Interview: Orange Blossom Special

Published on 28 June 2021 at 11:22

1: How did you decide on the name, “Orange Blossom Special"?

My brother, Alan, and I had a multi-disc CD player on shuffle as we were flushing out ideas and “Night Train” by Guns n Roses came on and we thought, “What about something to do with a train?” Then the next song was Johnny Cash’s “Orange Blossom Special” and it stuck. We looked it up and saw it was the good time/vacation train that ran in the Winter only, taking passengers from New York to Florida. Funny, when we first started out, we really did not know what we were doing and played any show we could come by. We were booked on a few Country shows and once we finished our set, it was clear we were not a country band.

2: What inspires you to create?

Life experiences, good, bad, or different such as love, loss, heartache, happiness, frustrations and whatever else happens daily. It’s an array of things and sometimes it just happens unexplainably. Daily conversations with friends & family or even overhearing chatter while out and about triggers something in my head and gets the ball rolling. Then there’s various artists that influence/shape us and inspire how we write and what we absorb from their tunes. Subconsciously, it seeps into whatever we are working on. Music has been our avenue to deal with whatever life has dealt us. An audible journal really. 

3: What advice would you give to someone who wants to be in a creative profession?

Set goals and chip away at it. Once you reach your first set of goals, set new, higher ones. 

Practice, Practice, Practice. Write and re-write. Create! It’s not all going to be great but learn from mistakes and keep crafting your skills. If you have a friend or mentor, someone you trust, respect, & are comfortable sharing with and asking for criticism, do so. Listen and know that not all criticism needs to be taken to heart. 

Don’t be concerned with what anyone else is doing. Love what you do! If you don’t, it’ll show. 

Hustle, hustle and more hustle. Never be too good for anything. You never know who, what or when an opportunity may arise. You’re going to hear “NO” regularly. Don’t let it phase you. Surround yourself with supportive and creative types that inspire and push you to do more. Sometimes it takes playing with a better musician to push you to the next level. Sometimes it might get uncomfortable. Push through it. Growth happens when overcoming new barriers and hardships. 

Don’t let the business infringe on the art. Create and finish what you want to do. Then figure out the best way to release/market whatever it is.

4: Do you feel open minded about what you listen to? Do you like going out of your comfort zone?

Completely open minded and love hearing something that WOWs us or catches us off guard. Different occasions in life call for a different soundtrack and we are all over the place musically. You could hear jazz cuts like Miles Davis, Coltrane and Etta James along with soul tunes from Charles Bradley or The Budos Band followed by some fuzzy riff rock like Reignwolf, Dinosaur Pile-Up or Royal Blood. Then there’s some classic favorites like CCR, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and ACDC, plus the alternative 90’s bands like STP, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam along with Punk bands Rancid, Rocket From the Crypt and Cadillac Tramps that still resonate with us. There’s so much music and only so much time in the day. We all have quite different musical backgrounds and journeys that come together nicely when we write songs.

5: What outlets do you find out about music from? (Record stores, magazines, samplers, etc.)

Pre Covid it was at Live Shows, whether touring and crossing paths with others or seeing a favorite band and being blown away by the opening act. Word of mouth from friends and other bands. “I’m really into this band or another right now!” 

Liner notes in records/CDs and the THANKS section was always where we’d find out about other bands. Why is a band we like, thanking these guys or gals? . . Oh, because they’re awesome! Ha

Record stores are always fun. Trying to find various gems and rarities to add to the collection. So much of it is online now also.

The last 2 years it’s been more playlists or Spotify artist radio stations that have turned us on to new acts we didn’t know about.

6: What is your favorite format to listen to music on? (CD, Vinyl, etc.)

I don’t know if I really have a favorite. Devin (drummer) would say Vinyl. I enjoy it also but am not particular. Have a gazillion CD’s but it’s been nice having mp3 players or Ipods with hours of tunes on them in pocket size form or phone.

7: What band/artist do you think everyone should listen to?

Toots and the Maytals

8: What motivates you to check out a new artist?

A love of music and seeing bands live. We go to a ton of shows when home and on days off while touring. Supporting friends and the local scene as well as catching national acts that are playing. “Oh, it’s Tuesday and Little Hurricane is playing at Wayfarer or it’s a Monday night residency. . . Have you heard of them? Let’s go check it out!”

Otherwise, I hear a tune, a riff, or chorus and like what I hear and dive into more of their catalogue. Are they new and only have a few tracks? Is this the first I have heard of them and they have four albums? Did they finally find their sound on album two or three? Or work with a producer that honed in their sound? 

9: Who was the first band/artist that became your favorite band?

The Cadillac Tramps or Rocket from the Crypt. We stumbled upon both at the same time in Rancid liner notes and caught them live soon after. Both put on an insane LIVE show. So much energy and fun! Saw them and thought . . .”I want to do that!”

10: What was the inspiration for your song “Priority Mail”?

We were starting to tour a bit and I had a girlfriend who was super supportive but also the long-distance thing wasn’t working. We split and she was always in the back of my mind while chasing dreams, trying to make the band happen, playing shows, crisscrossing the US in a van with 3 other guys. Had a funky little riff and ran with it.

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