Decibel Geek Staff Writer Adam Cox discusses music, sport and philosophy (!) with guitarist Mike Back from Outlaws and Moonshine and gets some good stories along the (high)way!
The Indiana Southern rock outfit —vocalist/guitarist Beau Van, bassist Chris Van, guitarist/vocalist Mike Back, and drummer Eric Piper – not only know where they are going but have a solid musical history that put them here today, polishing their craft and perfecting their songs all while playing out regionally then expanding southward, performing their music and gaining a large fan base.
Outlaws and Moonshine released their debut E.P. release titled 1919 in 2015. This is an awesome slice of driving hard rock, which made my Top 10 picks from last year. I, therefore, started by telling Mike how good I thought it was and with some questions around how the band formed and how long they had been together.
“Thanks, Outlaws and Moonshine formed with some local Indianapolis musicians who shared some similar goals and influences. We have been together since 2013. We’ve been friends for longer than the band was together and that helps build what we have.”
Being hard rocking dudes, I wondered if Mike had any band stories he could share from the recording of the EP.
“In New York, where we recorded the EP, we were like a fish out of water. None of us had ever been New York before. One story that is kinda funny is that Beau was asked to sign an autograph. Not because he was a musician in a band, but because he was from Indiana and the guy working the liquor store who asked for the autograph was a HUGE John Mellencamp fan and liked the Colts. Recording the EP was a good experience and we look forward to going back to work with Vic Rivera again this year to start work on the new album.“
Going on to touring, I asked Mike where the band had been best received and whether there had been any places tough to win over.
“We had a really good response at both The Easy Rider Rodeo in Chillicothe OH and at Rock n Skull 2015 in Pekin IL. It is such a good feeling to be playing and watching people who have never seen you play live before singing along with the lyrics to the songs. We’ve not had any gigs where it was tough to win over the audience yet. So, that’s a good thing!“
I was curious about the band’s plans for 2016 and whether they had any longer term objectives…
“Our plans for 2016 are just starting to warm up. We are getting our material ready to go record in New York with Vic Rivera. We have shows lined up and have more on the way. This isn’t a short term thing for us. We love to play and we love to write new material. So, Outlaws and Moonshine plan on being around for awhile.”
As I always like to get an idea of bands’ influences, I asked Mike whether the band had a dream tour package and who they would like to play with…
“There are lots of artists we’d love to play with. Someone like Lynyrd Skynyrd would definitely top the list. We’d love to go out with someone like Brantley Gilbert too.“
Discussing touring, I wondered what countries that the band had had yet to tour would they like to visit…
“We are open to go wherever. Of course, nice, sunny, warm places would be great too.”
I was also interested as to whether the band has a specific philosophy on life and whether it come out in your music…
“We have a rough exterior but one thing is very important to the band as a whole. That’s family. We are a brotherhood that is thick as thieves. Family, which each of us consider as family as well as our respective families, is first and priority. We sing about things like drinking and having a good time, but it all boils down to family at the end of the day.”
Not being any kind of expert on American sports, I wanted to know if the band supported any specific teams…
“Of course….. The Indianapolis Colts. Nuff said. lol!”
Finally, I asked Mike whether there was one thing that your fans may not know about you all…
“We love to play and we are very passionate about what we do. We plan on being around for awhile.”
And there you have it! These guys are the real deal for hard rock played with a Southern edge and I wish them all the best for 2016 and onwards. Many thanks to Mike and to Bill at HighVol Records, who arranged the interview.