Happy Curmudgeons - 10 Questions Music Interview
Dave Hamilton started the Happy Curmudgeons in 2015. He enlisted other studio musicians to record their first album, Meant 2 Be, that was released in 2017. The group's "core four" has consisted of Dave Hamilton, Amy Dixon-Lavery, Tumbleweed and Jeff Warner. The lineup of Happy Curmudgeons has expanded from personal friends to adding the stellar musicianship of Mark Byerly of the Bob Seger Band to produce their second album.
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
Dave Hamilton wanted to write a song that told a story, fictional or non-fictional. Jack Russell is a fictional bounty hunter from the old wild west. Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Lou Reed have always been sources of inspiration. Dave got to meet both Neil Young and Lou Reed at different times and they both encourage him to write songs from the heart and find an audience.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
I was on my way back from playing a show in Cincinnati in 1987 and I walked behind the Coliseum on the way back to my ride. Neil Young was finishing a soundcheck and I ran into him as he was getting ready to get back on his bus before the show. I was the only one back there and Neil said he would be back after he ate something. He was true to his word and came back and talked to me for 15 minutes. He was very inspirational and asked where I played that afternoon. He said always play your best no matter if the crowd is one or a hundred. The best advice was not to get down and do not listen to critics - they are soul killers.
What has been the high point of your music path?
The high point of the Happy Curmudgeons has been to work with outstanding musicians and producers. It was very important to get our first album done and out there. The focus now is to create better songs, better music and play with the best people we can while making friends along the way. Music can truly heal for those who play and those who listen.
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
My songwriting process is a bit different. I dream most of my lyrics, wake up and write down what I can remember. If I do not write them down, they are lost forever most times. I put music to the lyrics usually with other musicians and get their insight to interpret what I hear in my head.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
The biggest challenge for an Indie artist today is getting airplay and finding cash for a budget that can get your music out in the market place to be noticed. Competition is fierce, but if you have your own original voice it can be heard. I wish the music industry could establish a way for artists to be heard without their dogma of who will make it and who won't in the industry.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
If I could share the stage with anybody, it would be Bob Dylan or Paul McCartney. Both of those artists are incredible songwriters and have had a huge influence on the music I write.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
Rehearsals are loose, but we know we are there to work. We want things as natural as can be when we play live. The Grateful Dead would just get up there and let it flow. We work off of cues to make everything work as seamlessly as possible. Playing live is a fantastic way to feed off of energy and create something that you can give back.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
We have a new song - Be Kind - that was difficult at first to create what I had in mind. Jeff Warner was instrumental with writing a verse that held the song together. I can not wait to hear the finished version. I think we might include a small horn section during the bridge. Stay tuned!
What's coming up in the future?
The future for the Happy Curmudgeons is finishing our second album - 2nd Chances. We want this album to be fabulous and something that will guarantee us attention. We look forward to playing the songs live as well.
Tell us where fans can access your music?
If you want to hear Happy Curmudgeons music, please check out iTunes, Amazon Music, Google Play, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Spotify or Reverb Nation. Our music is also on YouTube.
For more information, visit the Happy Curmudgeons website.