It’s all about the THC; Big Dad Ritch says that the heart of rock and roll is still beating

I had the pleasure to sit down with Big Dad Ritch from Texas Hippie Coalition, and to my surprise I was graced and enlightened with his southern charm. Most people would think by listening to his deep and hard vocals in the songs like “Pissed Off and Mad about it” and “Turn it Up” or even just his stage persona may fool you, he is actually a down to earth soul and very vocal on the issues that swirl around in the headlines of today. Little did I know that Big Dad Ritch has some “outlaw” Washington roots as well, you will have to Ride on to get the whole outlaw story.

We touched on a lot of issues here from the Confederate flag controversy, Marijuana laws, and to the most notably “rock and roll is not dead” issue, as a matter of fact, Big Dad Ritch gave Gene Simmons an open invitation to come down to Texas to take a listen to Red Dirt Metal. What is Red Dirt Metal you ask? “Take outlaw country, toss in a dash of Southern-fried classic rock and mix it with some potent Texas power grooves and you’ve got a combustible sonic cocktail on your hands”.

Ride On, is the fourth studio album from the quartet that was released October 7, 2014. The record was produced by Skidd Mills, known for working with Saving Abel, Sick Puppies and others, at Sound Kitchen Studios. “Ride On” has been described by the band as, “the next level, little more raw, a little grittier, and “our way of letting everybody know that rock ‘n’ roll ain’t dead.”

 

SSL – Hi Big Dad Ritch, how are you doing? Thank you for taking the time to chat with Seattle Sound Live.

BDR – I am doing great sweetheart and you? (In a very deep and smooth unexpected voice)

SSL – I am doing really well. Let’s jump right in. So, you are just about to hit the road for your second leg of the Smokin Hot Tour?

BDR – Sure love, sure love.

SSL – Aare you doing anything to get ready or…?

BDR – Yeah, I am fishing.

SSL – You are? Like right now?

BDR – (Laughing) Yeah, I am at the lake house right now just trying to hide out and lay low.

SSL – Really? That’s sounds good because your tour looks like it will be pretty heavy with 22 dates in 30 days.

BDR – Yeah, we just came off of 18 dates in three weeks so, it’s a pretty rigorous little summer tour we got together here for sure.

SSL – It looks intense.

BDR – It’s better to get up North to you guys during the summer instead of the winter.

SSL – Yeah, the snow doesn’t make easy traveling does it?

BDR – I have done Spokane and Seattle in December and it’s not an easy thing.

SSL – I agree it’s pretty hard. We are anticipating your visit on both dates for Spokane and Seattle.

BDR – Oh man, I love it up there, having grown up there on Lake Chelan in Washington State as a young kid, I spent about 3-4 years up there from the time when I was about 5 till I was 9. I just remember how much I loved Washington when I was a kid. So, for me it is like coming home.

SSL – Oh that is cool, I didn’t know that.

BDR – Oh yeah, my parents were big time hippies.

SSL – Oh yeah? Well that’s fitting considering (laughing).

BDR – (laughing)

SSL – Well wait a minute, what took you to Texas? (in a confused voice)

BDR – Oh, I was born in Texas, my dad was an outlaw, he had the first marijuana drug bust in Grayson County history and shortly after he got busted he grabbed me, my mom and my little sister, we ran and hid out in Washington State.

SSL – Really? That’s an interesting outlaw-ish story.

BDR – Yeah!

SSL – How cool is that! So, I wanted this to be a fun interview, although, I do have one dying question to ask you since you are from the south and all. Do you have any feelings or opinions with all this confederate flag bullshit that is going on? Since a lot of bands do use that flag?

BDR – Well umm, haters are going to hate (laughing) you know? and that being said even the people that are hating on the flag they are just giving life to an already negative thing and I think there are some people out there that have that flag and they are referencing to it, may truly believe that it’s their part of them representing the south, of one of their forefathers that fought in the civil war for the south or whatever. But. I also do know that a lot of hate groups have seemed to pick it up as an identity for them. The thing for me is that for the people that have a trueness for what they think is respecting the flag and all that, it’s painful for me for those people now that a negative energy has climbed into their world. Umm, as far as the people that were using it as hate and the people that are being hated is giving power to something.

SSL – Yeah

BDR – It’s like a black person giving someone that uses the “n” word, if they are offended by it they are giving that one person power over them. If anyone ever called me fat boy or honkie or any name they wanted to call me I wouldn’t, it’s not going to hurt me, it’s not going to offend me. It’s their opinion and in America we are allowed to speak our minds, we just don’t have to have thought, we can actually speak it out into the open. I myself, try to speak positive energy out into the universe in hopes that all the positive energy will come back to me. I would never go so negative to call someone names like that, so, you know in return I wouldn’t give anyone that power over me by just using that word or that flag

SSL – It is a cruel world we live in these days.

BDR – With that being said, you know, if we go around and start policing everybody on what flag they can fly or what flag they can’t fly, it seems like we are getting too involved into one set group, in one city, in one county and in one state and it might not have that much of an importance outside of that area but right there it could have a great deal of importance. My motto is that from the bible it says to live by the law of the land, well I have 13 acres and on my land and I can fly whatever flag I want to fly. But, if they tell me beyond that 13 acres, I can’t fly that flag of course I want to respect the law and not do that, it’s the law.

Big Dad Ritch went on to talk a bit more about the legalization of marijuana

I think people keep evading our space, you know the government is taking over state space, state government is taking over our space, if we are out here on our property growing weed or smoking our weed it shouldn’t impose any threat to anyone else that isn’t doing that on their property. Colorado, and the money that they have made off of growing marijuana, I know the state of Texas could use that shot in the arm, you know what I mean? (Legalization) I know Texas could use that money and I think we are lucky that we have great states like Washington State, Oregon, Colorado and a little bit of California, I know that their format is a little different but still having states like that standing up and speaking out for the people is a great thing and that the whole state is behind that. It’s sad that the other states out here are still struggling to get our voices heard.

SSL – And to get ahead with the times?

BDR – You know Texas and Oklahoma down here are always about 5 to 10 years behind everybody else, maybe, we will catch up here in the next 2 or 3 years.

SSL – I hear you that would be nice.

DBR – I mean down here we don’t even know that rock and roll is dead. You know we still love rock and roll (laughing)

SSL – Isn’t that’s hilarious, I had a question based on your song Rock Ain’t Dead and you beat me to it. Speaking of Rock and Roll is dead. Specifically, that dude Gene Simmons saying that its dead, I was like seriously, did you just say that Gene? It’s like are you crazy? Rock and Roll is very much alive.

DBR – Yeah, in his world it might be perceived as dead! (laughing) in other peoples worlds and that what I am saying, you get to these different groups like what I am seeing out there from the young kids coming up and these new young bands, the ones that are getting booked more and playing more those are the ones that have some good rock and roll roots in them.

SSL – I agree

DBR – I am happy to see it, real happy to see it. If Gene Simmons wants to come down to Texas, I mean I hate to quote Huey Lewis and the News, but Gene Simmons would definitely know that the heart of rock and roll was still beating. (chuckles)

SSL – Right on!! That’s cool (laughing) yeah, all these new bands definitely have deep rock and roll history that is inspiring them and I don’t see that changing at all, I actually like how music is evolving into great things right now.

DBR – I think the world of music is a wondrous place and it’s easy to get lost in it whether you are a young musician or a veteran, it’s easy to get lost in this world because there are so many neat things, but we are just happy to be out there making a living doing what we love to do, being able to put food on the table and a roof over our heads. You know what I am saying?

SSL – I do, its hard out there, times are different. So, you are touring behind your fourth studio album Ride On are you working on your fifth yet? Any plans or are you taking time off from writing?

DBR – We are always writing you know, even when we finished the last album we were still writing at the time. So, young Cord Pool (guitar) has been doing a lot of writing with me this album seems to be coming out a little bit heavier than the last couple of albums. It has a little bit of darkness in it, which we always let the brightness of everything come out of the album. But, we also like to let everyone see the underbelly of everything as well. I think on this album there is some kind of, seems devious to me, you know what I mean? This album, I picture me standing on a rail road track fixing to light a stick of dynamite while some girl is tied up in rope behind me and the trains coming.

SSL – Holy shit (laughing) that does sound devious and sexy! Right on (laughing)

DBR – They can call me dick bastardly (laughing)

SSL – Hey, I noticed you are big on storytelling and I haven’t seen you live yet. But, you are noted for being a charming storyteller. What’s behind that, is that something that just comes natural or?

DBR – Yeah, it comes across in the music too, if you listen to our songs there is a bit of storytelling. That’s how we got tied up into this red dirt movement down here in Texas and Oklahoma area. Red dirt country music is just rooted in down home, true to your roots and telling a story about what your life is today and what is going on. In a lot of our songs we are just telling stories about life. I think about the story telling in between songs, you know, I can get a bit carried away (laughing) I like to get the whole story out. I know some of the fans are really digging it and it has some appeal but, I know my band sometimes wants to kick me in the ass and get to the next song (laughing) I never know what I am going to say, it’s not like any of its really planned, it just depends what kind of mood I am in. I usually try to stay positive but something may come out and might start kicking everybody in the neck. You never know.

SSL – Right, I think it’s a nice change up, it engages the crowd.

BDR – Right, and I think that’s what the audience is searching for, some sort of connection.

SSL – Yes.

BDR – Instead of just the live performance, I think that’s why we have one of the largest fan bases. We have all these chapters that have come out all across the United States and around the world. We have about 100 chapters right now, Ireland, Brazil, Australia, including Canada, there is one for Washington State. There is just a whole bunch of them and these people become part of these groups. (Facebook groups for certain areas by region. There used to be a strong following for BLS- Black Label Society fans and the Alice in Chains fans also form regional fan pages and groups like a commardity). I was just in Toronto Canada and there was a couple there that was from Ireland and they flew in to see the show.

SSL – No shit?

BDR – Yeah, and they had almost broke themselves completely and they knew once they got there they wouldn’t be able to afford a place to stay. So, they reached out to the Canadian chapter and the people in the chapter set it up so they had a place to stay. We have those kind of great fans that can reach out to others great fans. So, they get to feel what we call family. We don’t refer to our fans as fans really. We have a big slogan which is Faith, Family and Freedom. We think that everybody should have faith, whether you just believe in positive energy of the universe, god almighty or whatever your beliefs are, you need something to fulfill yourselves. And when it comes to family the only thing that can be more important than your family is your God, because you need your God to take care of your family and then our freedom, however you look at it, it shouldn’t be taken away from you. Just as somebody thinks that flag being pulled down on them is taking away their freedom, it’s going to cause a problem. I have been telling everybody, you know I have a lot of friends that are police officers and I don’t see officers of the law in the same light as other people do, they see them as enemies. These guys are like my friends, my buddies, we shoot guns together and go fishing together. There are a lot of guys like us it just so happens they are enforcing the law, which a lot of us are out there breaking (laughing) you know?
We got to stay outlaw!

SSL – Yeah, isn’t that the truth?

BDR – The problem is that a lot of officers are misusing their power and that badge, and what it is causing on society is to see them in a certain light and now they are grouping them all in together, which is just going to cause a problem with all of us out that are not the 1%. We need to remember there is a 99% of us out there.

SSL – I agree.

BDR – That is a big group of people that you are putting in this power, we need everyone to realize there is a higher cause and a higher purpose and we need to get some positive energy out in the universe. Take care of your faith, family and your freedom and make sure you have those 3 things and maybe some THC in your system. (laughing) (That would be the THC music and THC herb)

SSL – (laughing) yeah, that always works wonders.

BDR – I am not challenging anyone that we need to rise up, I am just saying that, I hope everyone opens their eyes up to see that we are having some of our freedoms being removed from our lives, almost on a daily basis in the United States and we can’t afford that to happen.

SSL – I understand and I would have to agree with you once again, it’s sad.

BDR – The way Washington has stood up and said we are going to smoke weed, that’s important, oh my god, we need everyone to stand up and say hey, we don’t take kindly to your kind around here but, we like to smoke kind bud (laughing).

SSL – Right, (laughing) Yeah, I don’t agree with what our U.S. and the world is coming to, all the propaganda pushing and….

BDR – Yeah, it is ridiculous if you want to get true news reported to you, you can’t watch what we grew up on, which is ABC, NBC and CBS. We can’t enjoy our news on a free network anymore, it’s like we have to go to HBO, YOUTUBE or watch the news in British Columbia or Canada… When we start talking about politics, whether it the democrats or the republicans, it shouldn’t be all that, it should be what is best for mankind and not just the United States but, the whole world. If everyone would just open their eyes up and realize the negativity energy affects us all, if we could just push positive energy out there we would get it back.

SSL – I totally agree. More peace and light.

BDR – Yeah…I just want to let everybody know that up there in Washington and that area over there, have some of the greatest people on the planet, everywhere I go, I let people know that Washington is a badass state and where I came from, as a young child to be introduced to the ways of the people up there at a highly influenced age. The reason Texas is in our name is because I am from the great state of Texas, it’s one of the greatest states in the united states, also one of the greatest places on planet earth and has some great things about it, I never want to leave but if the politics in Texas don’t get right. I might have to move to where things are legal, so that I don’t feel like I am in prison in my own home.

SSL – That sounds like you might be moving back to Washington? (laughing)

BDR – (laughing) Yeah, and when it comes to the word Hippie, that word is the word that I learned when I was in Washington state, hippie to me is people that stand up for each other and that are willing to take care of their brother, be their brother’s keeper, reach over and help the people next to them. And then the Coalition is because we want everyone to know they are a part of this, this is something you can belong to and be proud to belong to it. So, Washington State has a lot to do with the fact the name is Texas Hippie Coalition.

SSL – How cool is that? That’s pretty cool. We just have had a sweet southern experience straight from the Big Dad Ritch himself unfiltered.
Alright, we will see you at the show in Spokane and Seattle will be patiently waiting for your arrival as well. Travel safe and Thank you for taking the time to talk to me.

BDR – Yes mam, thank you darling!

Second leg starts up July 31st in STURGIS. Get tickets at www.thcofficial.com. Who’s comin out?!?
7/31 Sturgis, SD Buffalo Chip

8/2 Boise, ID Knitting Factory *^

8/3 Spokane, WA The Big Dipper *^

8/4 Seattle, WA Studio Seven *^

8/5 Portland, OR Star Theatre *^

8/6 San Francisco, CA DNA Lounge *^

8/7 Chico, CA El Rey Theatre *^

8/8 Las Vegas, NV Count’s Vamp’d *^

8/9 Santa Ana, CA Observatory *^

8/11 San Diego, CA Brick By Brick *^

8/12 Los Angeles, CA Los Globos *^

8/13 Tucson, AZ Club Xs *^

8/14 Albuquerque, NM Launchpad *^

8/15 Brownfield, TX 4B Bike Rally

8/21 Lansing, MI Fahrenheit #

8/22 Franksville, WI WIIL ROCK Fest

8/23 Cleveland, OH Agora #

8/25 Columbus, OH Park St Saloon #

8/26 Columbia, MO Rose Music Hall #

8/28 Austin, TX Dirty Dog Bar #

8/29 Shreveport, LA Riverside Warehouse #

* Red Sky Mary Supporting
^ 3Eighty3 Supporting
# Failure Anthem Supporting

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Shanna Torp

Shanna Torp

Shanna is a contributing editor at Rock Paper Rock and the resident interview guru. She is currently the Owner of SLT Social Media Services and is gearing up to finish her BA in marketing.


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