|Carolina Still playing at Muddy Roots 2013|
Check out the full article over at the Vinyl District
"Over the past few years, I have managed to broaden my musical horizons by leaps and bounds. I began discovering artists entrenched in the roots who reflected a time-tested aesthetic in American music. This aesthetic is one where the pomp and frills are left in the rear view, and what moves forward is pure, passionate, gritty, and real music.
Standing in stark contrast to the enormous commercial festivals around the US in the summertime, the annual Muddy Roots Music Festival in Cookeville, TN exists almost as an anti-festival, a place where this style and ethic is celebrated. A wonderland where, upon entering the grounds of the ranch, the outside world is left behind and all that matters are the people you are with and the music you are listening to. This year, I will be travelling to Cookeville, and will bring back to TVD a first-hand account of Muddy Roots. To put it simply—I can’t wait.
A year ago, TVD’s Charles Gray talked to Jason Galaz, the man behind Muddy Roots. We had the opportunity to revisit with Jason and catch up and he told us a bit about the fifth installment of his ever-growing annual hootenanny. After reading what Jason has to say, read on to find out how to win an exclusive, limited edition Muddy Roots Records 7″!
For those that don’t know, tell us a bit about the Muddy Roots Music Festival.
It sucks. There are no big names like Kanye West or Mumford & Sons. You have to pay $125 to watch a bunch of bands you never heard of plus camp with them. They stink. It’s like way out in the middle of nowhere. Yeah sure there is a bar but you have to bring your own liquor. There is no McDonalds! I mean, there isn’t even carnival food. We are stuck eating food cooked by real people at vendor booths all weekend. There even vegan vendors. YUCK!
Worst thing of all is people come as they are. How am I supposed to dress if no one comes in a themed uniform? I feel so much more comfortable going to Bonnaroo where I can wear an ’80s cap, khaki shorts, and sandals just like everyone else. And where the fuck are the glowsticks?!?! I thought this was a “festival?” You’ll be stuck paying attention to the performers and not drawing the attention to yourselves.
Is there anything new or different that we can expect for 2014′s Muddy Roots?
We really kicked it up a notch this year with our “headlining” acts. Instead of 1 a night we have 2 or 3 on different stages. We wanted to mix it up a bit so we invited in ’60s garage rock legends, ’70s rockabilly, ’80s grunge, ’70s punk rock, ’60s country, and of course Switzerland’s #1 rock n roll band, The Monsters. To make sure no one missed their favorite bands we staggered the sets so as to not overlap. You can now see damn near every band playing the entire weekend.
What is it about the music of the artists at the heart of Muddy Roots that draws you to it?
It is always about how they make me feel. Whether you are an underground punkgrass band or an iconic band from 50 years ago, it is about the spirit of your music that draws us in. It’s about the heart of the artist, who you are as a person, and what your motivations are. There is no ego trip at Muddy Roots. You will see the headlining acts hanging out in the crowd with everyone else all weekend. All are equal in our field and that is what makes the event legendary.
Any artist you are particularly looking forward to this year?
To be honest I miss almost all of them because I am working my ass off. I watch it all on YouTube throughout the year. But I do turn off the radio and hide in the crowd every once in a while for half a set or two. I will make it a point to do that for the legacy acts like The Sonics, The Blasters, The Weirdos, Bobby Bare, and of course the return of the Legendary Shack Shakers.
I am most excited to see the response Mudhoney will have to our crowd. It’s going to be a trip to see a full reciprocation from stage to crowd the way Muddy Roots folk like to do. OH hell, and The Monsters from Switzerland! Or as I like to call the, “THE GREATEST ROCK N ROLL BAND IN THE WORLD!” OK that was the fan boy in me talking. I won’t miss their set unless the field is on fire or someone is bleeding. Maybe not even then.
What led you to include acts like Mudhoney, The Sonics, and ANTiSEEN—acts that are a bit different from the others playing—in the lineup this year?
They are no different to me really. Muddy Roots is about music that fits in between genres. That includes original bands that created a sound before it was labeled a genre by industry. It is these creatives that influence generations to come. When people here the words “ROOTS MUSIC” they think banjos and yodels.Yes, that is true but that also putting a narrow label on something that is ever evolving.
According to Wikipedia, “Roots revival is a trend which includes young performers popularizing the traditional musical styles of their ancestors.” How many of us are rooted in music from these bands? Imagine the relevance to all these bands we book when you look back 50 or 100 years from now.
Last year, you were working on the documentary Hard Soil. The documentary is done, and you are screening it at Muddy Roots. How does it feel looking back at the completed film? Do you feel that the film accomplished what you set out to do?
That is more of a question for Marc Littler, the filmmaker. He had full creative freedom to capture whatever it was he saw in the field. I wanted it to be pure and so did he so I didn’t try whatsoever to influence the outcome. I do the same with the bands. Come here and do your art!
If we shoot 50 more films you will have 50 completely different stories and I think that is beautiful. It is also cool as hell to see your friends and favorite bands 20 foot tall on the big screen and to know they will all get well deserved exposure.
How did the relationship with the June Bug Boogie Ranch happen?
There were many factors that came in to play when I planned the first Muddy Roots fest. I was sick and tired of sterile environments at festivals and concerts. Hell, even the dirty, faux hippie corporate fests are sterile as shit. Music is meant to be felt. The crowd reaction is 50% of the show and you can’t get into the song if you are in a plastic environment.
Other fests tell you to stand in line, get patted down, pay $8 for a water, structure a “restricted fun zone” i.e., the stage, then process you out like sheep. Fuck that. Muddy Roots has one main rule and it is “Don’t be a Dick.” That pretty much covers all the little stuff.
When you have that kind of freedom you can get in to the spirit of this music. It is organic. On the other hand I wouldn’t want to be the person that fucks that up in this field. We needed a place where we could be ourselves. I found half a dozen biker ranches in Tennessee that held their own rallies and emailed them. Our parties are nowhere near as wild as theirs so they couldn’t give a damn about us getting too crazy. They were the only ones who gave us a shot and I am forever grateful.
What would you tell a first-timer to Muddy Roots?
First off I would thank them for making the effort to come out to our field. Thank them for the support because each and every person matters at Muddy Roots. Then of course, all the responsible shit like wear sun screen and remember to drink water. Remember your mortality, you are not a Moonshine God. It will win so pace yourself.
Excited for Muddy Roots yet? Here’s a little more to get you excited: here’s your chance to win a one-of-a-kind, limited edition 7″ from Muddy Roots Records.
|The Sonics / Mudhoney - split 7"|
THE PRIZE | Garage meets grunge! This split 7″ featuring garage rock legends The Sonics and grunge powerhouse Mudhoney—both of whom are playing this year’s Muddy Roots—was a special release for Record Store Day 2014.
This record flew off the shelves and into collectors’ grubby mitts faster than you can say “flip the record.” In the immortal words of Billy Mays, WAIT, THERE’S MORE! You are not entering to win the commercially released 7″. You will be entered to win a one-of-a kind test pressing of the Sonics/Mudhoney split!
|Mudhoney / The Sonics - Test pressing|
HOW TO WIN | This is the easy part. All you have to do to win this record, is tell us in the comments below which artist you want to see at Muddy Roots 2014. You can see the full, ridiculous lineup here.
A winner will be randomly selected on Friday, August 15.