Revelation of the year, CROSS CUT SAW gave us an interview that gives us the opportunity to know them better.
RTJ : First, thank you to allow us to do this interview for our southern rock webzine
ROAD TO JACKSONVILLE How is born CROSS CUT SAW ?
CCS : Myself and CCS would like to say thanks you for asking us to do this interview and what a great job your are doing to keep southern music alive and well CCS was started after I moved to Virginia from Jacksonville, Fl back in 2001. I had to leave my former band Little Big Mouth of 10yrs because I could no longer afford to fly back to do shows every week so I decided that it was time to take on a new project, I met a drummer named Mark Allen who left the band after one year. (He couldn't commit to a heavy tour schedule) We then started the hunt for players which was not an easy task up hear in VA. Most players want to play Creed, Nickleback style and I come the south so it is very hard to give up my roots. Finally we did find players and Cross Cut Saw was Born
RTJ : Where does come the name of the band ?
CCS : Back when I was growing up in Tallahassee,Fl there was this blues band named Crosscut Saw. I used to sneak into bars back in the 80s to see them and eventually took a few lessons from their guitar player. I always thought that CCS was the coolest name. Of course they named themselves after the blues tune Crosscut Saw. When I did some research to find out if they were still around and found out they were not I decided that I had to have that name. We spell it Cross Cut Saw, Broken up into three words so we don't step on any toes.
RTJ : Can you introduce to us the members of the group, where there has been recently, I think, some turn-over ?
CCS : Actually we decided to move Gary Winstanley from bass to guitar since his first love is guitar so we could add the traditional two lead guitar attack. Down in Florida my former band was three guitar. bass/drums and most of the songs written are designed around that sort of line up. So we haven't had any turn over but added a really great bass player named Paul Gillarno. If you have been to our website you have seen the other members, John "Junior Dog" Cochran-now playing a little more lead along with me and Chris Malone is an incredible drummer, I feel really fortunate that we have him in CCS.
RTJ : Do you all love, in the band, the same music and do you have the same influences ?
CCS : I am a product of the 80s hair band era, I started playing southern rock only about 12yrs ago, JD is a big deadhead and into bluegrass, Gary and I share the same and are really big Van Halen fans, Paul and Chris are more blues oriented with probably Johnny Winter as one of their favourites. But all of us are big Outlaws and Blackfoot fans and of course Lynyrd Skynyrd. Some reviews say that CCS sounds like Molly Hatchet and it is funny because we do not intentionally try to sound that way but I did have the opportunity to have Dave Hlubek play in Little big Mouth back in 1993. He was with us for around 8 months off and on. CCS recently did a show with his new project the Classic Southern Rockers and seeing him again made me realize how fortunate I was to be able to play with such a legend. We were actually called the outcasts back then but the rap group Outkast made us change the name. So you can probably hear some stolen licks from Dave when I was playing with him.
RTJ : What were your main influences, your favourite groups ?
CCS : Clapton is probably my biggest although I think Ricky Medlocke is one hell of a slide player. In my early years I played in metal bands so Eddie Van Halen was also a big influence though I don't use that style anymore. When it comes to southern rock Dave Hlubeck and Steve Gaines are my number one influences.
RTJ : Can you tell us how your music looks like, how can we make a classification from your musical style ?
CCS : When we started I wanted to have a southern rock band that didn't sound like another Skynyrd clone. As long as Lynyrd Skynyrd is alive and well and touring it is nearly impossible for any new southern rock band to make it unless you sound a little different. There are so many great new southern bands out there but they all do the same thing. Every intro sounds like Skynyrd, every break and lead, all the same. I wanted to hopefully create something that sounded just a little different but maintaining southern roots. Just music that you can get up and have a good time to. That's why we call ourselves The New Breed of Southern Rock.
RTJ : Can you tell us about the album recordings ? Who has written the songs ?
CCS : I am the sole songwriter. I don't know why but it just works out that way. I am lucky that since I wrote all of my first album Storm Warning (Branded Records) that I was able to transfer it to CCS. So technically CCS has two albums out. I will send you a copy soon. The first album was recorded in Jax back in 1992 but now re-released in 2001 under CCS. One Road Home was done with very low budget a year ago because we were playing originals out live and people were asking us when we were going to record. I didn't want to rush it but demand was too great. We hope to go back and do some cleaning up of it but now I am writing a new album that we are going to record sometime next year.
RTJ : It seems that you love to mix rock songs, like Broken Dreams and Southern Music in the beginning, and cool songs like Three Days and The Other Side. How can you give us a definition from CROSS CUT SAW music ?
CCS : Music is all about mood just like when you go to a sports event you want to feel a rush then rest then rush, so I kind of try to mix that kind of feel to the album. I see you mentioned Southern Music. I actually wrote that down in Jax when I was with Little big mouth as a tribute to all my favourite southern rock bands but also just after Leon passed away. That left a big void in Lynyrd Skynyrd that year and I remember seeing the band perform simple man as a tribute to him so I thought I would like to write something also. I think if you listen to the cd you will hear a lot of big arena 80s style rock with a southern edge.You know Big Rock Songs and ballads.
RTJ : Can you tell us about the lyrics, what are they talking about ?
CCS : Well Southern Music you can hear it is my tribute to Southern Rock Bands, three days is basically about being out on the road and missing someone you love and counting the days until you get back. The other side is about drug addiction, we all know the cliché of sex, drugs and rock and roll and of course everyone whoever plays in a rock band professionally probably gets to experience such things.
RTJ : How do you consider Southern Music, what is it for you ?
CCS : Rocking guitars with lyrics that mean something and beer chaser.
RTJ : Can you live being a musician, or do you have other jobs or activities ?
CCS : CCS is on the edge of breaking out so we all still work day jobs but do allot of touring on the road (Leave Thursday night return Sunday) we also go on long trips about every three months for a few weeks at a time. We feel that 2005 may be the year we take the next step.
RTJ : Is it easy to play southern music in the USA ?
CCS : No. If you don't sing angry and sound like Creed or Good Charlotte forget it your are not getting signed by the big record companies. And with country turning more rock now it seems southern rock is being left behind. We have even been called country which I don't think we are but that is the way the industry is these days. If you say you are a southern rock band you get limited by the industry by where you can play. That is why we do allot of Bike Events because they love southern rock.
RTJ : Did you already played as an opening group for big and great bands ?
CCS : CCS has had a great 2004 "Keep the Buzz Tour" we were fortunate to do shows with Dickey Betts and Great Southern,by the way we did a live DVD at one of our tour stops at the State Theatre in Falls Church, Virginia when we were with Dickey. I will send that too. We did shows with David Alllan Coe, Classic Southern Rockers and 38 Special.
RTJ : What can we wish for you in the future ? A new cd or dvd ?
CCS : I will have to send you copies of Storm Warning-CD and CCS live at the State-DVD hopefully everyone over there will enjoy them and want to order. and we are currently working on our new one for 2005. Since we are signed to an indie label our budget is not real big so we try to supplement recording with our own money.
RTJ : What are your main hobbies, instead of music ?
CCS : Love to Snow ski, scuba dive and just recently started going on cruises. They are the coolest thing, eat, drink, go to islands and do nothing.
RTJ : As we always finish our interviews can you tell us, if you had to finish your life on a desert island and you were allowed to take 5 albums (and 1 or 2 paintings if you want), which one would you take with you ?
1.Van Halen 1
3.Skynyrd-any will do just give me one
4.Blackfoot live (at the King Biscuit)
5.Guns and Roses appetite
RTJ : Thank you to give us the opportunity to do this interview.
CCS : Thanks again and to everyone in France thanks for ROCKIN WITH THE SAW !!!!!!!