"When you first embarked on this journey, your parents never said, 'Are you sure about this?' or 'What the hell are you thinking?'"
JTG: My dad was like, "You know, you should have gone into finance in college." I went into music at LSU. I wanted to score film and TV music. I had that idea coming out of high school. That's kind of where I wanted to focus my direction. I got into LSU Music School by writing a quintet piece for violas, two violins, and a cello. I wrote this little piece, they liked it, and I got into the music school. I spent two years there and then I dropped it because I got into punk rock music. That's where that kind of right turn at Albuquerque happened. My dad was not happy about it. He thought I should go into something like finance. And I remember him always saying, "You should have studied to be a banker or a financial guy." But you can't go into hindsight and question it now, 40 years later. I'm happy with the path I took.
Matt: One of nice things about having a little recording studio in your basement is you get to go through all of your horrible ideas privately. Then, if you land on something that seems decent and fits the vibe that you feel like the song is going for, that gets to be the thing that you put out into the universe.
Fred: In the early 90s, I was involved with a woman from the New Orleans area who was living in Texas. When Cowboy Mouth first started, we did a lot of shows in Austin. That was one of the markets that really blossomed for us.
It came to a point where this lady needed to choose between me and somebody else. She chose somebody else.
It was one of the few times that I really put myself out there emotionally. I was really wounded.
But more than the story that triggered the song, “Take Me Back To New Orleans” is about the need to go home, to be in the arms of a loving person, loving parents, loving family members. Every once in a while, we want to go home, wherever home is.
That's what “Take Me Back To New Orleans” is about. That's what “The Avenue” is about. It is going home to someplace safe and warm. It is a place where you can gather your strength, whether that is emotional, physical, or spiritual.
That song was a gift, because I was really feeling vulnerable. I was lost and hurt. It would have been easy to write a song about “to hell with her.” I have written my fair share of those. But to have that ability to be vulnerable and to express that vulnerability…
I am really proud of the version on “Are You With Me?” But for the version that's on “Best Of,” I cut all those vocals when I was going through a divorce. It was really wild, because all of those emotions of “Take Me Back To New Orleans,” “Whatcha Gonna Do?”, and “Jenny Says” were completely fresh to me again.
And it is not just what “Take Me Back To New Orleans" says. It is the emotion that I was able to convey recording the song. If you listen to the melody, there is a longing to it. There is a real, melodic longing there. We were lucky to capture that.
Those are the moments as a songwriter when there is something else at play. It is not just me and my ability to string a melody together. “God Makes The Rain,” “The Avenue,” “Jenny Says,” “I Believe,” “Oh, Toulouse”… those moments present themselves. You allowed something else to come in and take advantage of your talents.
Brian / Bruiser: Fred and I made some noise for the first time in over a year yesterday. More rocking to come. We actually have upcoming shows!
JTG: My parents were great. They really supported my music. And they loved Fred. They thought Fred was the bee's knees. My mom used to call Fred "The Dumplin'." When we played Memphis, we would stay at my mom and dad's house out in Germantown. One time we got in the car to go to the venue and we were waiting on Fred. My mom came out to the van. She saw Steve, Paul, and I and said, "Where's The Dumplin'?"
We all just busted out laughing.