Do those advantages give you a little more freedom to follow your artistic side in the studio?
I feel like I have total freedom to do my thing. There are songs on my new record that are two-chord rockabilly instrumentals and then there is a dark ballad with acoustic guitars. I feel like I can exercise whatever I’m feeling that day.
Your early work provided somewhat of a foundation for the current roots, alt-country thing and you’ve worked with a lot of people who went on to become icons in that scene. How does the current popularity of that kind of music make you feel? Do you take some pride in that?
Well, I’m a fan, first and foremost, so I guess, yeah, I’m proud of the stuff I’ve worked on. I’m proud of working with people like Joe Ely and Lucinda Williams. I think it’s really cool that we have a whole world down here in Texas of young bands that kind of exist in their own universe – bands like Cross Canadian Ragweed, Randy Rogers, Kevin Fowler – and are kind of undefinable in terms of whether they’re really rock or really country. I get to play on a lot of that stuff and it’s cool to see these guys doing well. I’m not sure how to answer that question, other than I’ve always loved to play guitar on great songs and I’ve been lucky to play with some great songwriters and be a part of some really good music. I’m still able to do that, and I’m very thankful for that.
You’ve landed all these great gigs; if there’s a young kid out there that would like to go that direction, what kind of advice, aside from the obvious need for talent and chops, would you dole out?
I asked Pat Metheny 20 years ago, “What’s the secret, man? How do I get as good as you are?” And he just said to me, “Play gigs.” That’s all he said, and now I know what he means and it really gets to the heart of the matter; you’re gonna learn more on a gig or a session in one day than you would in a month of practice at home. I mean, you’ve still got to put in the time at home and do the ground work, but the real experience – knowing how to interact, knowing how to react to a situation – comes from being in the moment. So I would say, there was a long period in my life when I never turned a gig down. I took every gig, and it didn’t matter what kind of music it was, I always learned something.
|David’s ASGN Gearbox
Here’s what David plugged in for his live performance: