as engineer
for Ralph and Rhythm Bomb records
and hopefully, some of the
recordings from those sessions
will be chosen as "the
takes," however, I do
not know at this point in time.
Nevertheless, it was a pleasure,
and honor to be involved to the
degree that I was. Buzz/Dig
Wayne is a talented singer/songwriter,
and brilliant performer!!!
about projects, what are yours?
Well, there are some upcoming
projects, however, I will wait
until they are completed before
talking about them.
Still, keep an eye and ear out
for the new Starline Rhythm Boys
recording, "Red's Place,"
and of course, the new Two Timin'
Three recording, both due to be
released in late June, or early
July 2006! Plus, if
you have not already, check out
Jessie Lee Miller's "Now
You're Gonna Be Loved" cd,
available now through cd baby!!!
Trust your ears, and your heart!!!
Thanks and all the best!!!
Love, Peace and Hairgrease!!!