The Kansas City Blues and Jazz Examiner recently caught up with Coyote Bill in the midst of a busy Coyote Bill and His Wild Ones' show schedule to interview him about the upcoming CD release and the shows on the horizon:
Examiner: I just recently did an article about the Coleman Hawkins Blues Festival that you'll be participating in this year. Some of the bands were harder to find information about, but others were interesting combinations of musicians I've already heard a lot about. What's your involvement with the Coleman Hawkins Blues Festival this year?
Coyote Bill: We're playin' on Friday; there's going to be two bands that day. There will be us, and then after us there's going to be Bugsy Maugh.
Exmainer: I thought that was going to be Bugsy Maugh. They're calling it “Bugsy, Chili, and the Instects.”
Coyote: I don't know if The Insects are his band or a group of pickup musicians because he plays a lot with Rockin' Rick [Patterson] and the Roadmasters... and one time you'll see him with a harmonica player, the next time you won't. One time he's a power trio, the next time he's a six piece, and Bugsy Maugh plays a lot with Rockin' Rick, and I know Rockin' Rick is playing with Bugsy on this Coleman Hawkins thing... Chili, I know for a fact, is a harmonica ace out of St. Jo'. He played in the solo duo competition here in KC, and he had a guy with him who sang and played guitar. I've heard Chili before ; he's really good.
Examiner: That's something to look forward to.
Coyote: Bugsy is a Missouri Music Hall of Famer or something like that. He used to play with Paul Butterfield... Janis Joplin and other people, I've heard. Rockin' Rick's gonna be in the band and Chili on Harp, I don't know who else. They're gonna be headlining the Friday night show. . . .
This year the Coleman Hawkins group is doing the festival in conjunction with the H.O.G., the Harley Owners Group out of St. Jo', I think. It's going to be a biker-slash-blues festival. There should be a pretty good turnout. We did it last year, and it was a lot of fun.
Examiner: What was your experience at the Coleman Hawkins Blues Fest like last year?
Coyote: It was great—we went on first on Saturday last year, and it was a decent crowd, you know; the crowd kind of built up as we were playing. There's a lot of neat little restaurants and stuff like that up there. They all have their own, you know, “kiosk” type stands there. A lot of good food, a lot of good people... and it's right in the heart of old St. Jo'. You know, it's kind of like an old fashinoned downtown square.
Examiner: So it's the same place—Felix Square—is that where it was last year too?
Coyote: Yeah, yeah. It's real cool. St. Jo' is still kind of like an old fashion kind of town with their industrial centers kind of in the downtown area and then surrounded by all of these industrial areas is this nice green little park. . . .
Examiner: What I wanted to ask you about is: you've got this new album coming out. Now is this going to be an EP or is it full length?
Coyote: It's six or seven songs. I can't remember what we finally decided on. I guess you could call it an EP because it's not quite a full—I mean, what is full length anymore? You know, forty five minutes or so. So you know, I guess you could call it an EP. And we're doing it completely one hundred percent on our own. We're making the copies ourselves and everything. It will be a limited run. And we kind of want to have it—I've been working on some new material that we want to get into the studio. That's going to be the official followup to The Brown Bag Special. This one is just going to be something that we have as a product in the mean time. We're not going to make too many copies of it. And maybe, hopefully someday it'll be something of [laughs] a collectors item. [Laughs] I don' tknow.
What we did is we played a couple of gigs up in Leavenworth—I think it's from a couple of different nights. We were going to use some live tracks as a demo for clubs to hear. We never really got the demo put together. After a while, Rick [Cooper] who was running sound for us that night he is the one who recorded us, Rick of One Love Studios—he just recorded a couple songs here and there. So he was cleaning out his files and he says, “Hey, you know I found a couple of old files that we recorded in Leavenworth, and you know: some of the tracks ended up being really good!”
You know, the sound quality probably wouldn't get accepted by Sony Records [laughs]. There's a lot of... kind of... energy on it. So we just really liked it and said, “Why don't we put this out!?”
Examiner: I really like that kind of thing, you know. My favorite kind of album is when you can get the live feel-whether or not it was really live. You know? It could be even in the studio, but sometimes that's the worst thing about the studio—everything sounds kind of crushed. Everything sounds like it was recorded in a little, carpeted room, which is exactly the case, but not the ambiance that you want to hear. You've got to try to fake it and put some reverb on there—and you can still tell. It doesn't feel live and energetic, so I think that sometimes live albums are as good as it gets.
Coyote: Yeah. And it's not without its quirks. That kind of comes with the territory with this band, you know. It's kind of one of those “warts and all” things, you know. There' the occasional flub, and there might be... He was kind of experimenting as the show was going on, so one song might be—well it will sound like the bass drum is pretty loud. And then—well, I remember this night that we recorded it. I remember [Rick] going up actually and moving a microphone between songs. He was experimenting with recording our live sound. So there's one track where the lead guitar sounds like it's way far away, and there's another where it sounds very present and crunchy, and you can hear the—you know I use the Big Muff a lot. We did this gig right after Christmas, and I got that Big Muff for Christmas, so I kind of went a little—I kind of went a little pedal crazy [laughs].
Examiner: Dude, I love that sound though. It seems like the first time I saw you, you had that Big Muff goin'.
Coyote: I might have been using—I have a Marshall Blues Breaker. It's supposed to be a tube screamer, but if you set it a certain way it sounds like a Fuzz Tone.
Examiner: I really love that fuzz sound, and I always look forward to it when you rip out with that really overdriven, fuzzy, wild sound. It goes really great with that slide style that you do. It's great live.
Coyote: Oh, that's the other thing, too. On a couple of those tracks you can hear the audience. A couple of the other tracks you would have sworn that it was done in the studio, and you can't hear the reaction at the end. But on a couple of the other tracks you can really hear everyone applauding—we had a really good crowd that night and everyone was having a good time. And that's always good too. I don't like listenin' to my own stuff too much, but when I listen to these tracks it's kind of like, “Hey, do you hear those people clappin' at the end of that song?” That kind of makes you feel good, you know?
Examiner: Do you have a title for this new CD?
Coyote: It's going to be called “Leavenworth.”
Examiner: Yeah, because--That's a good name, though! That's awesome because it's got that feel.
Coyote: Yeah, we were going to call it “Live in Leavenworth,” but that sounded kind of generic. I said, “Let's just call it 'Leavenworth.' Just leave it at that.”
Examiner: I think that's great—because that has a connotation all its own. Yet it's completely accurate [laughs]. Is there anything else we should touch on before I close it up?
Coyote: Well, the CD and the St. Jo' festival are the biggest things coming up. The rest of my schedule is pretty much the same. We've got the Hideout... Blarney Stone on Tuesday night. We're gonna give it a shot. That's the full band. We're gonna have Don playing drums for us because Alex is out of town. Don Blazer on drums. Wednesday we're going to be doing that thing at Knuckleheads with Scott Moyer and the Blues Benders.
Examiner: That's gonna be cool!
Coyote: Saturday, I guess I'm judging at the local IBC thing. It'll be that one at the Office, the band challenge.
Examiner: Then you've got a show at the Jazz at the Legends.
Coyote: We play there pretty regular. Lake House Pub... October at the Office. A lot of these place we play pretty regular at.
Examiner: When do you expect to make the Leavenworth album available?
Coyote: It should be out for the Coleman Hawkins Festival. We'll have it ready by then, so the copies are made, we just got to finish making the covers. It's a limited run, and we're going to keep the price low.
Catch Coyote Bill and His Wild Ones:
Sept 7 Blarney Stone - Kansas City MO – 10PM
Sept 8 Knuckleheads - KCMO - With Scott Moyer Band and More!
Sept 10 Coleman Hawkins Blues Festival - St Joe - 6PM
Sept 16 The Kickstart Saloon - Topeka KS 6 PM
Sept 24 Jazz Louisiana Kitchen - The Legends KCKS - 7PM
Oct 3 The Hideout Bar & Grill OPEN JAM - Gladstone MO - 6PM
Oct 4 The Mutual Musicians Foundation Blues Monday Jam - 8PM
Oct 8 Lakehouse Pub - Lake Lotawana MO - 9PM
Oct 9 Home Plate - Pleasant Hill, MO 8PM
Oct 22 Jazz Luoisiana Kitchen - The Legend - KCK - 7PM
Oct 23 The Office Bar & Grill - Gladstone MO - 8:30 PM
Oct 29 Llewelyn's Pub - Overland Park KS - 9PM
Nov 7 The Hideout Bar & Grill OPEN JAM Gladstone MO - 6PM
Nov 19 Fat Fish Blue - KCMO Zona Rosa - 9PM
Dec 3 Lakehouse Pub - Lake Lotawana MO - 9PM
Dec 4 Grainery Saloon - Ozawkie KS - 9PM
Dec 5 The Hideout OPEN JAM - Gladstone MO - 6PM