Wednesday, January 13, 2016
A Ripple Conversation with Woogie Maggard of Desert Suns
What have been your musical epiphany moments?
When I was a young kid my Uncle put in a vhs of Stevie Ray Vaughan live in concert and I was blown away! At that age I had never really listened to the blues or even put much thought into music at all. But after seeing SRV play I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I asked my parents to get me a guitar the next day. SRV is still my favorite guitarist.
Talk to us about the song-writing process for you. What comes first, the idea? A riff? The lyrics? How does it all fall into place?
Usually it all starts with a riff. As a band we mold the song around that riff by bouncing ideas back and forth until we are happy with the arrangement.
Who has influenced you the most?
Hard to narrow it down to one person or band as far as influence so I would just say music in general, blues, rock, metal, you name it and its probably influenced me in some way or another. Ohhh….and Black Sabbath.
Where do you look for continuing inspiration? New ideas, new motivation?
I have always been motivated to write music, but as far as inspiration goes I’m always searching for new bands to inspire me and push me to be a better song writer and musician.
We're all a product of our environment. Tell us about the band's hometown and how that reflects in the music?
I’m originally from Cincinnati, Ohio but now I call San Diego, Ca home. The music scene here is amazing! There are so many great bands coming out of San Diego right now. Earthless, Radio Moscow, Joy, Harsh Toke, Red Wizard, Loom, Sacri Monti & Astra just to name a few. I’m so stoked to be a part of this San Diego scene that seems to be producing amazing bands.
Where'd the band name come from?
When Ben & I started the band we had an idea of doing a 2 piece band and I wanted to call it High and Mighty. We quickly realized that neither of us could sing so that idea went out the window! Once we got Dave in the band I spent a week brainstorming band names until one night it just popped into my head. Once I had it in my head I knew the name would be Desert Suns.
Tell us about witchcraft, what it means to you and your life?
I like it & I’m pretty sure my mom is a witch. The band is pretty good too.
Stephen King - Maximum Overdrive
You now write for a music publication (The Ripple Effect?). You're going to write a 1,000 word essay on one song. Which would it be and why?
Sleep – Dopesmoker. I would write about this song simply because it’s a bad ass song that seems to never end and the story behind it is very interesting to me.
What is your musical intention? What are you trying to express or get your audience to feel?
I intend to write music that I enjoy playing for as long as I possibly can. With Desert Suns it has been lots of fun putting together songs and playing live shows. When we play live I want the audience to feel what I am feeling. Sometimes, depending on the song it might be mellow & relaxing all the way to aggressive. But no matter what, I just wanna have a good time and hope that the audience does as well.
Come on, share with us a couple of your great, Spinal Tap, rock and roll moments?
I think the closest thing to a Spinal Tap moment was when Desert Suns was on tour with Them Evils and played a show in Oakland with Todd from Ripple Music there to witness. It was time for us to take the stage and I realized that some of my gear was still in the van and the keys were nowhere to be found. After looking and looking we realized that they may have been locked in our cash drawer. The guys from Them Evils wanted to help so they took it outside and smashed it until the keys feel out!
Tell us about playing live and the live experience for you and for your fans?
Desert Suns has been really lucky to have such rad fans that come out and support us. I like to get the fans involved in the show if I can. I like to let someone in the crowd play my guitar at the end of our song HEAVY every time we play it. The end of the song for me is a noise build using multiple effects and a slide so whoever gets the guitar doesn’t necessarily have to know how to play the guitar to do it. It’s always fun to see what they will do.
What makes a great song?
So many things can make a great song. Passion for the music is probably the most important thing.
Tell us about the first song you ever wrote?
It was a punk song I wrote with my brother when we were kids. I think it had 3 chords and was close to a minute long. I remember being really stoked on it.
What piece of your music are you particularly proud of?
Burning Temples. This was the first Desert Suns song written and it is the foundation of what our sound is in my opinion. For me I feel that it’s a great song that flows well, nice transitions and great vocals. I’m very happy with the way that song came out.
Who today, writes great songs? Who just kicks your ass? Why?
The Atomic Bitchwax/ The Atomic Bitchwax/ I’m pretty sure it’s because they sold their souls to the devil in exchange for being the most bad ass band ever!!!!
Vinyl, CD, or digital? What's your format of choice?
VINYL!!!!! I love vinyl for home listening above all other formats. But digital is the way to go as far as networking and getting your music heard.
Whiskey or beer? And defend your choice?
Whiskey!!!! Because it's whiskey and whiskey is awesome!!!! It also gets you where you wanna be faster than beer. I don’t know about you but when I drink I drink to get drunk!
We, at the Ripple Effect, are constantly looking for new music. What's your home town, and when we get there, what's the best record store to lose ourselves in?
If you come to San Diego I would send you to FULL CONTACT ROCK –N- ROLL. It’s a guys house that he has turned into a record store. Lots of cool stuff to check out and very different from your run of the mill record store.
What's next for the band?
We have just finished recording an E.P. that will be a part of the Ripple Music Second Coming of Heavy - A series of 12" splits. Chiefs will be featured on the opposite side. We are also working on an LP to be released by Ripple Music hopefully sometime next year.
Any final comments or thoughts you'd like to share with our readers, the waveriders?
Keep on rockin!!!!