By September 3, 2016 Read More →

RockabillyView – Saddle Tramps Say Goodbye

The Saddle Tramps Say Goodby
By Jennifer Allsup

One of the most clever bands in music is going to hang it up as a group. I have been a huge fan of this band for the nearly 20 years and we were able to spend some time together and get a great interview. It is long and quite interesting, and you can read the whole thing online at The Saddle Tramps will be holding a big blowout final show in Jamestown on September 17 The Saddle Tramps have been working the road since 1998 with fun songs like “A Sixer” and “Waitin’ On A Waitress”.

The Saddle Tramps Never Forgotten

JA: When did the Saddle Tramps first decide to rock the Reno area? Along with making this wise decision, who are the originals members you decided to embark on this journey with? What made you decide to take on these fellas? Was Suzy always a part of this dramatic threesome?

SR: Big John and I got together right around early spring of ’98 and starting putting songs together. After “A Sixer”, “Waitin’ On A Waitress” and “(You Put The) C*** in Country” I am pretty certain were the first ones. By June we were playing a regular weekly gig at Bully’s, a sports bar in Sparks. We were just happy to get a gig then. We didn’t think anyone would book us with songs like that. It was kind of a trophy. We got a steady weekly paying gig saying things that no one in those days would dare say in public.

Originally it was Big John and I. We were a duo playing at Bully’s and at The Improv. Quickly we realized we needed more material and a drummer. Our original drummer El Viagro was with us through about 2001. Then not long after that a friend of mine who was the business manager of Royal Crown Revue introduced John and I to Heidi Richman who was well known for tons of music marketing in L.A. she came up and had dinner with us and no sooner did she mention adding an Ellie Mae Clamped type person to the band, I got a call from Suzy. That’s when we added her. So that’s pretty well how the original lineup came about. We’ve had 5 guitar players and 11 drummers. One of the guitar players split time on mandolin, didn’t work out that well. We had a banjo player. We even had a piano player for a gig before we realized that was not gonna work. We’ve had 2 pedal steel players. In the end the lineup we have now has been the best for a multitude of reasons.

JA: After moving from Anaheim to Reno, is this what sparked your interest to travel the world? Playing with such talented musicians?

SR: When I moved from Anaheim to Reno, I barely knew that Nevada had another city other than Las Vegas. Traveling the world and all that was never a goal in the beginning. We couldn’t have cared less. After that month of playing Bully’s we went to Hollywood for a gig that Heidi Richman and Kim Vollstedt (Royal Crown Revue’s business manager) booked for us at The Cat Club owned by Stray Cats drummer Slim Jim Phantom. It was next door to the Whisky. We got the bug to travel after that gig in Hollywood then we just kept touring for 13 years straight logging roughly 200 shows per year. None of us could stand the idea of getting in a van to tour now. We’re all glad we did it and had an amazing experience and met tons of friends and saw so much but we all have had our fill of touring. I’m still not so sure I’ll even ever play live again let alone play in multiple cities back to back. If all goes the way I hope, I’ll just make records and put them out. I’m gonna give that a go next year. We’ll see if it works or not. I’ll probably get antsy and wind up playing some shit hole in San Antonio with a new band and calling myself a liar the whole way to the gig.

I know Mike and Jon are still going with their band The Sisters Doom. Such a good band. I’m glad they’ve got that. Big John is playing with a couple guys too and it sounds like a total sideshow. It’ll be really really great. John’s a huge talent and a very funny guy so whatever he winds up putting together people are going to love. I’ve been lucky to have him in our band for this long. I’ve learned a lot from him.

JA: When writing your first album together, did the writing experience became more raunchy lyrically? Do you think your wits have stayed close to home from one album to another?

SR: When we wrote songs it wasn’t ever an issue of “Hey what’s the most disgusting thing or most outrageous thing we can write to keep up with the last CD?” it was either a clever idea or it was stupid. The songs that we wrote that we felt weren’t all that clever or witty, we stopped playing, the best ones we kept in our set all the way to the end. All those songs we’ve kept were the ones everyone always wants to hear anyway so it worked out.

JA: In the 20 years performing with the band The Saddle Tramps, if you were to walk into a club, saw your evil nemesis was booked on the same bill, What song of the Saddle Tramps would dedicate to them?

SR: There’s no band we don’t get along with. The one time it happened it was with a Neil Diamond tribute band we were opening for. This was around 2000-2001 maybe. They took over 3 hours to soundcheck. We tried to be cool with them and be friendly, and they were [jerks]. John and I went in their dressing room during their soundcheck, drank a big dent in their beer, ate their catering and then sound checked with a Neil Diamond song. We were done in 15 minutes. We didn’t talk to them the rest of the night. That’s probably the worst it ever got. We get along with everyone.

JA: I know in all the years watching you all Mike “Powder” Young, John Von Nolde, Suzy Switchblade, & Jon Perry. I don’t think there was a show I wasn’t absolutely exhausted from, after dancing from start to finish, no matter how many hours you played. Is there one particular show that stands out in your head? That might even related to one or more of your lyrical wit?

SR: There are a few that stand out in my mind from over the years. There were some shows we did in Europe that were insane. We played the Hutenpop festival in Holland where there were 45,000 people. We played with GWAR, Luka Bloom, Living Color and The Real McKenzies. That was a big one. There were a couple shows we did at The Sonora Pass Lodge that were sweaty and fun. One of them it was so loud my hearing suppressed and got quite and I almost puked Hahaha! We’ve played 3 brothels, a handful of strip clubs, Entertainment Tonight’s Anniversary, we were regulars at The Derby in Hollywood, we’ve played some really great shows in our near 20 years. It’s been awesome. We’ve played some absolute [horrible] gigs in there as well but I think that’s all part of the program.

JA: I am saddened by news this is the last two shows. But, I will always have the best memories, whether here in Modesto or at the Rawhide in Jamestown, even Columbia. I also understand there are things in life we can’t change. The new adventures you all are about to stow upon, I hope it finds you all happy and very successful. Scotty, I have been keeping up with your art studio, Poster Shops. Which, is absolutely marvelous. And I wish you all the best of luck on these new adventures and may your friendship stay strong and continue to share laughter with one another near or far!

SR: Thanks so much Jenn! No looking back. It’s all big things going forward for all of us. I really am stunned how a dirty joke managed to last for almost 20 years. You people are sick.

JA: Thank you Scotty, Mike, John, Jon, & Suzy for many years of raunchy goodtimes! Cheers to a new road of excitement and great deeds!
Can’t wait for the show!!!


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