RTJ : Can you
recall for our readers the story and the first steps of you
DW: My brother and I were brought up in a musical family. We sang as long as I can remember. The band started on a farm in Tennessee in the early 70s where we raised cattle. We would rehearse and Jam in a smoke house. It just started growing from there. With the help of Marty Robins, Charlie Daniels and some others. Taz from Charlie's band was producing us when we were discovered by Dick Woolly and he took us to Atlantic/Atco records In New York. The rest is history.
RTJ : Your two first albums are still in everyone memories. Are they still easily available today ?
D.W: Yes, we plan on releasing both on SouthStar Records sometime in 2005. They are both mastered and are waiting to be printed. We have Stampede out now, so we'll focus on that for a while.
RTJ : You have
recorded a bluegrass cd. Can you tell us more about it and when and how can
we get it ?
D.W: Its not really Bluegrass. The Yodeling King is one that I produced for my father and is in a more traditional country roots format that feature his fellow band members from the Marty Robbins band and features my father on all of the yodeling. This is an all-yodeling project, but also features my brother Donnie on Rosita and features myself on Yodel Our Way to the USA and title cut Yodeling King. We sang the songs and our father did the yodeling. Charlie Daniels and Joel "Taz" DiGregorio, Charlie's keyboard player, were also guests on this project. We hope to have it out on SouthStar soon also.
RTJ : We have
had no news from your group in the eighties, when southern rock seemed to
have disappeared with FM radio style music rise. Did you plan, like other
bands (38 Special for instance
), to play a more commercial kind of music.
D.W: I wouldn't say we went commercial but we did try some different things like on The Keep on Running EP we wanted to look in different musical directions. The CO-producer was Dave Perkins, we wanted his input in our music and he had a completely different musical style, we wanted to try other things. That project is heavily influenced by Dave's input.
RTJ : You were
back in 2000, with your Southern Rockers album, such a good title ! Can you
tell us what did bring you back on stage ?
DW: We never really left. We stayed active, but only locally. Charlie Daniel's manager David Corlew, had told us he would like to see us do a southern rock jam CD. He said that every time he heard Wide Spread Panic he thought of us. And told us we needed to work on it and the out come was the "Southern Rockers" CD. I misted the road and wanted to pick more anyway, so I guess it was time.
RTJ : Let's talk about your last cd.
Can you introduce us to the members of the band, and tell us more
about them ?
D.W: L to R; Jamie LaRitz (Lead guitar and Backup vocals), Carly Winters (Backup vocals),Cody Winters (Backup vocals), Casey Winters (Backup vocals), Ron 'Rad' Dunn (Bass), Eric DiNenna (Drums), and Myself, Dennis Winters (rhythm and lead vocals & some lead work) Casey, Cody & Carly are my daughters also known as The Southern Belles. Jamie & Rad are old freinds.
RTJ : Can you
tell us how has been recorded this album ?
D.W: This is a total 'concept' album and a project I have wanted to do for years and years. We wanted to create something for people that really love the art of music and creativity. So the whole point was to have the musical CD as a virtual movie, as we call it, visual audio. If you have knowledge of the old southwest, this CD takes you directly there; it's like watching Young Guns in a rock musical form, something you might expect Pink Floyd to do. After hearing Jerry Garcia and The Grateful Dead's version of Marty Robbins' El Paso, I knew we could do this project in a rock format and we did.
RTJ : How can
you give us a definition of Winters Brothers' music, as we think it is a little
Marshall Tucker Band and Charlie Daniels music ?
DW: You will always find the Southern Rock & Country influence in our music but I think you would also find other rock and blues such as Pink Floyd, Santana, Grateful Dead, Beatles (Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band), Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, B. B. King and Led Zeppelin and more also.
RTJ : You have
made new versions of old songs you played when you began. Is it a way to show
to the fan how the group was at the beginning ?
DW: These songs fit the concept perfectly. The two songs compliment the project in my opinion. So they where perfect for the CD. We just re-recorded "Keep On Running" & "Old Stories" and re mastered and added Jamie to "Devils After My Soul" & "A Gun Dont Mind"
RTJ : This album seems to be enjoyed. I did really enjoy the song Stampede Jam at the end of the cd.
Does this song show the spirit of the band ?
DW: This song allowed us to get back to our roots as Jam Band pickers. We have always loved instrumentation and taking long rides. It the time we get to be spontaneous and creative on stage. It comes from the heart.
RTJ : Can you tell us what is doing now your brother Donnie ?
DW: Donnie wanted to do something more financially stable for his family, and had a strong desire to pursue audio engineering as a career. Donnie has gone to school for this profession and is now working full time in audio engineering. Please note that Donnie still sits in for Jamie LaRitz from time to time and joins us every year for the Southern Summer Jam. He joins us whenever his schedule permits.
RTJ : A question
a little bit more private : what kind of music do you listen to ? What are
your main influences ?
DW: To tell the truth I done listen to a lot of new music. IM not crazy about what I hear. And I go though fazes. I'll put on Pink Floyd or Allman Bros., Red Wing by Grinderswitch old CDB & MTB or Skynyrd. The artists that influenced us are some of the artists who's influences are very apparent on SouthWest Stampede; Pink Floyd, Santana, Grateful Dead, Beatles (Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band), Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, B. B. King and Led Zeppelin. More recent influences would be Dave Matthews, Phish, Guns-N-Roses (Sweet Child of Mine), Widespread Panic and U2, as well as Merle Haggard, Marty Robbins and Hank Williams and more.
RTJ : Did you
remember when you played at the Volunteer Jam ? What at your souvenirs from
this show ?
DW : Yes we played, I think it was on twelve Volunteer Jams and has songs on two of the Jam LPs.
"Sang Her Love Songs" on the VJ3&4 on Epic and "Rich Kids" on VJ 6 LP also on Epic.
RTJ : What are your relations with Charlie Daniels ? Did you often play together ?
DW: We are still good friends with Charlie and his band. As many know "Taz" Charlie's key bord man Produced our first LP in 1977. We have work several shows with the Charlie Daniels Band this year and plan to do so again in the coming years. One of the shows we opened for CDB, Marshall Tucker Band and Molly Hatchet in Nashville, TN. It was great about 10,000 where there.
RTJ : Can we consider that Winters Brothers is a kind of family, with southern Casey, Cody and Carly at the backing vocals ?
DW: Yes, its definitely a family affair. They don't always go on the road with us,
but when they can they do.
RTJ : What is your future ? Have you some projects ? Can we hope a live cd or a dvd soon ?
DW: We are working on many projects for the up coming year. We will start on a Blues CD as well as release the first and second LP's on CD. We would also like to release a live CD, and we are working on getting songs on some movie soundtracks. And you never know when we might come out with a DVD of the Southern Summer Jam.
RTJ : At the end of this interview, as we do it for each interview, can you tell us if you have to go on a desert island, what will be the five albums (and 1 or 2 paintings if you want) you take with you ?
DW: Fist there are way to many that I would like to have, I could not pick just 5.
And if I was on a Desert Island I don't think there would be any way to listen to them and that would be torture. As far as Paintings: I would like to have one of my Family & one of my Friends. They would give me hope to get off the Island so that I could once again hear all the wonderful music in the world.
RTJ : Thank you to accept to answer to our questions. Have you anything else to say to our readers ?
DW: We wish every one a wonderful 2005 and hope you all enjoy our music.
Hope to tour in Europe in the future. Let us know if there is a good place to jam and we will try to make it.
Peace to all, Dennis Winters