Texas Hippie Coalition To Play In Buffalo
By Chris Chapman
Starting a metal band as a way to get back out after a failed marriage and a lost job doesn’t seem like a bad thing. Try doing it as an older guy, looking for ways to do nothing more than get by and pick up women.
That’s exactly what life was like for the singer and founder of Texas Hippie Coalition, Big Dad Ritch. Since 2004, BDR, as fans of the band call him, has been a mountain of a man that blends his influences and inspiration with metal. The sound is one that is so different than anything else it was given its own genre, Red Dirt Metal. Red Dirt Metal is similar to Red Dirt Road in the country genre in that the artists usually come from the area around the texas-Oklahoma border, where the soil is reddish in color. The music is characterized by its storytelling aspect. To date, Texas Hippie Coalition is the only band to be a part of the Red Dirt Metal genre, according to Big Dad Ritch.
“Yeah, we take the Southern Rock feel and the party band sound and mix them with a bit of storytelling,” Big Dad Ritch said. “We just may be the only band out there that does it.”
Big Dad Ritch said the band started as a way for him to get girls after his marriage fell apart. He really wasn’t sure where it would go, but THC has taken off to levels Big Dad Ritch said he never expected.
“Musically, as I was growing up, there was Johnny Cash,” he said. “You know, I can remember watching the show and turning to my Grandma and saying ‘When I grow up, I want to be Johnny Cash.’ She turned to me and said, ‘You just be who you are.’ That’s what you get on stage.”
That sound holds the piece of the iconic storytellers of Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings, and more of the country troubadours, as Big Dad Ritch said he intended to pay tribute to, with the party sounds of Van Halen and Motley Crue.
“Musically, it’s the roots of country music, hard rock and heavy metal,” Big Dad Ritch said. “It’s a badge we wear with honor; we hope we’re doing our territory justice representing a lot of great musicians from this region.”
That sound, the mixing of two completely different styles in country and party rock, was yet to be tested, Big Dad Ritch said. Red Dirt Metal was something no one was sure about at the start, except him and his bandmates, he recalls.
“I started out playing what I wanted to play. You know, we started out and it seemed people had an appetite for what we were doing. They were coming out to the shows,” he said. “Then we started playing larger shows and more people showed up. I sat back and thought ‘You know, people are hungry for this sound.’ Then, we were playing the second or third stages at festivals and people were seeking us out, coming to see our shows. It was at that point that we realize people didn’t just have an appetite or were hungry for this, they were starving for what we were doing. It felt good.”
Texas Hippie Coalition is riding the release of “High in the Saddle,” the band’s sixth studio album, releasing the first single, “Moonshine,” earlier this year.
“That song, it has an interesting meaning. Most people think of that jar of the clear liquid, some creekwater,” Big Dad Ritch said. “That’s nowhere near what I was talking about in that piece. You see, a lot of guys talk about their woman as their Sunshine. My girl is my Moonshine. She fires up my night.”
From start to finish, the album is a storytelling journey through the mind of this large, bearded, older, mountain of a man. Lyrically, Big Dad Ritch is responsible for the vast majority of work. The thing that sets Texas Hippie Coalition apart from others is that there is an undertone of fun and appreciation of life in each song.
“When we go into the writing side, we are surely not downtrodden, sad, or in a bad place,” he said. “It’s just who we are. We believe that if you test positive for THC, you’ll be enjoying life to the fullest and you’ll have a great time.”
Texas Hippie Coalition will be playing Mohawk Place Sunday.
“You know, we can compare it to a hockey game,” he said. “It’s exciting to be there, to see someone checked into the boards and to see a shot buried in the goal, the energy is great. On the same token, it’s a bit like a rodeo. You climb on the bull and we are gonna throw ya! It’s a good time for all.”