“I’ve seen a lot of weird stuff happen,” says Moot Davis of his life in the music business. “I’ve seen a lot of things that would just crush you normally.”
He’s not kidding either, but there’s no hint of bitterness, no sense that he’s been crushed by such events. In fact, his attitude reminds you of fellow New Jersey product Bruce Springsteen, who famously sang “someday we’ll look back on this and it will all seem funny.”
So when fire destroyed the Wow & Flutter studio in Nashville, where Davis and his band recorded their new album, in June of 2013, Davis took it in stride after finding out that no one was hurt.
“Of course, it’s the music business; why wouldn’t the studio burn down,” he said. “We’ve had so many near misses on the road, traveling over the years, so I was able to bounce back pretty quickly, but I was wondering what was gonna happen.”
With an entire album, ironically titled Goin’ In Hot, recorded, Davis began to think about digging up the cash to go through the whole process again, but remarkably came the news that the album was going to be salvaged off the hard drive of the nearly melted computer where it resided.
Finally, some good luck, and on April 15, Goin’ In Hot will be released to the world. Already receiving positive notices, the Kenny Vaughan-produced album show Davis continuing to evolve his brand of country rock, and he couldn’t be happier with the results.
“I look at it as trying constantly to evolve, and as that’s happening, these albums are snapshots of where I am or what I just went through,” he said. “I’m just trying to do that roughly every year, and see where we’re at. I couldn’t do the same album every time. I don’t think that would be very fun and I don’t know that history’s really kind to people who do that. If you don’t change and grow and take chances, I don’t know what the point is.”
It’s a far cry from where Davis was after his first two well-received albums. Back then, Davis was looking for more autonomy in his career, making the move to Nashville to achieve this goal. It didn’t work.
“I remember being on stage and thinking ‘I’m not feeling this. Maybe I should just get out of this and go back to being a stage actor or something like that,’” he said. “I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was just burned out from all the touring and all the fighting.”
So burned out that he decided to get away. Far away.
“I began to look for an exit, some way to put everything on hold and try and regroup somewhere, and not Nashville,” he said.
His destination? New Zealand.
“I got a yearlong work visa, and I just left. I knew one person in New Zealand at the time, and they weren’t talking to me (Laughs), but I thought I’d go anyway.”
Davis reluctantly dragged his guitar along, and soon, he got his mojo back.
“After two weeks of decompressing, I was able to get back to songwriting.”
Soon, a request from France came for him to play some shows, and to brush up on his chops, he signed up for a guitar class back home in the States. He became friendly with the teacher, Bill Corvino, and while he got an F in the class for only showing up three times, he did get a call from Corvino a few months later.
“He said, ‘Sorry I had to give you an F in class, but if you ever need a guitar player, call me,” recalled Davis with a laugh. “So I called him and he put the band together that we’ve been touring and recording with. They put up with me through a really dark period. And all those little events together pulled me out of the void.”
Before that, Davis returned to the recording world with his third record, Man About Town, and now he’s back on the road to support Goin’ In Hot, with New York City getting a show tonight at the Rodeo Bar. And even with a month and a half to go before the album’s official release, he’s already in the swing of things.
“We’ve been touring so much already this year, so we’ve been playing those songs every night, and we have advance copies for sale at shows, so in my mind it’s already happening,” he said. “We’re just waiting for everything else to catch up. (Laughs) It’s fun. I love playing those songs and a lot of them are completely different from the older stuff that I was doing, so it doesn’t feel like I’m in some sort of temporary holding cell or anything like that. It feels like it’s already happening.”
And whatever else happens from here on out, you can bet Moot Davis can weather the storm.
“I believe in rolling with the punches as much as possible,” he chuckles.
Moot Davis plays the Rodeo Bar in New York City on Wednesday, February 26. For information, click here