Might you dig yourself some country music? If so, you might want to head over to Charles Town, West Virginia, on Saturday night to see The Woo-Yeahs at Longshots. Why? Because they are going to release their first-ever album of all-original material, “Friday Night Fighters.” We recently caught up with singer Doug Beatty to talk about the record, what we can expect from their show on Saturday and, of course, which artists we should be keeping an eye out for in and around the area. To learn more about the band, you can click here. Or, for that matter, you could show up Saturday night and buy yourself a record. Either/or works. Anyway, enjoy!
How did The Woo-Yeahs come about? How long have you been a band, and how did you meet?
I put the band together in January of 2010. I had played in rock bands for a number of years, and was ready to get back to my country-ish roots. I knew I wanted my brother, Jeff, in the band, but he wasn’t a musician yet, so I helped him learn to play drums. I also had a friend, Kurt, who played harmonica. I worked with his wife and called her up to see if she would allow Kurt to be in a band with me. She approved Another friend of ours, Daniel Amell, played bass for a while, kind of as a favor to us, but he’s a ‘rock-guy’ so he eventually had to get back to that. We added Doug Marsh on bass when Daniel left and Doug doesn’t miss a note. He spent the ’80s playing country music in California and fits right in with what we do. Matt Puziss, a Frederick resident, joined us this year, after answering a Craigslist ad. That has worked out beautifully. He came just in time to finish up three of the tracks on the album.
Along those same lines, you guys will be releasing your debut LP on Saturday. Can you tell us what went into the making of the record?
We basically took the winter off from gigging, and began work in the studio. We had been planning to record for a couple years now, and finally buckled-down and began the process. We were currently between guitar players at the time, so we got a few different people to pitch in on the lead guitar, including our now permanent lead player, Matt. We also had our former guitar player, Chris Dooling, lay down a couple tracks for us, as well as Jonas Westerlund, of Buckeystown, and Don Oehser, of Keedysville. We spent an equivalent of about 70 studio hours laying down tracks, editing and mixing. A total of 10 different people contributed to the recording in some way. Most of this work was on weekends, since we all work during the week. All of the songs were written by me, except one, which was written by my brother (he’s really taken to this whole musician thing). We rehearsed them as a band and played some of them publicly, and then laid them down in the studio.
Where did you record it and with whom did you work? Were there any specific things you guys were aiming for when you went into the studio?
A high school friend of mine, Bill Unger, who works at Make ‘N’ Music in Frederick, runs a recording studio in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. I had spoken to him about recording over a year ago. I had heard some of his previous projects and knew that is where we would record when we were finally ready. Bill is a great musician himself, so I knew he would be able to help us translate our music to a recording. We wanted to make sure the album had a very genuine feel. We are a fun group of guys and hopefully, that translates onto the album, as it does in our live shows.
What goals do you have for the record? Any number you’d like to see sold in particular?
First and foremost, I would like to sell enough to at least break even. We financed, produced, and published this whole project ourselves. Our fans have been asking for CDs for years, so hopefully they sell. We are also hoping that having the CD will help us build an even bigger fan base. We have a thousand CDs and the album will be available online, so the supply is there. I will gladly reorder more CDs if necessary. If we can get the CD in the right hands, I would be interested to see what would happen.
Will this be your first time playing at Longshots? What’s your impression of that room? How does it compare to other venues in and around the area?
We’ve been playing Longshots for years. Although, I now reside in the Frederick area, Longshots is still home to me. It’s one of our favorite rooms to play. We always draw a great crowd there. It’s one of the only area venues that has a raised stage for the performers, and space to hold a large number of people.
What’s your perception of the music scene in Frederick? What are some differences between here and other places, like, say, West Virginia? Do you see it growing?
I think the music scene is growing nicely in this area. It has certainly seen its ups and downs, but there is a lot of camaraderie among the musicians here. It’s very friendly and supportive. I see many bands playing the same circuit as us, and West Virginia is so close, it’s all the same scene to me. I hope it continues to grow. There are establishments that have been around for years, supporting what we do, like Mauro’s Church Street Pub, where The Woo-Yeahs, and so many others, have played their first gigs. It’s a small place, but they’ve always nurtured the live music scene.
Who are some of your major influences and why?
There’s probably way too many to name when you put five guys like us in a room together, but we love ‘80s Country and ‘70s Rock. I think I like these styles because my brother and I grew up on them. I see kids that were born well after that music was popular, and they are into it. It’s just good stuff. We also like to find things that are a little out of the mainstream. We play several songs from artists that a lot of our fans have never even heard, but good songs are good songs, so after a couple shows we see people singing along and we know we’ve done something right.
Where are some of your favorite places to play (cities/venues) and why?
We tend to find the good things about all the places we play. I wish we had time to play more places, but we all have families and day jobs. One of my favorites, though, is Buckeystown Pub. I live a few minutes away and it’s a lot of fun to play under the pavilion all summer. Longshots is a favorite in West Virginia because it’s where I grew up. Generally, we stay within 30 minutes of Frederick, and stay pretty busy doing that.
Could you give us some names of some great local original artists we might not already know? Who are you a fan of locally and who should we keep an eye on?
If you want genuine, original, music, you can’t go wrong with Hucklebuck, The Gypsy Ramblers, or a friend of mine, singer-songwriter, Rich Moxley. If you want a party band with all the rock songs you know and love, go see Ghost Pepper, or One Too Many Freddies. Both bands have some of my former bandmates.
And finally what can we expect from your show on Saturday? Do you guys have anything special cooking?
Yeah, we’ve got a lot planned for Saturday. We’ve put a lot into the production of this show. We have Welsh Audio running sound and lights, they do most of the professional shows in this area, including several events at Crumland Farms. We’ve got major plans for stage design and the whole general atmosphere, playing into our theme and title track on the album, “Friday Night Fighters.” The song isn’t actually about boxing, but about a band’s struggles to play for a living. It’s our anthem, and an anthem for all the bands out there struggling to keep live music going. We really enjoy doing this, and this band is something I could see myself doing for the rest of my life. Bands don’t last too long these days, the members get worn out, and the projects become stale, but this group of guys I have seems to still be having a blast every time we take the stage. I can’t give away all our secrets for the show, but I have to say, I don’t think anyone has seen a show like this without traveling to D.C. or Baltimore. It should be a night to remember!