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.
Fred: Brian & Matt, Bayou Boogaloo 2019
What great pics. Actually they are pics of pics, 2 separate pictures of the videoscreen while we were playing. And the guys look like they are having a BALL.
The gig was a total blast. It was completely packed and the audience was completely BERSERK all the way through the show.
I showed up early in the day to get the vibe and saw countless revelers riding inner tubes on Bayou St John (could there be any gators in there?), and I knew it was gonna be a WILD night!
It got a little cloudy in the afternoon, causing some concern within the organization, but the old axiom that ‘it doesn’t rain on Cowboy Mouth’ held true and by showtime it was a clear, hot night.
Summer was starting to get its yearly death grip on the Big Easy, but you’d never have known by the show. John took a vacation that night, so we had our old buddy Island Stiles from Candlebox fill in and he did a stellar job!
But take a look at Matt and Brian in these pictures. Brian takes complete command of his space every night and I love it. As I’ve said, he plays every song like he’s in AC/DC, putting a great bit of the ROCK in this Rock N Roll band. Standup guy as well. If he says something is cool, you can pretty much take it to the bank.
Matt just looks so damn good whatever he does. In addition to being a stellar musician and a great guy, he’s just nuts enough to fit in with this band of misfit toys. John and I are very lucky to be playing with these guys. After all this time, we still learn new things every night.
It was a hot, sweaty night and we kicked A LOT of ass. I do love playing with this band, probably more now than ever. And I’m missing it pretty bad these days.
Fred: What a great picture! It perfectly captures us doing our thing. I really enjoy these guys because we play to each other as much as we do our audience.
This pic was taken at the Margaritaville Casino in Shreveport, Mardi Gras Weekend 2017, I think. It was the Friday before Mardi Gras day and I remember feeling like a kid at Christmastime at that show because we had a slate of gigs that weekend leading to our big Lundi Gras show on the Monday before Fat Tuesday, one of my favorite shows of the year.
In that pic we all look excited because of the MG holiday. I know I was. I really, really LOVE it.
Every New Orleanian has at least one great Mardi Gras story.
I have way too many… I tell some of them from time to time.
But just some of them…
Last year was a great Mardi Gras - lots of parades, shows, etc. I rode in the Tucks parade with my friend Kevin Hellman as king, the Lundi Gras show was nuts, Rock 'N' Bowl was fun… The next weekend we did Kansas City and St. Louis. We just kept Mardi Gras going as best we could.
Then the lockdown happened.
We’ve been very fortunate to have nothing but stellar players and people over the years who have populated the CM universe. The down time has given me a chance to really reflect both on how grateful I am to be able to fulfill a lifelong dream every night I’ve been onstage with CM as well as to appreciate everyone who has given of themselves to share the spotlight with us, for no matter how long or short a length of time. To all of those, and to each and every one of you who show up and celebrate life with us, I say a profound and sincere Thank You.
Fred: Jazz Fest 1993. That’s me riding the shoulders of a very dear friend of CM, the celebrated celluloid thespian Mr. Michael Conner Gainey (MC Gainey in professional circles). You’ve seen him in movies and TV over the years, trust me.
MC was an old friend of Paul (Sanchez, ex-guitar player), and through that connection he found us, adopting us as the band du jour for he and his crew and becoming very close to each of us over the years.
A CM show being what it is, one thing led to another, and I found myself on the back of this burly character being ridden around the Jazz Fest audience, verbally spreading the gospel of NOLA Rock n’ Rolla. After the show we had a good laugh over it and I didn’t really think anymore about it.
The next morning I got an early morning phone call from someone (can’t remember who) saying excitedly that I was on the cover of the Times Picayune, the New Orleans newspaper at the time. (Remember newspapers?) I remember being annoyed that someone had called so early and then going straight back to sleep. I got some copies of the paper from the newsstand around the corner later that morning.
This really did help the band gain more notoriety locally, any publicity being good publicity, and it turned out to be a little bit of a big deal for a couple of days. My parents were impressed, anyway. ‘Maybe, just maybe,’ I’m sure they thought, ‘there might be something to this music thing after all…’
Fred: Here's one of many pictures taken over the years of us at the Windjammer in IOP, SC, just outside of Charleston, right on the ocean. It's pretty obvious here that Matt, John, Brian, and I are having a good time.
John loves something I said years ago about this place; "When I die, I don't want to go to heaven. I want to go to the Windjammer." I still think that.
Everyone there has been very generous to us over the years, and I do mean VERY generous. They've given us safe haven, bandaged our wounds, quenched our thirsts, and looked the other way whenever necessary by not being too judgmental about any character flaws we all express from time to time. Rather they've all offered us a kind of rock n' roll safe place where breathing in the fresh air of a great time is always the overarching possibility.
Malcolm, the owner, has created a small slice of heaven right on the water that fits his benevolent nature that's always presented with a casual word and an easy smile. I don't know if that was his intention or not, but like I said - I'll take a pass on heaven if I'm given a choice.
However, no one in all of the music biz has been kinder to us (and many a touring band over the years) than the mainstay of that place, Mr. Bobby Ross. A true southern character in the great tradition of Rhett Butler (in equal parts rogue and romantic, sans the Clark Gable looks and moustache), Bobby is someone we are all glad to know and I am personally proud to call a friend.
If you ever get a chance, come see us at the 'Jammer. There's not a bad seat in the house, the PA is rockin', the drinks are cold, the food is good and greasy, the audiences are happy, and it's always a great time. And while you're there, try the tater tots. They taste like home.