Texas Hippie Coalition – Interview

Recently I got the chance to interview John Exall of the Texas Hippie Coalition. If you haven’t heard any of the Texas Hippie Coalition’s music, then think Pantera meets ZZ Top. It’s good stuff. John’s favorite bands right now are Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Soceity and Hell Yeah. If you’re into those bands you’re going to be into The Texas Hippie Coalition.

Zoiks!: Last year you guys released your album “Rollin.” What is your band’s writing process? Do you have a designated song writer or is it more of a band effort?

John Exall: For us usually Ritch and I have usually been some of the chief song writers in the band, but everybody contributes. One of us will come up with a rhythm and we’ll bring it in, and everybody will add their parts to it. So I guess you could say everybody contributes.

Z!: Is it difficult satisfying every band members’ influences when putting a song or album together? If not, what’s your band’s secret?

JE: Well sometimes it is you know. With the guys in the band, we have so many different personalities and we have so many influences you can step on some toes, but man we haven’t really ever ran into a problem in the creative process. We seem to all gel when it comes to that. Like I said one guy will come up with a rhythm, and the next thing you know it’s taking off because everybody’s got their own ideas and it works.

Z!: If you had to how would you describe the Texas Hippie Coalition?

JE: If I had to do it, I don’t know man, bad ass.

Z!: You recently picked up a new drummer. Was it difficult making that transition to a new drummer or was it pretty straightforward?

JE: It wasn’t too bad. Tim (Braun) is an awesome drummer so when you work with
somebody like the caliber of The Kid (Ryan “The Kid” Bennett) who we had before and then we got Brauny, he’s of the same caliber so when you got someone badass that comes in like that it’s no problem at all. It just flows.

Z!: What can fans expect from your live show?

JE: In your face. We bring it to you, that is definitely what everybody credits us for in our show. When we get there it’s all business and we’re out there to please all the fans and at the same time put on one hell of a show.

Z!: Is there a song that gets the best reaction from the crowd right now?

JE: I think it’s all of them. I know it’s weird to say that, but everybody’s got their favorite song so it would be hard to say that because it’s real cool to look out in the crowd and see everybody singing your songs to you.

Z!: Do you have a favorite moment in the show?

JE: I like it all. I like to look out there and see that the fans are loving it and having a good time. That’s my payoff up there.

Z!: How did you get involved in the music in the first place?

JE: Believe it or not my grandmother got me started in music. Started playing piano and doing stuff like that and then it just evolved.

Z!: As a fan is there a concert that you attended that stands above the rest?

JE: Man I tell you what, when I was growing up I went with a buddy of mine named Joe Hudson and his parents and I saw Ozzy with Randy Rhoads and that blew my mind and right then and there sitting out there in the audience I decided right then that’s what I wanted to do.

Z!: Who’s your favorite band?

JE: Man that would be hard to say. Right now Black Label Society and Hell Yeah, those are my two tops right there.

Z!: How did your band end up getting together?

JE: Ritch was in a rival band and Randy and myself were in another band and we all grew up in the same town. We traveled around and had done shows together and finally one day Ritch came up to us and said, ‘hey man what do you think about getting together?’ We just quit messing around right then and threw it all together and here we are.

Z!: What do you think has been your band’s greatest accomplishment so far?

JE: That’d be a tough one to say. For me, my greatest accomplishment, I can’t speak for everybody, but I think for us as a whole it would be getting everything out into the public and looking to the status that we’ve made it, and having the recognition of our peers.

Z!: What do the guys in Texas Hippie Coalition do for fun outside of music?

JE: Man, you know, me and Rich we got kids, but he likes to go fishing and hunting, and I like to just do whatever. I go to the lake, hang out at the beach.

Z!: How do you find time to balance family life and the rock star life with all the touring and stuff?

JE: I just try to get home. It’s tough to do. I know everybody out there’s done it though. You just gotta be there man. Sometimes you’re only there by phone. You miss a few birthdays and stuff, but as long as you reassure your kids and you have a good put partner there with you, you got it made man.

Z!: What’s your take on touring? Is it exciting? Is it tedious?

JE: Shoot I love it brother. To me touring is where it’s at. That’s where it’s at. That’s the meat and potatoes for me.

Bob Zerull is the Managing Editor of Zoiks! Online. He writes pop culture commentary, does interviews with bands, and reviews music and stand-up concerts. He also administers Zoiks! Online's Facebook page. Follow Bob on twitter at bzerull. Email Bob at bob@zoiksonline.com.

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