MHF contributor Al Sperry has put together an Interview feature called Al Over It. He recently spent time with Nathan Dean & The Damn Band when they played at Grizzly Rose for two weeks and opened for Eli Young Band and Randy Rogers Band. Al sat with Nathan Dean, Nick (Taco) Miranda III, Jason Judd and Bill Bogan after they finished sound-checking to open for RR. As members settled, the comment was made about whether police interrogations were considered interviews. It was time for ride!
MHF Al Sperry: What are some of your early influences and memories of music when you were growing up?
ND&TDB Jason Judd: I remember Saturday mornings. I’d get in the Vega with Grandpa and we’d head to the Greasy Spoon and have Haggard playing on an 8-track. I am from Oklahoma and also liked Kris Kristofferson.
ND&TDB Bill Bogan: My dad would always be playing country music. Old timers like Tom T. Hall. Haggard was the new guy. The rebel.
ND&TDB Nathan Dean: For me it was Pink Floyd, Tom Petty, J. Geils Band. It’s how I got to sleep. There always had to be music or I wouldn’t fall asleep.
ND&TDB Nick Miranda III: I grew up in St. Louis and now live in Las Vegas. Always music.
MHF: What instruments did you start with and at what age? What’s your background?
Nathan: I started with drums at 12 years old. I play piano a little. I used to play keyboards for a couple of songs, but they became more of a hassle for just those two songs.
Nick: I started in second or third grade. I play drums, guitar, piano, mandolin, banjo.
Jason: I was twelve years old. I played guitar, taught to me by my step-dad. My grandpa was a Choir Director at the high school for 45 years. My mom had her Master’s in Classical Piano. She performed at the CCOC in Norman.
Bill: I grew up with a Southern Gospel background, playing the drums.
Nathan: I grew up farming. I knew I wanted to make a living being a musician when I was in college. I took to Theater. Performing.
MHF: How do you balance home life and being on the road? How do you keep that from getting in the way?
ND&TDB Nathan, Nick, Jason, Bill: You can’t!
Nick: You just have to keep on keepin’ on.
Jason: That’s why I have a flight attendant for a girlfriend. Buddy Pass.
MHF: Any interesting stories from the road? Any jokes on other bands?
ND&TDB: Not any stories we can tell you!
Nathan: There was a picture of something that I was superimposed on. It was the Chancey Williams and The Younger Brothers Band. I put a personal ad on Craigslist for him. They shipped t-shirts to Albuquerque to the venue we were playing at. So when we were playing there, their whole staff was in their band shirts. 30 shirts. That’s a $200 prank.
Jason: I want to be rich and famous and buy everyone pink Mercedes. At this one venue, on stage there was a sign for a short singer, You Must Be This Tall , with a line. In Cincinnati, where I met Bill.
Bill: I met Nathan on Craigslist. He was looking for travelling musicians out of Nashville.
Nathan: I couldn’t find any (travelling musicians) in Phoenix. I was looking for a bass player too. I thought I found one. But he lied. We we’re playing real easy stuff and the guy couldn’t do it. My bassist friend saw him play for two minutes and said that he, himself, would have to go on tour. He couldn’t let that happen with the other bassist.
Nick: How about the $2000 bar tab? We played 5 nights with another band. Both bands were comped $150. They owed $1000 on top of that and we owed $700.
MHF: New music?
Nathan: We have 3 CD’s and are set for a May release for new music.
MHF: What do you like about Denver?
Bill: Grizzly Rose is a great venue.
Jason: It has a lot of character; a lot of awards. CMA recognition. We have a great fan base. They are loyal. Denver loves live music. They fly in to Denver from Nebraska, Wyoming, and Arizona. When we first played in Vegas, people came from 17 states. Of course, it was Vegas.
Nick: We really appreciate the fans. Times are not easy. We are grateful that they come out to see us.
MHF: How do you handle the downtime?
Jason: I’ve been going to the gym. It helps keep my mind balanced. Ride our bikes in the summer. It’s easier that driving the tour bus around, like when we’re up in Jackson’s Hole.
Nathan: I like to workout. Playing golf.
Nick: I like to ski. I learned at A-Basin and Aspen as a kid.
MHF: What’s next for ND&TDB? How are you getting to the next level?
Nathan: Every year, we want to play higher profile gigs. All it takes is one big show. In June, in North Dakota, for 4 summers now. Every year that rodeo show gets bigger and bigger. We play as often as we can.
Jason: Success is measured differently by other people. Some people want to be famous. If you love the life you’re living that’s success. Being a musician isn’t for everyone. If you get your bills paid, get to do something you love to do and something you’re good at, that’s success.
Nathan: I would like to write enough songs for an EP or album every year and a half to two years. I would like to do it more quickly, but we probably do 225 shows per year if you include some separate acoustic shows. The next album is looking like six new songs, six acoustic and two live songs.
MHF: How do you handle being together in tight spaces for extended periods of time?
Nick: Chemistry. This band has the best chemistry than any other band I’ve been apart of or seen.
Bill: We know each other. We know when to play and when to give space to someone. Just in case they need to cool off.
MHF: Anything else you’d like your fans (a.k.a The Damn Fans) to know?
ND&TDF: All of our Social Media!
Bill: We appreciate all the fans here and across the country. We have the best fans. They prove it over and over.
Nathan: We will be back to the Grizzly Rose at the end of February, then back mid-May and then again in July. We love it here!
What a great group of talented musicians!
MHF wishes you the best and will catch up with you during your next trip.